Thirteen Icelandic horses were used in the upcoming Peter Jackson film The Hobbit, due to be released in December 2012.
Cali Madincea of New Line Cinema said, “The look of the Icelandic horse, which grows a thick coat in the winter, was one of the things that attracted the attention of the producers. Another important aspect of the Icelandic horse is its endurance and strength; they can carry someone weighing up to 120 kilos.”
She added that the tölt, the gait particular to the breed, played a part in the decision as well.”This soft gait moves them right along, which helps an actor in full armour stay close to Gandalf, who’s riding a large horse.”
A horse trainer in New Zealand, as part of his duties, did have to teach the actors how to ride an Icelandic horse in a tölt, as it does take considerable practice for the rider to move with the gait.
The Hobbit is set to be released as a two-part prequel to Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy in December 2012 and December 2013.