Icelandic Horse Riding
I don’t know much about horses, but rumour has it that Icelandic horses are the best in the world. The 132 to 142 cm
ponies horses are extremely handsome with spirited temperaments and large personalities. (The large personalities definitely compensate for their size).
Said to be the oldest breed of horses in the world, the Icelandic horses were first brought to the island between 874-930. For 9 centuries, no other horses have been brought to Iceland, resulting in only one breed of horse existing in Iceland: the Icelandic horse, the purest in the world. Many diseases, from which horses on the European continent or in the United States suffer, are unknown in Iceland. As a result Icelandic law prevents horses from being imported into the country and exported animals are not allowed to return.
When I first visited Iceland in late November, my mother and I were determined to ‘see it all’. Including the views from atop an Icelandic horse. Now, neither of us are horse riders, but we were reassured that these horses were much smoother to ride than any other breed in the world, due to their impressive extra ‘gait’ (some horse-riding terminology used to reassure nervous tourists).
Although we were comforted about the horses, no one comforted us about the weather. In Iceland, when it rains – It pours. And it poured. Don’t get me wrong, the lava fields were magnificent, the horses were gorgeous and the staff at Íslenski Hesturinn were phenomenal, but as my boots filled with water, my enthusiasm waned. It’s a good thing that
pony horse was so damn cute.
Due to the weather conditions, and a lack of tourist bravery, we were the only two on the tour. With two lovely staff escorting us through the dramatic Icelandic landscape, we had the opportunity to feel the serenity of the harsh lava fields amidst a typical Icelandic storm (just like the vikings!).
Íslenski Hesturinn were an incredible company to experience the beautiful Icelandic horses with. Inga was an amazing guide and despite the weather conditions we had an amazing afternoon – that was followed up with purchasing some Icelandic woollen socks to warm our frozen feet and a heart-warming meal at Glo to warm our frozen souls.
Icelandic people love their horses. But whatever you do – Do not call them ponies.