How Much Does an Icelandic Horse Cost: Detailed Guide

Are you interested in owning an Icelandic horse? Before you take the leap, you may be wondering, “How much does an Icelandic horse cost?” In this detailed guide, we’ll break down the various factors that can affect the price of an Icelandic horse and give you a better understanding of what to expect.

Icelandic Horse Overview

Icelandic Horses Iceland

The Icelandic horse, native to Iceland, is a unique and highly sought-after breed. Known for its hardiness, endurance, and willingness to learn, the Icelandic horse is relatively small, often considered pony size. However, breeders and registries always refer to them as horses. The average Icelandic horse stands at about 13 and 14 hands (52 and 56 inches, 132 and 142 cm) tall, and weighs between 330 and 380 kilograms (730 and 840 lb).

The spirited but gentle temperament of the Icelandic horse is one of their most celebrated traits, making them highly desirable for leisure, sports, and breeding. They have evolved in isolation over centuries, ensuring a powerful connection to their native land.

Due to relatively low numbers of this breed outside of Iceland, Icelandic horses can be quite expensive. On average, an Icelandic horse can cost around $10,000 in the USA, though prices may vary based on factors such as age, training, pedigree, and location.

Their hardiness is partly due to their natural heritage and the unique challenges they face in their homeland. Iceland is known for its rugged terrain, harsh weather, and volcanic soil, all of which have contributed to the development of the Icelandic horse’s strength and adaptability.

In Iceland, there is a strong adherence to preserving the Icelandic horse’s purity. This has led to strict laws and regulations around the export of these animals, ensuring the health and well-being of the breed, as well as the protection of their unique genetic traits.

It is important to consider the following aspects when purchasing an Icelandic horse:

  • Initial cost: Expect to pay around $10,000 on average in the USA
  • Import regulations: Familiarize yourself with any regulations or restrictions related to importing Icelandic horses from their native country
  • Maintenance costs: Icelandic horses are relatively low-maintenance, but proper care and feeding should still be factored into your budget
  • Longevity: Icelandic horses have a long lifespan, with some individuals living up to 40 years or more

In summary, acquiring an Icelandic horse is both an exciting and substantial investment. Understanding their unique characteristics, as well as the potential costs associated with owning and importing one, is crucial for anyone considering adding this beloved breed to their life.

Physical Characteristics

Beautiful Icelandic horses in Iceland

Bone Density

Icelandic horses are known for their unique physical characteristics. One of the noticeable features in Icelandic horses is their bone density. These animals have a high bone density, which contributes to their overall hardiness and ability to withstand the harsh climate of Iceland. The sturdy and compact nature of their bodies allows them to navigate difficult terrain with ease and maintain their footing in challenging conditions.

Their dense bones provide added strength and support to their muscular frame. As a part of their adaptation to the Icelandic environment, these horses have developed a strong skeletal system that offers durability and resilience in the face of adversity. This hardiness is further reflected in their ability to cope with extreme weather fluctuations and even volcanic activity in their native homeland.

Size and Weight

The Icelandic horse is a small but powerful breed. They typically stand between 13 and 14 hands high (52 to 56 inches or 132 to 142 cm), which some people might classify as pony-sized. However, breeders and registries categorize these horses as proper horses due to other characteristics, such as their stamina and robustness. Icelandic horses generally weigh between 330 and 380 kilograms (730 and 840 lb), a testament to their solid build.

Coat and Color

The Icelandic horse’s coat is another remarkable feature. There are over 40 colors and 100 various patterns found in this horse breed, and in the Icelandic language, there is a unique term for each one. Some of the most common colors found in Icelandic horses are brúnn (brown) and rauður (chestnut), although several other variations exist.

This diverse array of coat colors and patterns is accompanied by a thick and heavy mane and tail, providing the horse with added insulation against the harsh Icelandic climate. The coat changes with the seasons, becoming thicker during winter months for added warmth and shedding during the spring and summer to adapt to the changing temperatures.

In terms of cost, the average price of an Icelandic horse is around $5,000 when purchased in the US. However, most breeders and horses are located in Iceland, so the actual cost can be much higher when factoring in transportation and import expenses. Prospective buyers should be prepared to spend around $10,000 for a registered Icelandic horse.

Gaits and Performance

Icelandic horses grazing


The Icelandic horse is a unique breed with some distinctive characteristics that set it apart from other horses. Among these traits is their ability to perform five gaits, two of which are exclusive to the breed. One of these distinct gaits is the tölt, a smooth, four-beat gait that provides a comfortable, efficient ride for both horse and rider. This gait is similar to the walk, trot, and canter of other breeds. The tölt allows the Icelandic horse to cover long distances with ease while maintaining a consistent rhythm, making it an ideal mount for long rides in Iceland’s rugged terrain.


Another extraordinary gait prevalent in Icelandic horses is the flying pace or “skeið”. This gait is an incredibly fast two-beat lateral movement that can reach speeds of up to 48 km/h (30 mph). The flying pace is an impressive display of power and agility and is reserved for short distances, typically between 100 and 200 meters. Although not all Icelandic horses possess the ability to perform the flying pace, those that can are often considered to be the best of the best among their breed.


While Icelandic horses are predominantly known for their unique gaits, they can also excel in dressage. Their natural ability to perform the tölt and pace, coupled with their strength and agility, makes them well-suited for dressage training. Icelandic horses have demonstrated success in dressage competitions and continue to gain popularity in the sport.

Though they are smaller in size, averaging between 13.2 to 14.2 hands, Icelandic horses boast remarkable stamina, endurance, and power. Their versatility, hardiness, and relatively low maintenance make them an excellent choice for equestrian enthusiasts across various disciplines, including gaits, tölt, pace, and dressage.

Factors Affecting Cost

Icelandic horse in the field of scenic nature landscape

When it comes to determining the cost of an Icelandic horse, several factors come into play. In this section, we will explore the aspects that can influence the price, such as age and gender, training and experience, as well as bloodline and breeding.

Age and Gender

The age and gender of an Icelandic horse can substantially affect its cost. Younger horses, especially those with potential for further development, tend to command higher prices. For example, a well-bred foal may have a premium price due to its potential for growth and success in competitions. In contrast, older horses, especially those nearing retirement, generally have lower prices.

Additionally, gender can also influence the price of an Icelandic horse. Stallions and mares may have different values due to their breeding potential. A mare with a proven breeding record may fetch a higher price than a gelding of similar age and experience.

Training and Experience

The level of training and experience an Icelandic horse has is another crucial factor that can impact its cost. Horses that have undergone extensive training and have proven their skills in competitions usually demand higher prices, especially if they possess the ability to perform the unique Icelandic gaits like tolt and flying pace.

Horses with less training or experience may be more affordable, but it’s essential to consider the cost of additional training if the buyer intends to use the horse for specific purposes like riding or competing.

Bloodline and Breeding

The bloodline and breeding of an Icelandic horse can also play a significant role in determining its cost. Horses with desirable bloodlines, coming from well-regarded ancestors, often hold greater value due to their potential to produce high-quality offspring or to excel in competitions.

A horse with a strong pedigree may fetch a premium price, while those without a notable lineage or from lesser-known families may be more affordable.

As previously mentioned, the average cost of an Icelandic horse is around $5,000. However, taking into account factors like age, gender, training, experience, and bloodlines can cause the price to vary greatly. In the United States, buyers can expect to pay around $10,000 due to the relatively low numbers of Icelandic horses available in the country.

How to Purchase an Icelandic Horse

Icelandic horses playing near the mountain

Icelandic horses are known for their hardiness, endurance, and willingness, making them a popular choice among equestrian enthusiasts. The cost of these unique horses can range from $3,000 to $16,620 depending on various factors such as age, pedigree, and training. To help you make an informed decision, this section offers guidance on how to purchase an Icelandic horse, focusing on local breeders and importing from Iceland.

Local Breeders

One way to find an Icelandic horse for sale is through local breeders. Reputable breeders can introduce you to their available horses, allowing you to see them in person and evaluate their suitability for your needs. Breeders often have horses at various ages and training levels, giving you the option to choose a young horse to train yourself or one with more experience. To find Icelandic horses in your area, search online directories or websites that specialize in Icelandic horses for sale, such as Equine Now and HorseClicks.

Importing from Iceland

An alternative option to consider is importing an Icelandic horse directly from Iceland. While this might be more expensive due to additional costs such as transportation and import fees, it can provide a wider selection of horses to choose from. Before importing a horse, it is essential to factor in the following costs:

After accounting for these expenses, it is vital to arrange transport from the destination airport to your home or stable.

In conclusion, purchasing an Icelandic horse can involve exploring local breeders or importing directly from Iceland, each with its considerations. Being informed about the costs, procedures, and requirements will help ensure a successful and enjoyable horse ownership experience.

Icelandic Horse Maintenance and Care

Icelandic horses on snow

The Icelandic Horse is a unique and spirited breed, originating from Iceland, and requires specific care to ensure its health and wellbeing. In this section, we will discuss some essential aspects of Icelandic Horse maintenance and care, including feeding and nutrition, shelter, and fencing.

Feeding and Nutrition

Icelandic Horses are known for their hardiness and ability to thrive in harsh environments. However, to maintain their health, they require a balanced diet consisting of hay, grass, and occasional supplements. Horses should be provided with fresh water daily.

  • Hay: Hay should be the primary component of their diet, given at 1.5-2% of their body weight per day. Choose high-quality hay, free of dust and mold.
  • Pasture: If Icelandic Horses have access to suitable pasture, they can graze for several hours a day. Ensure the grass is free from toxic plants.
  • Supplements: Some Icelandic Horses might need additional supplements, such as vitamins or minerals, especially during winter months when pasture is scarce. Consult your veterinarian for specific recommendations.

Shelter and Fencing

Icelandic Horses are capable of withstanding cold temperatures, but it is essential to provide adequate shelter and fencing to protect them from the elements and potential threats.

  • Shelter: A well-ventilated and dry stable or run-in shed should be made available for your Icelandic Horse to escape extreme weather or seek shade during hot days. Ensure that the shelter is clean and free from hazards, such as protruding nails or sharp edges.
  • Fencing: Secure and sturdy fencing is crucial for preventing escapes and injuries. Materials such as wood, vinyl, or sturdy mesh wire are suitable for Icelandic Horses. Avoid using barbed wire, as it can cause severe injuries. The fence height should be between 4-6 feet, depending on the horse’s size and tendency to jump.

In conclusion, Icelandic Horse maintenance and care involve providing proper nutrition, shelter, and fencing to ensure their health and safety. Take the time to observe your horse, make adjustments to its diet and living conditions as needed, and consult with professionals to give your Icelandic Horse the best possible care.

How Much Does an Icelandic Horse Cost

When considering the purchase of an Icelandic Horse, several factors can influence the cost. Initially, the price of the horse itself can vary based on factors like age, experience, pedigree, and overall desirability. On average, an Icelandic Horse can cost around $5,000 if bought from a seller in the United States. However, as most Icelandic Horses and breeders are based in Iceland, the actual cost might be much higher when considering transport and import fees.

Transportation and import processes also play a significant role in determining the overall cost of an Icelandic Horse. Factors such as import taxes, quarantine costs, and international travel expenses can add up quite fast. For instance, a thorough veterinary check in Iceland typically costs around 40,000 ISK (approximately 250 euros / 290 dollars), which is paid by the seller if the horse is found to be unsound.

It is essential to factor in additional expenses when calculating the overall cost of owning an Icelandic Horse. These costs can include:

  • Food and boarding expenses
  • Vet and medical bills
  • Training, equipment, and riding lessons


In conclusion, the price of an Icelandic Horse can fluctuate due to various elements, including the horse’s desirable attributes and location. While the average cost of the horse is around $5,000, potential buyers should also consider factors such as transportation, import fees, and ongoing care expenses in order to get a more accurate understanding of the overall expenditure. By factoring in these additional costs, individuals can make well-informed decisions when investing in an Icelandic Horse.