WF in Great Britain

Icelandic horses in Great Britain – how it started

Icelandic horses have been imported into Britain since the 1950s and possibly even before, so there have been many changes regarding horse records over the years. Initially, British born horses were issued a simple pedigree certificate. 35 years ago, in 1986, the IHSGB (Icelandic Horse Society of Great Britain) was founded and shortly after, the first pedigree certificates were issued by the society.

Old Pedigree certificates were incorporated into the IHSGB studbook and purebred Icelandic horses were allocated a number starting with GB, followed by a number code. The Scottish Icelandic Horse Association (SIHA) issued their own passports for some time, but in 2009 SIHA was wound up and the SIHA studbook records were transferred to the IHSGB.

And then WorldFengur entries started

The oldest GB studbook record in WorldFengur dates back to a horse born in 1960. Having read about funny horse names that were given to Icelandic horses in the “olden days” in other FEIF member countries, it is worth mentioning two horses that were born in 1963 and 1967, respectively, which were called “Harold Half Dan” and “Harold Long Tooth”. It appears that all countries have their share of “special” names.

What sets FEIF countries apart from many other breed associations is WorldFengur, which was started in 2000 as a project by the Icelandic government in cooperation with FEIF.

The FEIF registration group was founded in order to assist and support all aspects relating to the database, and Clive Philips from Scotland was the first chairman of the group. Some years later, Mike Edwards from Great Britain led the group for some time as well.

The meticulous work of the many registrars who have entered and maintained the horse data in WorldFengur gives unparalleled access and information about horse pedigrees, DNA profiles, Breeding Value predictions (BLUP), sport achievements, breeding evaluations and so much more, all listed under the FEIF ID number of a particular horse.

And today….

As the IHSGB is a small society, the horse passports for all British born horses have been produced on behalf of the IHSGB by Bændasamtök Íslands since 2007. Our studbook registrar enters the data into WorldFengur, asks BÍ to produce the passport, and voilà, a brand new IHSGB passport is issued.

WorldFengur has grown and evolved over the years and is the perfect example of how to connect people worldwide through a common database which is shared amongst the FEIF member states. The available data allows Icelandic horse enthusiasts and breeders to gain invaluable information and it helps to advance the breeding of Icelandic horses.

Kristín Halldórsdóttir
Christina Edwards, GB (photo competition 2021)