More Icelandic horses were sold abroad in 2020 than ever before, according to a report in Vísir.
Gunnar Arnarsson and his family own one of the comapnies that have been exporting Icelandic horses in recent years, and he says that this has been one of their busiest years yet. “It’s gone incredibly well this year compared to what could be expected at the beginning of the year. But we’ve had incredible sales,” says Gunnar. “I don’t know if it’s an ‘explosion’, but it is, at least, a very large increase, and is very positive. There could be about two thousand horses out this year” he adds.
According to Gunnar, most horses go to Denmark, Germany, Sweden and Norway. “The great Icelandic horse has a lot of appeal”.
Among the horses sold this year were two very successful stallions; Kveikur frá Stangarlæk and Styrkur frá Leysingjastaðir. But some are questioning whether valuable stallions like this should be sold abroad. Gunnar thinks it is a positive move. “It just expands the Icelandic horse world. I look at it very positively.” He also adds that sales are looking good well into 2021.
The Icelandic horse has evolved in isolation in Iceland, with very little exposure to disease. Because of this, and the fact that they are purebred, very strict laws and regulations surround the export of the animals. The export process is long and complicated, with in-depth medical examinations, vaccinations, passports and more required before an animal can leave the country.
When a horse has left Iceland, it is not permitted back into Iceland. They are popular for breeding across the world, due to their hardiness, strength, and unique fifth gait, the tölt, which is seen only in Icelandic horses.
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