The naming of Icelandic horses

Icelandic horses are traditionally named in one of a number of ways.

Firstly, they may be named after the Icelandic Sagas, Norse mythology, or Gods and Goddesses. For example Gyðja (Gydja) meaning ‘Goddess’ or ‘fairy,’ and Thor and Ódinn, the names of Viking Gods.

Secondly, they are named after the horses colour, character or ability. For example Fleygur, meaning ‘the flying one’ – obviously named after Little Viking Horse’s amazing talents; or Kraftur, meaning ‘power,’ and Magnus meaning ‘great.’ Then there is Ragnar, meaning ‘strong councillor,’ and also the name of a 9th Century Viking.

Lastly, they may be named for animals, birds, or the element of nature. For example Fló, meaning ‘flea’; Blossi meaning ‘flare,’ or Dynjandi meaning ‘thundering hooves’, and this is also the name of a famous waterfall in Iceland.

And then there are ones that don’t meet nicely organised categories, like Flikka – a girl’s name. They can also be named for weapons and other artefacts too.

Icelandic Horses have other names too, that show their breeding, like human family or surnames. For example Gyðja frá Kröki (which tells you which farm she is from in Iceland); or Kraftur frá Bringu – a real life world champion horse – there’s even a film about him; and Fleygur from Siamber Wen – because he was born in the UK the word ‘from’ is used, instead of the Icelandic word, frá.

Gydja Fra Kroki
Gydja Fra Kroki

The majority of Icelandic Horse breeders outside Iceland have adopted the same custom for naming horses and this shows the proper respect for this noble breed. It is not considered proper to name the Icelandic horse in a way that is demeaning.

Fleygur from Siamber Wen
Fleygur from Siamber Wen

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