The Icelandic gaedingur has many great qualities and among them are all his five gaits. Competition disciplines of equestrian sports on Icelandic horses have been developed so all the horse's talents get to shine.

There are two forms of competition in the Icelandic horse world, on the one hand the gaedinga competition and on the other hand the sport competition. The gaedinga competition is the oldest form of competition on Icelandic horses and has been competed in it on Landsmót since the beginning or since 1950.

In the gaedinga competition, there is competed in children’s class, teenagers’ class and young adult classes. The adults compete in A- and/or B-class, where in the A-class there are horses that have pace and, in the B-class there are four gaited horses.

As stated in the Law and regulations of LH (The Icelandic Equestrian Association), the goal of the gaedinga competition is to find the best riding horse and therefor the judges must always keep in mind the main criteria such as willingness, rhythm and form, quality of gaits and spirit.

When sports competitions and gaedinga competitions are compared, in sport competitions more emphasis is placed on the rider, his riding, rhythm, speed and form. In the gaedinga competition, on the other hand, the horse is in the spotlight, the competition form is freer and more open, less demands on precision and the characteristics of good shows are willingness, power and a good range in speed. The rider's approach to the horse is based on the original image of the Icelandic horse, where the spirit is free, and the good temperament is revealed. It is the true Icelandic gaedingur.

It is important to have these different forms of competition that are suitable for a diverse group of riders and horses. In the video Why a gæðinga competition? you can learn about the gaedinga competition and see interviews with riders. The video is published by LH and GDLH (Gaedinga Judges).


Text: Hilda Karen Garðarsdóttir
Photos: Louisa Hackl


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