So, you are looking to book a tour in Reykjavík? Awesome! Let’s discuss why signing up for a horseback tour on a native Icelandic horse is the best way to see the mysterious and wild landscape of Iceland.
Unlike the nose-to-trail experiences that riders must endure in many places in the world, horseback riding in Iceland encourages riders to challenge themselves. Views are far better on the back of a horse. And in Iceland, the largest attraction is the nature itself.
Horseback riding in Iceland: the result of pure breeding for more than ten centuries
The extreme conditions of Iceland helped create a strong, clever and adaptable horse. Like other ancient horse breeds, the small stature of the Icelandic horse breed evolved as a result of living on the margins of habitable environments. The Icelandic horses are one of the oldest breeds in the world and is thought to have first arrived on the island with the Vikings between AD 800 to AD 1050.
The Vikings enforced a ban on the import of foreign horses into Iceland. This was done in an attempt to ward off the degeneration of stock brought about by crossbreeding. Horses brought over from mainland Europe resulted in nearly half of the Icelandic horse population dying from disease. So today, no foreign livestock is allowed in the country, and any Icelandic horses that leave the island (such as for an international competition) are never permitted to return. This explains the peculiarity of the Icelandic horses.
These shaggy haired horses have adapted to thrive in Iceland, living in conditions which have helped secure the hardiness and purity of the breed. Fast forward a millennium, and the Icelandic horse is today perhaps one of Europe’s most loved and recognizable equine symbols.
An intelligent, bold and friendly horse to ride
Winters in Iceland can be wet, but not terribly cold. In the old days, horses were turned out all winter. The hay and fodder was reserved for the animals like sheep and cows that brought in an income for the farmers. As a result, the intelligent and experienced Icelandic horse had to learn to paw away the snow and find grass underneath to survive.
The Icelandic horse is not a pony
One of the features of Icelandic horses, which makes horse back riding in Iceland so unique, is their small stature. The Icelandic horse stands on average between 13 and 14 hands. While Icelandic horses are pony-sized, they are never referred to as ponies but as horses. This makes them one of the many exceptions to the pony definition.
These spirited little horses with their smooth gait are able weight carriers. They can carry full sized men over challenging terrain competently. The two-time heavyweight champion of the world, George Foreman is a lifelong lover of Icelandic horses, and imported four horses from Iceland for his private stables.
What better way to experience this enchanted land, than ride it like the Vikings did?
Experiencing the untarnished solitude of wide open Iceland landscapes on horseback is one of the best ways to maximize your time and experience in this beautiful country.
Environmentally responsible travel is growing in popularity in the “the land of ice and fire.” While it’s possible to navigate many parts of the Iceland by foot, the most magnificent, remote areas are best traversed by horse.
A horseback riding in Iceland trip involves softly riding over black volcanic sand, negotiating crackling ice rivers and relishing surreal open scenery and post-apocalyptic terrain that surprises riders at every turn.
Many places in Iceland offer equestrian experiences on Icelandic horses, but not all encounters are alike. If you appreciate fine horses, high quality tack and professional service – you should book your ride with Mr. Iceland. Iceland is a magical place and riding one of the Mr. Iceland’s beautifully trained horses unlock even more of it.
I highly recommend anyone staying in or around Reykjavik to take advantage of this amazing adventure. You won’t regret it!
Join us for horseback riding in Iceland! Click here to book.