Icelandic horse appropriate for a child?
 
 

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Icelandic horse appropriate for a child?

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  • Icelandic horses as a child's mount
  • Icelandic horses, temperament

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    02-17-2012, 12:58 PM
  #1
Yearling
Icelandic horse appropriate for a child?

I'm considering getting an Icelandic Horse for the family. They're a very nice size for a child - not too intimidating and not too hard to mount, yet they're tough enough for me and my husband to ride as well.
I'm familiar with the breed and its history. I've ridden them on two occasions, and I like them. I'd like to hear from someone with personal experience with them, whether you think their temperament would be OK for a child or too much to handle.
Are they generally sweet-tempered and gentle or can they be ornery?
Are they strong-willed/stubborn or eager to please?
Are they easy keepers or chow-hounds? I assume easy keepers. If they were chow hounds, they wouldn't survive long on Iceland
     
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    02-17-2012, 01:54 PM
  #2
Yearling
A good friend of ours has several of them that I rode last summer. She has a nice array of temperaments; the one mare is quite laid back and can be grouchy lol But the lady uses her for inexperienced people when they come over. Northwind, her personal mare, has a bit more go to her for a intermidiate or experienced rider. Hagar, the son of Northwind, was the one that I was paid to ride personally had a different personality; he was more offish and sensitive. He would only connect with a few certain people. However, when you do connect with him he is so much fun to ride! And lastly, there is the other gelding Atreyu who is pretty laid back.

All in all, they are a very fun breed :) I don't see why you couldnt find a select one that could fit your needs. As you stated, they are a awesome size and can carry adult or child. Plus, they are extremly easy keepers. The ones I know have a three sided shelter, get no grain and live on rougher hay and do just fine/
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    02-17-2012, 02:15 PM
  #3
Super Moderator
My limited experience with them was that they are very smart and will find a way to work around a rider who is not capable of controlling them. So, if you child has the kind of character that he/she can make the horse believe in his/her authority, then fine. If not? This holds true for all horses , but some will test more than others.
Still, they are really neat horses. Finding saddles that fit can be challenging, though.
     
    02-17-2012, 05:54 PM
  #4
Yearling
Sounds like shopping for one will be much like finding a new family dog. I'll need to spend enough time getting to know the prospect's personality very well. Personality and temperament, rather than training level, might be the most important thing to look for in this breed.
I just read up on the Icelandic website from Iceland, where it seems to say the same about their temperaments: Everything from high-strung racer to lamb-gentle child's horse.

Characteristics of the Icelandic
     
    02-17-2012, 07:12 PM
  #5
Started
They can be quite hot, or very not, like you said.
     
    02-17-2012, 09:05 PM
  #6
Foal
I have 9 Icelandics and they all have different temperments. The only one that is really well broke would never buck or rear, but sometimes she likes to GO..other times she is content to just mosey along. I think that most anyone who knows how to ride would not have any problem with her. I am anxious to get some of my younger ones started this year.
     
    02-18-2012, 12:04 AM
  #7
Foal
I have been involved with Icelandics for over 35 years. They can be perfect childs mounts but it is necessary to pick the right individual horse that matches the rider.

Some Icelandics are too forward for most youngsters but a large number of them are very gentle and forgiving of inexperienced riders especially children.

Many horses we have sold have carefully and happily carried young riders out on the trail, in lessons and at shows.

Icelandics tend to be quite reasonable on the ground and are often less reactive than many horse.

They can be quite broad through the barrel so if you can find for a narrower individual they be more comfortable for children.

One person mentioned that Icelandics can be hard to fit a saddle to. We have started using treeless Sensation Saddles and have been very happy with them.
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    02-18-2012, 02:07 AM
  #8
Trained
Quote:
Originally Posted by icefarm    
I have been involved with Icelandics for over 35 years. They can be perfect childs mounts but it is necessary to pick the right individual horse that matches the rider.

Some Icelandics are too forward for most youngsters but a large number of them are very gentle and forgiving of inexperienced riders especially children.

Many horses we have sold have carefully and happily carried young riders out on the trail, in lessons and at shows.

Icelandics tend to be quite reasonable on the ground and are often less reactive than many horse.

They can be quite broad through the barrel so if you can find for a narrower individual they be more comfortable for children.

One person mentioned that Icelandics can be hard to fit a saddle to. We have started using treeless Sensation Saddles and have been very happy with them.
you all look very happy
     
    02-18-2012, 09:46 AM
  #9
Foal
Icelandic horse appropriate for a child?

We have owned 3 Icelandic mares for 11 years. Someone just asked me that question last night. Here is my answer:
Icelandic horses are bred for speed. They are for intermediate or advanced riders. They are also bred for kind temperaments. Horse meat is part of the Icelandic economy and I have been told by Icelanders that if a young horse displays a bad temperament, it is culled. Thus, their ground manners are very good giving the impression that they are not very energetic.
They are gaited and require lessons from trainers who know how to teach riders how to ride Icelandics. They are not ridden western or English. They are "different" horses. They think differently. Several people in our area have purchased good Icelandic horses from reputable importers and returned them or resold them as "problem" horses. They chose not to get advice/lessons/training from the Icelandic trainers in our area instead going to their western or dressage trainers.
There are no natural predators in Iceland so for over 1,000 years these horses have not had to be worried about attack from other animals. Thus, their "flight or fight" instinct is reduced. They are courageous on trails.
Having said all this, I put beginners on our horses and give them a lesson in the arena under very controlled circumstances. Our horses are good and comply. However, they are happiest when they are out on the trail with other Icelandics going much faster.
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    02-18-2012, 01:26 PM
  #10
Foal
Where are you located Icehorse? I have been involved with gaited ponies since the early 70's.
     

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