Icelandic Horses are generally easy keepers. They should, for the most part, eat grass hay. Bermuda grass seems to be most similar to the grass Icelandic Horses eat in Iceland.
Alfalfa hay is not suited for Icelandic Horses. If your horses are underweight, they need more carbohydrates. Alfalfa will not provide any more carbohydrates than other hay. What it will add is an excessive amount of protein, a huge imbalance of calcium, and an increased risk of enteroliths. If you truly feed enough grass hay and your horses are still underweight, then add a SMALL amount of a complete feed concentrate. Beet pulp based complete feeds like Manna Pro's Sweet Rely or Purina's Complete Advantage are very safe, are easily digest, can be digested in both the foregut and hindgut. They may tend to make the horse a little "hotter" than usual.
Summer Eczema (Sweet Itch)
Some imported Icelandic Horses are prone to summer eczema, also called sweet itch. Research into this problem is still on-going and you can read more information about this problem here: Summer Eczema.
All Icelandic Horses in North America should be registered with either the United States Icelandic Horse Congress or the Canadian Icelandic Horse Federation. Blood-typing is required for US horses (except for imported geldings). More information is here: Registration.
There have been some problems with breeders/importers in North America selling horses that are unregistered and/or unregisterable. Please be sure to ask for an original registration certificate and not a "copy" of import papers.
Names and Meanings
Icelandic Horses usually have descriptive names--either for color or personality.Names and Meanings.
Here are some examples of names and their meanings:
- Ljufur--kind and gentle (male)
- Vinur--friend (male)
- Tryggur--loyal and faithful (male)
- Stjarni--star (male)
- Stjarna--star (female)
- Skumur--white bird with grey plumage (male)
- Skegla--white bird with grey plumage (female)
- Reykur--smoke (male)
- Glofaxi--red golden mane (male)
- Brana--brave (female)
- Hetja--heroine (female)
- Snerra--quarrelsome (female)
Additional names and meaning can be found here:
Icelandic Horses are very versatile and can be used for many disciplines. If you prefer dressage, a horse with a strong trot will probably be better suited than an Icelandic with a strong tolt. Versatility of Icelandic Horses.
Many Icelandic Horses are used for endurance, fox hunting, and jumping.
For more information about versatility, please check here: