1 Betsy and I rode my Friesians, Ramon and Rinze and we met up with Nicki Esdorn and her friend, Martina Gates, riding Icelandic horses.
2 Here I am with Nicki. Riding Icelandic is very different than riding a Friesian. Nicki says it's like going from driving a bulky Suburban to driving a sleek Porche.
3 Icelandic horses look very cute and cuddly until you see them move. Their looks are very deceptive because they are very strong and spirited and offer a very big ride. Nicki gave me a few pointers and I was off! I rode the golden palomino, Dagfari, very well.
4 On the trail, we met three other Bedford Icelandic riders and I invited them all to my farm to ride on the trails. Nicki was so happy to see all the flowers in bloom.
5 The other three riders were Mindy Papp, Meredith Brokaw, and Cynthia Brill.
6 It was a great opportunity to get to know these horses because we are taping a show about Iceland on April 3rd, and two of these horses will make the trip to my TV studio in New York City.
7 Here's a nice group shot of Nicki Esdorn, me, Mindy Papp, Cynthia Brill, Meredith Brokaw, and Martina Gates.
8 Icelandic is a 'five-gated' breed, which includes walk, trot, and canter/gallop, as well as a four-beat lateral ambling gait known as the tölt. Some horses also perform the 'flying pace,' reaching up to 30 miles per hour!
9 Icelandic horses are long-lived and quite hardy. Natural selection played a large role in the development of this breed. Throughout Icelandic history large numbers of horses died from starvation and exposure to the elements. Only the strongest animals survived.
10 In Iceland, these horses have very few diseases. Icelandic law does not allow horses to be imported into the country and exported animals are not allowed to return.
11 Here we are tölting down the boxwood allee.
12 Tölting involves rapid acceleration and speed. It's a very comfortable gait.
13 The tölt is often compared to horses with similar lateral gaits, such as the Paso Fino, a popular breed for trail riding.
14 Icelandic horses are prized for their friendly and social behavior. These are very happy animals!
15 Icelandic horses are considered to be the world's purest breed. They were brought to Iceland upon Viking ships and served as the only source of transport for many years over the rough terrain of that remote country.