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There are about 80,000 horses in Iceland which is an incredible number for a nation that counts 310,000 people. The horse is used for pleasure riding, travelling and competition purposes and it still plays a practical role in the annual sheep and horse round-ups where farmers use horses to round up sheep and horses in the highlands. (source and text: www.fhb.is)
But where do we keep them in winter season?
Riding and competition horses are stabled from mid December to end of May/ beginning of June.
But there are still many horses that are not stabled for example pregnant mares, youngsters that have not been trained, horses that are only ridden during summer season f.ex. trail horses on multi day tours needing the „winter vacation“ and more. These horses are kept outside in the fields throughout the year and in winter they are fed hay, have access to fresh water and are provided with shelter. As long as they are not hungry and have good shelter they are happy to stay outside and actually it involves more freedom than staying in the stable 23 hours. The Icelandic horse is very strong by origin and have thick winter coat so they hardly ever get cold in the winter season.
Text and photos by Steinunn Guðbjörnsdóttir