Icelandic horses (Cheval islandais)
Nynke and Hans are a lovely couple who live not too far away from us and they have 3 beautiful Icelandic horses. Some of the students that come to stay with us have horse riding experience and Nynke very kindly takes them horse riding in the fields and forests.
Icelandic horses are smaller than other horse breeds and could be classified as ponies if only size counted, but because of their robustness and hardiness (robustesse et rusticité) amongst other reasons, they are regarded as horses. One theory as to why they are called horses is perhaps because the Icelandic language has no word for pony (poney)! Size is not important as they have big personalities and spirited temperament. Look how kind they are to even smaller animals!
Icelandics tend to be friendly, docile and easy to handle, although also enthusiastic and self-assured (amical, docile, facile à prendre en main, enthousiaste et assuré). All the students who have been riding with Nynke definitely agree! They also have a very thick coat (robe de cheval) and they get brushed before and after riding. They need a thick coat in Iceland to protect them against the cold. They also have very long manes (la crinière) which can be left long or cut back (look at the next photo).
What makes these horses really special though is their gait (allure). They trot in a special way that is called tölt – this is a special form of trotting. Some Icelandic horses prefer to tölt, while others prefer to trot. (Certains chevaux islandais préfèrent aller au tölt plutôt qu'au trot, et inversement.) Nynke shows the students how to tölt and they all enjoyed learning this new technique.
Pauline enjoyed her stay with us and the horse riding so much, she has decided to come back again this year and do some more “tölting” and improve her English even more. The horses are waiting for you!