Living in limbo between wild and domestic animals, these horses have the best of both worlds. During the summer they are free to range over the mountains of Iceland and as winter closes in, they are rounded up by their owners to be cared for during the winter.
Filmmakers Lindsay Blatt and Paul Taggart have created a documentary that reveals the rich cultural and environmental history of this breed and the people who have created this unusual and wonderful way of life for the horses.
Blatt and Taggart write, "During the summer months, the horses live a wild existence, grazing in the highlands and raising their young. Each fall, they are rounded up by local farmers and directed across the stunning landscape. This valued tradition is a social and cultural touchstone for both the farmers who own the horses and the city dwellers who travel to the countryside to participate. The horse holds a precious place in Icelandic culture, art and tradition; for over 1,000 years Icelandic law has prohibited the importation of horses onto the island. By telling the story of this annual journey, Herd in Iceland captures the symbolism behind the horses and the nation they represent."
The duo has created a gorgeous documentary project, which will soon be completed thanks to generous funding on Kickstarter. Here is the trailer.
For so long, the Icelandic horse has been shaped by the island's environment and the people dependent upon them. However, Iceland itself is being shaped by global climate change. As interesting as the annual roundup is on its own, as a tradition being kept alive by dedicated farmers, it is also interesting to think how it might change. How might these changes affect the breed? How might it affect the culture behind these amazing animals? These might be the questions a documentary film will answer in coming years.