(TMU) — Based in South Carolina, artist Drew Doggett started his career in fashion photography. However, Doggett now travels the world searching for and photographing amazing landscapes and portraits of cultures, people, and communities using the techniques learnt during his earlier career. His travels have taken him to fascinating and remote places such as the Himalayas, Ethiopia, and most recently to Iceland.
Doggett’s fascination with the legendary Icelandic horses resulted in an expedition to the mystical land from where he captured the beauty of the horses and the incredible landscapes they roam in.
The resulting series, In the Realm of Legends, showcases the unique beauty of the horses in their natural element which draws the viewer into an ancient world of fantasy and myth, where one would not be surprised to encounter a Viking.
The Icelandic Horse is one of the oldest horse breeds in the world, brought to Iceland by the Vikings in the 9th and 10th centuries. For nearly 1000 years, no other breed of horse has stepped foot on Iceland’s soil, keeping out disease and creating the ultimate pure bred equine. No other horse is allowed in the country and when a horse is exported from Iceland it is never allowed to return.
A huge part of the life and the history of the people of Iceland is in high demand around the world. While the Icelandic horse is bred for export, they are primarily used for companionship and riding. Those who have experience in riding other breeds would argue that Icelandic horses are the best riding horses in the world.
According to the official website Horses of Iceland, “the goal of breeding Icelandic horses is to produce a healthy, fertile, and durable riding horse. Robust, elegant and versatile with five excellent gaits. The conformation should offer optimal natural balance, and the movements should be supple, high and ground covering in all gaits, giving an elegant and powerful image.”
Called a gaited horse breed, most Icelandic horses have two extra natural gaits called tölt and flying pace in addition to the walk, trot, canter and gallop. Most are born five-gaited, while some lack the flying pace and are considered four-gaited.
Icelandic horses vary in size from about 130 cm (4 ft 3 in) to over 150 cm on the highest point of withers and is one of the most colorful breeds in the world with over 40 colors and up to 100 variations.
These truly unique horses are known worldwide for their character. They are friendly, quick learners, adventurous, and smart. They are usually easy to handle with power and stamina needed for long distances on difficult terrain. Their versatility allows them to be used for competitions at the highest level, yet safely carry a young, inexperienced rider on ride out.