The competition

A multipurpose horse

T he Icelandic horse is of course an exceptional horse for the outdoor; ideal for family rides and trails in general. He is voluntary and curious and can also adapt to several other equestrian activities, either leisure or competition. He has demonstrated abilities for the carriage, pony-games, endurance, dressage, jumping or TREC, where his willingness and his energy can show their full potential. Because of his kindness and calm, he is also a good choice to participate in equitherapy sessions and help people facing a handicap.

The Icelandic horse is efficient in TREC, pony-games, equifun and will display its full potential in the Icelandic Riding Competitions.

The Icelandic competition

Thanks to his original gaits, the Icelandic horse can be ridden differently: this is the Icelandic equitation, recognized by the FFE. The competition tests are defined as per the International Federation of the Icelandic Horses Associations FEIF rules and regulations. In France, both the FFE and the FFCI have defined rules and regulations for the Icelandic equitation in competition, and they have also defined a wide range of tests for riders of all levels and age. The rules and regulations can be accessed by clicking this link.

Performance / objective

As in every high level competition, the judges seek for the perfect harmony between the horse and its rider. For the horse, they will look for:

  • Gait’s purity: regularity, rhythm, amplitude, rectitude, speed
  • General impression : charisma, energy, beauty
  • The hind legs engaging, the front legs engaging and elevating, an harmonious head position
  • The best cocktail of a smooth and powerful performance !

An oval ring and a straight line race track.

The ground should be firm and even, made of sand or an ash track such as the Trot racing places. This is best to show great gaits’ performances and listen the gaits’ music. The tests take place on an oval track with a perimeter of 200 to 250 meters. The judges are located in the center, in rotating chairs in order to best observe the horses and they riders. Each class has specific tests, and the judges give a grade to each test, the best grade being 10. The final grade given is the average of all the intermediary grades (minus the maxima and the minima). The pace race takes place on a 250 meters long straight line track. The judges look at the speed and the gait’s control (the horse needs to keep pacing and can be tested on gaits transitions).

The Official Competitions and the Championships

  • In France

Taking place every year and open to riders of all ages. The tests are the official ones and as per the international standards of the FEIF, but there are also leisure tests where games and performance are combined.
The FFCI organizes since several years a French Championship. The rider must participate to specific competitions in order to qualify for the Championship even though it is open to all. It is an occasion to ride in front of international and quality judges.

  • In Iceland

The gaedingakeppni are traditional events that always existed and where where the Icelandic fans meet. The most famous one is the Landsmot. This is a national event taking place every two years and that lasts a week. Festive and convivial when it first started, the event quickly became a professional event and the reference for all the Icelandic breeders and riders. Championship for the young horses, gaits tests, pace races, tests for the young riders, this event brings between 10,000 to 15,000 people together. It’ s THE RDV for every Icelandic horse’s passionate.

  • Internationally: The World Championship

The World Championship takes place every two years on the European continent. It’s organized by the FEIF. Every member can send a team of its best horses and riders compete to the Championship. It is a great honor to participate to this event and all the best riders seek to be qualified in their national team. The event can never take place in Iceland as no horse is allowed to be imported on the territory. As well, the horses of the Icelandic team are permanently leaving the island, they will not be allowed to return.

The tests on the oval ring :

  • T1 – Tölt

The couple horse/rider must make a full loop in slow tölt, come back in walk, and turn around. Then they must show a slow tölt while on the small sides of the loop and clearly stretch the tölt’s amplitude while on the long sides of the loop. The last part of the test is a high speed tölt (up to 30-40 km/h).

  • T2- Tölt

It’s the « long reins » test. The couple horse/rider goes at a tölt at the speed of its choice first. Then they must come to a slow tölt. Lastly, the horse must be ridden in tölt (slow or faster) while the rider holds both reins in one hand. There must be the least possible intervention from the rider.

  • The four gaits V1

The couple horse/rider must present the following gaits to the order of its choice, either left or right hand:

  1. slow tölt,
  2. slow to medium trot,
  3. medium walk,
  4. slow to medium canter,
  5. fast tölt.
  • The five gaits F1

The couple horse/rider must present the following gaits to the order of its choice, either right or left hand:

  1. slow to medium tölt,
  2. slow to medium trot,
  3. medium walk,
  4. slow to medium canter,
  5. pace (only while on the long sides of the loop).

The tests on the straight line track:

  • Pace – P1

This test takes place on the 250 meters long pace track. At the go signal, the riders choose their gait, but from 50 meters to the finish line all riders must be at the pace.

  • Pace PP1

The horse starts in walk, trot or tölt. Between 0 to 20 meters he must be in canter. Between 20 to 40 meters, he must be in pace. From 140 meters and before 210 meters, he must be back in tölt, trot or walk. A part of the test, between 40 and 140 meters, is timed. If the grades cannot select a winner, then the time will be used.