Iceland Mag

10 Reykjavik

Iceland Mag

Animals

A wonderful horseride through the lava fields of Reykjanes

By Maggie Pavlatova

  • Friendly travel companions The Icelandic horse is renowned for its calm and friendlyness. Photo/Íshestar

  • Horses rolling: After a long ride all they want is a nice scratch on the back. Photo/Maggie

  • Horses rolling: Nothing like a good scratch and some well deserved rest. Photo/Maggie

  • Horses rolling: Rolling with friends is always fun! Photo/Maggie

If you are a horse lover then your visit to Reykjavik would be incomplete without an afternoon spent on an Icelandic horse. Luckily there are a number of horse rentals and companies offering horse riding tours in the nature parks and wilderness areas outside Reykjavík.

Read more: Reykjavík is the greenest of 50 major cities worldwide, thanks to large Nature Parks

I visited, Ishestar which is based a short 15 minute drive from Reykjavik. The choice was primarily based on the location: While in the greater Reykjavík area Íshestar is located on the edge of Reykjanes Geopark and the volcanic wastelands of the peninsula. It's the ideal place to go explore Icelandic nature, and get to know the Icelandic horse.

Horse Head.jpg

Calm as a cucumber My companion for the day Photo/Maggie

What could be more wonderful than to discover the nature that Iceland has to offer from a horseback! Those who attend these tours have passion for horses therefore you will find yourself surrounded by horse lovers like yourself. 

The Icelandic horse
The Icelandic horse is a unique animal. It has a special gait called 'Tölt' which is unique to Icelandic horses. I was excited to get to try it during the ride: It's an ambling gate, a smooth, yet fast very fast pace which feels somehow ideal for Icelandic conditions.These sturdy creatures have been bred pure since the Viking age and have adapted to Icelandic conditions.

But what struck me most was the extremely friendliness of the horses. The friendliness of the horses will make you fall in love, making it a ride to remember. They refuse to ride alone and travel in a single file, which is what makes them ideal for horse riding tours! 

Read more: Why are Icelandic horses not called ponies? All you need to know about the Icelandic horse

The landscape was also amazing. Our tour guide kept telling us about the different locations, their history and geology. I was too busy taking in the experience to remember all the place names, not that I would have been able to remember the Icelandic words! 

Horse Back .jpg

Heading out The calm, friendly nature of the Icelandic horse makes it ideal for first-time riders. Photo/Maggie

The atmosphere during the ride is almost magical, knowing how close you are to active volcanoes, riding through lava fields which flowed in the countless "fires" (that's what fissure eruptions are called in Icelandic) of recent centuries. As you ride you can feel yourself become one with Iceland's nature while relaxing in the saddle. 

A well earned rest
At the end of the tour as the day comes to an end and you unsaddle the horse, get ready to experience their playful side: Each horse will find it's own spot within the arena and start to roll around in the grave! I hadn't seen horses engage in this funny behavior before. It was really entertaining to watch, and it's guaranteed to lift the mood of even the grumpiest person to watch how happy and relaxed the horses are.

For more information
There is a number of different tours offered by Íshestar, some starting as early at 10:00am while others leave in the afternoon. The tours are suitable to both absolute beginners (and the Icelandic horse is the perfect horse for anyone who's not used to horses) and experienced riders. You can find more information at Íshestar.is.

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