Welcome to the Canadian Icelandic Horse Federation
The Canadian Icelandic Horse Federation strives to encourage, develop and regulate the Icelandic horse in Canada. CIHF maintains a registry of Icelandic Horses through Canadian Livestock records at this time.
Don't let the size of these magnificent horses fool you. Icelandic's are a very versatile breed. They are competing all around the world in a variety of disciplines outside of the regular Sport and Breeding shows.
Follow us on Facebook and check out an Icelandic farm near you. There are breeders and trainers all across Canada.
Selective breeding of the Icelandic Horse for over one thousand years has created a unique breed of horse. More than one millennium of breeding free of outside bloodlines has produced one of the purest breeds of horse on earth. Its easy going and friendly disposition make the Icelandic Horse the ideal companion for the entire family. With no natural predators in its home country the horse has shed much of its natural fight and flight instinct. Icelandic Horses are very popular in Europe with close to 80,000 of them on the European continent, the same number in Iceland and they are catching on in North America, where roughly 2,000 can be found.
The Evaluation for the Icelandic Horse is very detailed. It is useful to look at the form on the FEIF web site www.feif.org and WorldFengur www.worldfengur.com to understand a final Evaluation Score. A full evaluation score includes CONFORMATION AND RIDEABILITY. An understanding of these scores increases an understanding of exactly what you are seeing when you go to consider purchasing an Icelandic horse. It also helps you to know what questions to ask of the owner.
Gaits and Characteristics
Of Icelandic Horses
Besides the traditional walk, trot and canter, the Icelandic Horse performs two additional gaits: TÖLT and FLYING PACE. The tölt is an extremely smooth four-beat gait, much like the running walk or rack, that allows the rider a virtually bounce-free ride at speeds up to 50kmph. The tolt is a natural gait, no artificial aids are needed and you often see foals tolting in the pasture. Depending on their breeding, many Icelandic Horses also show the FLYING PACE. The pace is a lateral racing gait and horses reach speeds of up to 60kmph.
Icelandic horses are equally at home taking the children for a ride, in the show ring or trekking in the mountains. Centuries of isolation in Iceland has produced an extremely sure footed horse that is agile on rough terrain and shows great reserves of stamina. Although only 13 to 14 hands, the Icelandic horse weights between 800 and 1000 pounds and was bred to carry Vikings across Iceland. High bone density and strong sturdy legs enable a conditioned horse to carry an adult rider comfortably all day long. Their willingness to please and their love of people makes the Icelandic horse the ideal family companion.
Icelandics are very easy keepers and a double winter coat to protect them in cold climates. Slow to mature they are usually not ridden until they are four or five years old, but it is not unusual to ride them into their late twenties or early thirties. A great variety of colours, including many shades of dun and pintos can be found in the breed.