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Northstar Farm, an estate established in 1994, is a dedicated Icelandic Horse breeding farm focused on producing healthy and sound horses with good dispositions, clear gaits, and well balanced conformation. For more than twenty years Northstar Farm has held the philosophy of improving the Icelandic Horse standard, proudly breeding domestic Icelandic Horses for the equine family across the United States and North America. We are able to provide a beautiful range of offspring at Northstar, spanning a range of major bloodlines, boasting prized and evaluated stallions and our carefully selected herd of quality proven broodmares. Last year we welcomed several new foals to our farm, and plan to have a fantastic turn out for our mares in 2018.
We welcome you to visit our farm, and feel confident on helping you make the right selection for your family's future equine endeavours.
The Herd | Training | The Five Gaits
The Icelandic Horse is a versatile, hardy and colorful breed. The traits & qualities of the Icelandic breed have been held with tradition in Iceland for more than one thousand years, making the Icelandic Horse one of the oldest, purest breeds in the world. It is also noteworthy that the Icelandic Horse is the only breed of horse in Iceland.
Icelandic horses are known for the smooth gaits that have been honed over time on the mountainous terrain of Iceland. The Tölt, a four beat running walk, is renown for its smooth, comfortable ride over long distance. The Icelandic Horse is also well known for The Flying Pace, a speedy two beat pacing gait, which is featured in a popular Icelandic past time - Icelandic Pacing Races!
Here at Northstar farms we maintain the Icelandic traditions with the horses that are born on our farm. The herds are cared for at a large 40 acre facility, where the animals are allowed free reign to graze and move naturally. The Northstar herds are separated between a large collection of broodmares and their offspring from years past and a lively group of older geldings and stallions. In these groups, the younger horses find their place in the chain of command, learning manners from the older horses, and giving them a great sense of community that horses desire. Raising horses in this manner, in herds that roam free, is the key to shaping the personality and character of the Icelandic Horse. The outcome is a spirited and forward going horse with much respect for the rider.
At Northstar the horses also follow the Icelandic training traditions and philosophies. Professional Icelandic Trainers are used to start our young horses, from various locations around the United States. Young horses are not started under saddle until the age of four years, where their bodies have fully matured and given their legs the proper time to strengthen to their full potential. Training takes place over the next year, and the development of the four & five natural gaits is worked on ground and under saddle. In their fifth year their training is continued and more demands can be made. The Icelandic Horse usually leads a long and healthy life and their natural life span is 25-30 years, but some have grown much older.
The Icelandic Horse can be used in all the traditional Icelandic disciplines as well as in classic equestrian sports such as dressage and jumping. Whatever your preference – you will always find an Icelandic horse to fulfill your dream!
One of the most exciting aspects of the Icelandic Horse are their fluid and comfortable gaits. The Icelandic Horse is unique, as one of the only breeds that is able to naturally produce five distinctly different gaits.
The walk is a four-beat gait. When walking the horse should be relaxed, moving ahead briskly, putting each foot down independently. The walk is also good for releasing tension and to teach the horse to work in a more focused manner.
The trot is a two-beat gait where front and hind legs on opposite sides move together. The trot is one of the so-called basic gaits and is used a lot in basic training before the horse masters tölt.
The canter/gallop is a three-beat gait, ridden at different speeds. A slow canter is comfortable and is common all over the world in different horse breeds. A fast gallop can liven up the horse and increase its willingness, positive attitude and enthusiasm to work.
The tölt is the specialty of the Icelandic Horse. It is a smooth four-beat gait in which the horse hind legs should move well under the body and carry more of the weight on the hind part, allowing the front to rise and be free and loose.
The Tölt is similar to the running walk or rack of a Tennessee Walking Horse or Paso Fino. In the Icelandic Horse, Tölt is a very smooth gait which, while reaching speeds similar to fast trotting, is much less jolting to the rider. The Tölt is an excellent gait for trail-riding or horse-trekking.
The flying pace is a two-beat gait, well known in the international racing world. When pacing the horse moves both legs on the same side together. In Iceland pace horses are ridden in races, not raced in front of a sulky like in other countries and pace racing in Iceland is one of the oldest and most respected equestrian sports.