April 18, 2008

A group of Icelandics in a competition.
© Icelandic Horse Society of GB

For the first time in Britain Icelandic horses will show off their unique paces on ice at Icehorses 2008.

The show, tomorrow at 6pm at Planet Ice, Basingstoke, features the preliminary rounds and finals of Britain's first IceTölt competition.

Displays of the best of Icelandic horse riding will also feature, with six top riders and horses from Iceland.

Riding on ice is popular in Europe, and special ice shoes ensure the safety of the horses.

The Icelandic is the original horse of the Vikings, taken to Iceland over a thousand years ago and pure bred ever since.

Icelandics are small - usually between about 12.2hh and 14.2hh, though they are sometimes bigger or smaller. As well as the ordinary walk, trot and canter, Icelandic horses tölt and pace. Tölt is a 4-beat running walk, while pace is a fast, exciting gait used for racing.