Icelandic Horses


Does your horse have the genetic potential to be a four-gaited or five-gaited horse?

Genetics play a crucial role in whether a horse can perform flying pace or not. Research has identified the gene and “gait-keeper mutation” that permits this gait. It has been shown that flying pace has a very simple genetic inheritance pattern in Icelandic horses and that a horse needs to have two copies of the genetic variant permissive for pace (A) in order to perform the gait.





SynchroGait® is a great tool to plan breeding of four-gaited horses

A horse shown as four-gaited at a breeding field test may be AA, CA or even CC. When these are used in breeding they will produce very different kinds off offspring.

How can this test help you?

  • Test breeding animals and then cross the combination that optimizes the chances of getting offspring with the gaits you prefer
  • Breed two four-gaited horses but eliminate the risk of CC offspring
  • To predict the gaits of a youngster that has at least one four-gaited parent
  • If you are not sure whether you should initiate pace training with your horse, to avoid pressuring CA and CC horses in attempts at flying pace

Click here for a more thorough outline of how SynchroGait can aid in the breeding of four-gaited horses.



Research results in brief

  • Among over 400 tested five-gaited horses, all were AA except for 13 CA-horses. However, the average score of the CA horses for pace was 5.92
  • The distribution among horses shown as four-gaited at breeding field tests was 52% CA, 3% CC and 45% AA
  • CA horses had a significantly higher average score for the basic gaits of walk, trot, canter and gallop
  • AA horses had a significantly higher score for tölt. However, there was no difference for “slow tölt”
  • CC horses are often very difficult to put into tölt in the beginning of their training (CC= 5.1, CA= 4.0, AA= 2.2*)


*On a scale 1-6, where 6 is most difficult


Read more


Islandpferde Zucht (2015):

Presentation by Þorvaldur Kristjánsson

Hestablaðið Seisei (2014): Áhrif DMRT3 gensins á ganghæfni íslenskra hrossa

Eidfaxi (2014): Simple inheritance behind flying pace

Eidfaxi (2014): Einfaldur arfur keiðhæfileikanna

Eidfaxi (2014): Vererbungsmuster für den renn Pass

Danish Tölt (2013): Kan (den) det passe?

Islandpferde Zucht (2013): Pass Gene

Eidfaxi (2012): Genetic research sprints on in flying pace

Eidfaxi (2012): Genetische Untersuchungen zur Rennpassveranlagung

Eidfaxi (2012): Uppgötvun gangráðsins í hrossum og músum


Read more about SynchroGait® for other breeds here.



Monique Nilsfors

Breeder and board member of SIF-avel (Swedish association for breeders)

I use SynchroGait® as a tool for planning my breeding. I try to find suitable combinations with the information that I receive from the test, combinations that will hopefully give me offspring with the qualities I am looking for in their gaits.

For me, it is important to be able to use four-gaited stallions on four-gaited mares without the risk of producing CC offspring.


Þorvaldur Kristjánsson

Breeding leader of Iceland, writes about the test here.



If a CA horse is crossed with an AA horse, the expected frequency of AA foals is 50%, while the other 50% is expected to be CA.

Cross eng


Read more

Test your horse

The DNA tests are preformed on a hair sample or a cheek swap depending on which laboratory is used. Order sample kits and follow the easy instructions for sampling. 


 Provtagning all


Order a test



SynchroGait® in Worldfengur

As a horseowner you may choose to register SynchroGait® results in Worldfengur by sending a copy of the test certificate to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

For a test result to be recorded we have to be sure that a sample from the correct horse was submitted for analysis. This is ensured either by ordering the SynchroGait® test together with an identity control on the DNA level or that the sample is taken by a certified identifier that scans the chip of the horse.

Probabilities for different SynchroGait® result for untested horses can be seen in the “virtual mate selection”.


Link to Worldfengur.