Icelandic horses (Equus ferus caballus) are the only horse breed in the world that can perform five different gaits. Most horses can walk, trot, and canter, but Icelandic horses can also perform a flying pace and a tölt – these gaits, in which only one hoof touches the ground at a time, are useful given the often-uneven terrain in Iceland (pictured here in Southern Iceland) as they allow for a smooth ride. Interestingly enough, a “flying pace” is also how I would classify my own movements as I tripped my way through this bumpy terrain while hiking in Iceland…
[Photo and caption by Blair Downey]
Robilliard, J.J., Pfau, T., & Wilson, A.M. (2007). Gait characterisation and classification in horses. The Journal of Experimental Biology, 210, 187-197.
[Edited by Karli Chudeau]