How Iceland Gets into the Icelandic Horse

What comes after “frá”?

First, a little lesson in Icelandic.  Don’t worry, it won’t be a long lesson beause I don’t know much Icelandic!

If you’ve been around Icelandic horses a bit, you must have noticed that each horse has two parts to its name.  For example, I have a horse whose name is Sómi frá Dýrfinnustöðum. First comes the given name, then where the horse is from.   Sómi from the farm, Dýrfinnustaðir.  Put it together in proper Icelandic grammar and from Dýrfinnustaðir becomes frá Dýfinnustöðum.  The accent over “a” in frá causes it to rhyme with “how” and “cow”.

It is not just to make life more difficult for foreigners, but Icelanders often use both names when referring to a horse.  And even when they don’t use it, they know it. It not only clearly identifies the horse, but it gives the farm credit and acknowledge its role in the breeding.

You might have already spent a bit of time at Dýrfinnustaðir with Ingolfur and his five year old daughter, Ingunn, on Hágangur through this website.  And you might have guessed that my horse, Sómi, is from that same farm.  That is a whole other story is told in

Many, if not most, Americans drop that toungue-twister of a name that comes after frá. Understandable.  But many don’t even know it without looking it up in the papers of ownership.  That’s really sad because the after-frá is not only where their horse was bred, but also where their horse probably spent the formative first four or so years of its life and where it started its training. And developed its basic character.

Yes, it had another life before being exported. It was a very important life for that horse.

It is where the very special qualities that made it “Icelandic” took place.

And that is what I would like to show you here.

How Iceland gets into the Icelandic

Come along with me on a video field trip.  Literally. To a farm in Northern Iceland, to the pastures where Herdis and Indridi keep young horses at their farm, Grafarkot.

Herdis shows me some of  her young horses.  They are curious but I would not call them “pets”.

The youngsters are moved inside for the harsher months of the winter.

Life in the Barn

We now visit another farm, Homluholt, as Gudny Linda Gisladottir explains what the young horse’s life is like in the winter.


Let’s go with her into the barn and visit some horses.

About that heating… remember, in Iceland there is abundant geothermal hot water.

At Homluholt, Gudny tells us how they treat the young even when they are in the barn and people are around them. 

After the winter in, it’s back outside.

Life in the mountains.

Putting it all together… 

And now you have that special Iceland-ic horse!

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