The new equine economy of Iceland

I. SigurDardóttir*, G. Helgadóttir

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


When many other horse breeds lost their role following the industrial revolution, the Icelandic horse gained a new economic role. This chapter explains the development of this new role of the Icelandic horse and what economic and social factors it includes. The research is based on a literature review and analyses of secondary data. It also collates information from the authors' prior research on equestrian tourism. Findings indicate that the new economic, cultural and social roles of the Icelandic horse are extensive and many-sided. It includes breeding in the country of origin, participation in events and shows, inclusion in various social activities in Iceland and abroad and multifarious business operations including e.g. breeding, training and equestrian tourism. Despite the fact that equestrianism is a lifestyle choice of its practitioners, the new equine economy in Iceland does not only rely on the domestic market, as international markets with Icelandic horses and services are substantial. The horse industry is in many ways similar in Iceland and other countries, but it is unique in that there is only one breed in the country. The Icelandic horse is highly recognised and popular worldwide. The breed has a worldwide studbook and an acknowledged country of origin. There is a very high number of horses per person in Iceland, a strong culture of equestrianism and expansive grassland available. This allows for horse husbandry that lets horses live according to their nature as herd animals, free ranging for part of the year and for young horses to grow up with mature horses with minimal human interference.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe new equine economy in the 21st century, 2015
EditorsCeline Vial, Rhys Evans
PublisherWageningen Academic Publishers
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)9789086868247
ISBN (Print)9789086862795
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Publication series

NameEAAP Scientific Series
ISSN (Print)0071-2477

Other keywords

  • Economic importance
  • Equestrianism
  • Horse events
  • Horse industry
  • Horse tourism


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