The team of Old Raatesalmi consists of horses, people and other animals. In this field, it's really important, that the team is good for everyone. We're really lucky to have such great people and horses! On the right, you can find short introductions of our team.
The Icelandic horse
The Icelandic horse is one of the oldest horse breeds in the world. The breed is believed to be descended from horses, that viking brought with them to Iceland at 707-800s. The breed is very pure, because Iceland has had a prohibition on importing horses for a thousand years. Even today, a horse leaving the island can never go back.
The Icelandics are smaller size horses. Their height varies between 120 cm / 3'11" and 150 cm / 4'11". The Icelandics are a strong breed compared to their size and they carry an adult easily. Despite their smallish size, they are considered horses, not ponies. Their structure is strong and healty. They are made to withstand the harsh conditions of Iceland and they grow a really thick double layered coat for winter months. Our farm is located in Northern Finland, and even here, the Icelandics like to live outside and only use their barn during summer to escape bugs.
The Icelandic horses are sweet, steady and easy to handle. This is partly, because they typically grow in herds. This makes keeping Icelandics never alone even more important. They are happiest in herds, preferably with other Icelandics.
The Icelandic horses have two extra gaits. On top of walk, trot and canter/gallop, they have tölt and flying pace. Tölt and pace come from the genes, so they are natural for the Icelandics. Even foals use these gaits right from the start.
Tölt is definitely one of the reasons the Icelandics are so popular. It is also one of the most important qualities. Tölt is a four-beat lateral gait between walk and trot. The legs move in same order as in walk, and at least one hoof is on the ground at all times. Because of this, tölt doesn't have the moment of suspension and the coming down from that. This makes tölt really smooth and comfortable to sit on. The speed of tölt varies between human jog and brisk canter.