Icelandic horses are perhaps on the small side, but they are also incredibly strong, sure footed and intelligent. Their unique appearance and extraordinary abilities are the result of hundreds of years of isolation, causing their beautiful thick coats and long manes which help keep them warm in the harsh winter. The Icelandics are one of few thoroughbred horse breeds to come in many different colours.
The Icelandic horse is a “five-gaited” breed. In addition to the familiar gaits: walk, trot, and canter/gallop, it’s typically able to perform two additional gaits. The tölt, which is known for its smoothness, explosive acceleration and speed, while being comfortable and ground-covering.
This characteristic gait is sometimes compared to similar lateral gaits such as the rack of the Saddlebred, the largo of the Paso Fino, or the running walk of the Tennessee Walking Horse. While some Icelandic horses prefer to tölt, others prefer trotting but the tölt is a natural gait present from birth.
The Icelandic horse is also capable of a pace called skeið, flugskeið or “flying pace”. It is used in pacing races, and is fast and smooth, with some horses able to reach up to 48 km/h (30 mph). Not all Icelandics can perform this gait.
Urvalshestar can count itself among the best known and regarded Icelandic horse breeding businesses – famous both for the quality of its breeding stock and the professionalism and dedication of its people.
Urvalshestar’s owners, Magnus Larusson and Svanhildur Hall live at Holtsmuli farm about an hour outside Reykjavik with their two daughters. Both Magnus and Svanhildur are horse experts and horse enthusiasts in equal measure and the farm is usually staffed by an additional three to four working students whose love of horses draws them from all over the world.
Icelandic horse lovers all over the world trust Urvalshestar to provide beautiful and talented horses with co-operative temperaments and, often, with beautiful and unusual colours; and Urvalshestar is therefore one of Iceland’s foremost .
Holtsmuli Farm, where Urvalshestar is based, is much more than just a breeding centre: it is also a top class training school and stables.
Few horse trainers come with a finer pedigree than Magnus Larusson and Svanhildur Hall. Between them they have been both student and professors in equine studies, training and breeding at university level, worked abroad in training and teaching, are multi prize-winning breeders and sought-after experts and speakers. The list goes on, and on.
People looking for are very likely to come across the Urvalshestar name sooner or later. That’s because this family run business has a world class reputation for animal welfare, top class facilities, an enviable breeding stock and the best trainers around.
For further details about Icelandic horses for sale, Urvalshestar as a business or on Icelandic horses generally, visit