While every year many competitions and breeding shows for Icelandic horses are held in various countries, the biggest events are without a doubt the World Championships and
Landsmót, each held every other year. Landsmót is a national event in Iceland, where all the best horses are gathered and paricipate in several competitions and shows. As no horse import to Iceland is allowed, this event consists of horses born in Iceland only.
The World Championships
The World Championships, however, are always held outside Iceland. The Icelandic team is always enthusiastic and competitive, but as the horses can never return once they leave the island, sometimes the very best horses in each class might not attend the World Championships as their owners would rather keep them in Iceland.
The World Championships are attended by 10,000 guests on average from all over the world. Attendees are, of course, mainly horse lovers, but many also come for the unique atmosphere, to meet old and new friends and simply enjoy themselves among great horses, like-minded people and in a happy community.
The annual round-ups in September are another popular social gathering in Iceland. First the sheep, and then the horses are driven down from the mountains where they spent the summer. A selected group of riders is involved in the actual gathering and driving down the herds from the mountains, which may take several days. However, for the last stretch, when the heards are driven into the sorting pens, hundreds or thousands of people come to observe and join in on the celebration held as part of these special events, some of whom have travelled long distances. As the round-ups are held in various regions at the time, attending them all would be impossible, so most people have a favourite location to which they return every year to help out, celebrate with friends and family and perhaps buy a new future riding horse or a brood mare.