For centuries the horse was the principal means of transportation and its meat an important foodstuff. Now horseback riding has become a popular sport and is commonly practiced in the country's urban as well as rural areas.
The Iceland horse is hardy and sure-footed and has a variety of five natural gaits, which is more than most other horse breeds are capable of. The five gaits are walk, trot, gallop, amble or pace, and a running walk called tölt. The tölt and pace are sought after qualities in the Iceland horse, since the gaits make for an astonishingly smooth ride