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In Iceland, Horses Will Write Your “Out Of Office” Emails For You

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Rachael Funnell

Social Editor and Staff Writer

clockMay 20 2022, 16:11 UTC
horse send emails

It seems Iceland's horses are uniquely talented in more ways than one. Image credit: Espen Helland/SpicyTruffel/Shutterstock.com/IFLScience

If you receive a particularly nonsensical Out Of Office email in the coming days it's possible you've been emailed by a horse. That's all thanks to some visionaries at Visit Iceland who decided to launch an “OutHorse Your Email” service. Yes, they’ve got horses writing humans' OOO emails.

A survey conducted by Visit Iceland found that 55 percent of respondents check their email at least once a day on vacation, with around 60 percent saying their managers expected a response, despite being on holiday. So Iceland came up a with a unique response to help you let your hair down while abroad.

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"How did they teach horses to type?!" I hear you cry. Well, A video from Visit Iceland and Inspired By Iceland reveals all as a team are seen working away on creating a horse-sized QWERTY keyboard with enormous slabs of wood in a workshop.

“What if some keys aren’t aligned?” Asks one team member. “If the horse isn’t comfortable with it, we can always adjust it,” responds another, as if contemplating the ergonomic suitability of a keyboard for horses is just another day in the office.

The huge typing platform is then placed outside with the stunning backdrop of Iceland to complement the tip-tapping of typing horses writing the OOO emails of lazy humans. You can get your own emails written via the Visit Iceland website where Litla Stjarna Star from Hvítárholt, Hrímnir from Hvammi and Hekla from Þorkellshó are waiting to assist you.

Litla Stjarna is speedy but sleepy, Hrímnir is assertive and efficient but – most crucially – has shiny hair, while Hekla is friendly and “trained in corporate buzzwords”. Ideal.

Beyond being the best variety of Out Of Office email to receive, and being a great way to advertise the country, OutHorse Your Email is also a good opportunity to show off Iceland’s unique horses.

“One of the many things that make the Icelandic horse so special is how colorful they are,” reads a Facebook post from Inspired by Iceland. “They are indeed one of the most colorful breeds in the whole world with over 40 colors and 100 variations!”

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The Icelandic horse (Equus ferus caballus) is one of the most purebred in the world, and its historic handling by humans has seen some unique traits emerge among these animals. A 2016 paper concluded that an allele that improved horses’ gaits for riding cropped up in Medieval England some time after 850 CE and was soon detected in Icelandic horses.

This strongly suggests that Norse settlers who had taken the animals from England to Iceland had selected for the animals' movement that made riding them more effortless.

“Considering the high frequency of the ambling allele in early Icelandic horses, we believe that Norse settlers selected for this comfortable mode of horse riding soon after arrival,” the authors said.

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“The absence of the allele in samples from continental Europe (including Scandinavia) at this time implies that ambling horses may have spread from Iceland and maybe also the British Isles across the continent at a later date.”

These riding horses are now being put to an altogether different kind of work as vacationers OutHorse their OOO emails, and you can get yours done here.


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