Pace Race explained
In the “supreme discipline“ two riders race each other.
Author: Nora Benz
In addition to Tölt, the Icelandic horse can be tested in Pace competitions. It is a two-beat gait during which both legs on one side of the horse simultaneously touch the ground. Ridden at high velocities, in Flying Pace, at one interval all four hooves of the horse are suspended off the ground.
Riding at a Flying Pace is considered the crown of horsemanship. In this gait, the Islandic horse can reach speeds of up to 50km/h or 30mph.
While during most competitions, the quality of the ridden gaits is important - as is the case in the Pace test - what matters in the Pace race is speed. So, the judges determine the fastest ridden times out of all valid heats.
Two competitors oppose one another directly and create the very special feeling of a classic derby, as the riders commence their heat from a standing position in start boxes. In contrast to the Flying Pace discipline, every participant may go up to four heats. For the first heat the starting order is determined by chance. Then, the competitors start according to the times they achieved, which makes each race more exciting.