1 This is the High Country Farm posse at the start of their Halloween ride - Nicki Esdorn (dressed as a pirate) on Alfrun, Charlotte Kooyman on Hreyfing, Michael Kooyman on Dagfari, and Hannah Huss on Fig.
2 Nicki met up with more Icelandic riders and paid me a visit at the farm.
3 Unfortunately, I had another commitment and couldn't ride with them, but I shared some fresh pressed apple cider and homemade coffee cake.
4 Icelandic Horses are one of the oldest breeds of horse in the world. They were brought to Iceland long before any of the European Breeds that we're so familiar with had been established.
5 Nicki loves riding Iclandics more than any other kind of horse. The group was joined by two other riders upon an Appaloosa and a thoroughbred. I loved everyone's costumes and the horses, too!
6 Iceland was settled by the Vikings during the years 874 to 930, crossing the Atlantic in small open boats.
7 The Vikings managed to transport livestock, as well, which was quite challenging, as you can imagine in an open boat.
8 When a sufficient population of horses in Iceland was established, people stopped importing them.
9 For nine centuries, no other breed of horse was brought to Iceland and the Icelandic horse remains the only breed in that Nordic island country.
10 It is one of the purest horse breeds in the world and many diseases that afflict horses in other parts of the world are nonexistent in Iceland.
11 For hundreds of years, the Icelandic horse was the only means of transport in Iceland. It carried people and supplies across the most rugged terrain - over treacherous mountains, through powerful rivers, over rugged lava fields, and over glaciers.
12 Icelandic horses look very cute and cuddly until you see them move. They're prized for their amazing strength, sure-footedness, stamina, and endurance.
13 Betsy rode Rinze while she took the group around the trails of the farm.
14 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!
15 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.
16 To keep this breed pure and healthy, Icelandic law does not allow horses to be imported into the country and exported animals are not allowed to return.
17 A nice group shot was taken at the stable before Nicki and her group left the farm to continue their Halloween ride along other trails.
18 Icelandic horses are prized for their friendly and social behavior.
19 Although their use as a workhorse in Iceland has greatly diminished, today, most Icelandic horses are used for competition and leisure riding.
20 The breed comes in many coat colors, including chestnut, dun, bay, black, gray, palomino, pinto and roan.
21 They have well-proportioned heads, with straight profiles and wide foreheads.
22 And their big manes and long tails make them especially attractive horses.