Dream Horseback Riding Trip

Happy Thanksgiving to our American friends and happy almost weekend to the rest of the world…..

A few busy months have passed, but finally I found some time to write about an incredible experience I was part of…

Horseback riding has been a passion of mine since I was a teenager. I have been riding for years and have done 3 unforgettable horseback riding trips in the past.

However after moving to New York, I started to sail and between sailing, running, skydiving, yoga and enjoying life, family and friends I was not able to continue riding.

So when my wonderful friend Jayne with whom I rode in Malaysia for years and went to all my previous horseback riding trips asked me to go to a private horseback riding trip to Iceland with 9 amazing woman from all over the world – I was nervous, but interested! She explained that the Icelandic horses are the most kind spirited, easiest to ride if one is out of practice. So I agreed to join…..


More about Icelandic horses:
The Icelandic horse is a breed of horse developed in Iceland. Although the horses are small, at times pony-sized, most registries for the Icelandic refer to it as a horse. Icelandic horses are long-lived and hardy.



On August 4th excited I boarded my flight to Iceland. In no time I landed in Reykavik.

To get my riding legs back I went with two amazing ladies called Dina and Christi to a couple of day rides. There I learned that the Icelandic horses Tölt and how beautiful Iceland is.

On the second day ride we had a great guide who thought as to Tölt and I felt like a million dollar when I first made the horse Tölt. What a smooth feeling.

More about the Tölt:

The Tölt is a natural, fluid gait of the Icelandic Horse, during which at least one foot always touches the ground. Foals often tölt in pastures at an early age. The tölt is an extraordinarily smooth four-beat gait, which allows the rider an almost bounce-free ride, even at 32 kmh (20 mph).

We also spend some time in Reykjavik before our start. Small, but cute city.

On August 7th we travelled to the horse farm called hekluhestar were we spent the first night in dormroom style. I thought my days sharing rooms were over, but the adventure was too good to be put off with sharing accomodation with other amazing women and sometimes the guides too.

On August 8th our tour started – the plan was 170 miles in 8 days on the back of icelandic horses. The night before the owner of the farm asked us about our preferernces and experience. Lucky I had 2 half days of solid riding behind me so I could speak confindently about my wishes and experience.

I fell in love with my first horse at first glance. A gentile soul who loved to canter and also didn’t mind to stop. The feeling to be riding with lose horses was incredible. Sometimes I was surounded by horses which all travelled with us during the whole trip.

In the evening we discusssed the experiences and could tell the wishes for our second horse. The plan was that everybody got 3 horses. Some days we would ride two different ones, some days even 3. Also we could chose to be in the front of the herd or in the back and help to make sure the lose horses stay with us.
I wished for my second horse to be something similar as my first one but maybe a bit faster.

On August 9th I got to meet my second horse which loved to Tölt at any speed, when I sat correctly….but hardly cantered no matter how fast we were going. First I had to work very hard to make him Tölt (quite different than my experience on the day ride) but when I concentrate and was not too tired it worked well.

To ride through the amazing landscapes of Iceland is a dream come true. We hardly came across people and we were riding through rivers, up and down hills, through vulcanic areas, empty streets and green fields.

After a half day on my second horse, I was able to switch the horse to my gentile, easy going canter loving horses and I could recuperate.

Every evening a fiesta awaited us. The food was incredible delcious and always freshly made.

August 10th
We started to ride through breath taking higher mountain area

August 11th
I met my love of my life (don’t worry it was a horse :-). My beautiful white shining horse., but it wasn’t love at first side. I asked if my third horse could be a horse which I could ride in the back to have the experience to help to move the herd along. The first few hours was pretty hellish as it just had a wild trott and I bounced like a punch bag around…. In the evening I asked for advise.

My first horse was a gentile soul and basically did what I wanted even when I was only thinking about what I wanted. The second horse I had to be a bit firmer with and it was harder work and the third I really had to tell in the beginning what my wishes were. I like normally to go with the flow and follow the horse wishes and I was not the type of rider to be in charge. Therefore I felt incredible proud that I achieved that my white shining armor started to follow my wishes and he was fast. Fast like the wind!

Resting between rides

Evening activies – the duck song

August 12th
Was the coldest day! Did I mention that we had a forecast of 10 days of rain before I arrived and that we only had like 5 drops on this day? We were incredible lucky. We had most times the shower and toilette in the same building as our accommodations, but the few times we didn’t and it was cold to go out the house…

I wouldn’t be in a hurry to move to Iceland as the temperatures are even in summer well below my comfort level.

August 13th
My riding-boots fell apart….. lucky my fellow riders were very resourceful ladies and they managed to fix them
This day we also experienced the ride through the dessert which was an incredible beautiful fast experience.

Agusut 14th
This was the day with the shortest ride. We were only riding for a couple of hours and did a hike in the afternoon.

August 15th
I finished my ride with my new love. The horses were excited to go home and loved to canter for hours. I was just in awe and enjoyed every second as it would be my last….

I will be back this experience changed my view about riding for life!

P.S.

I also enjoyed almost every morning my yoga excersises one day when we were riding less hours the rest of the group joined me

Our guide was amazing – besides being incredible with horses he also could play any song we wished for and we liked to dance to…..


It’s not goodbye but until next time….





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Time Flies – 3 month back

It has been 3 month now that we are back in Jersey City and it seems like a long time. Reason might be that we have done so much. We were so happy to meet our friends again. Right after we got back we got our vaccination shot, so we were ready to socialize again:

Jolanda getting her 2nd vaccination shot

Also we did two obstacle races here in Jersey City with our good friend Roland, the three of us managed to get through the entire course together. It was a fun event and we got some got workout in as well.

We started our sailing season, with Jolanda sailing on Tuesdays and Wednesdays with the Manhattan Yacht Club and I’m sailing with our friend Rich and also going out with friend and his little one.

Also I’m back skydiving, Jolanda decided to retire from skydiving after 750 jumps in 20 years, as she is not jumping that much any more and sailing is taking priority in her free time. We agreed that the amount of jumping she is doing is not really safe as she is not able to stay current. So now i can go on a weekend day to Skydive at the Ranch and Jolanda can have her “Jolanda” day and relax 🙂

Also in June there was Jolanda’s birthday, on her birthday she wanted to go sailing (what else) but we organized a surprise party afterwards and the next day I organized a trip to Maine, Jolanda always wanted to go. She was very nervous as she did not know where we are going. Only when we left the airport in Bangor she realized were she was. The birthday was also our 20 years we know each other, so I planned a romantic getaway. During the vacation we meet up with our friends Loony and Shake, who we meet on our trip in Savannah, at Islesboro.

Here are some impressions from Maine:

On 4th of July we went out with our boat to see the firework over New York City. Some of our friends came along and we enjoyed delicious food, drinks and a relaxing time on the boat. In the morning the current was making our boat rolling so much that we decided to get back as soon as possible to get some more sleep in. So we found out why not more boats are anchoring in the cove with the beautiful view over Manhattan.

For the last 2 years we are trying to run the Napa Valley Half Marathon, unfortunately this year again it was cancelled. We still decided to go with our friends Alies and Roel to do some running and a bit more wine tasting. The first day Alies and Roel rented tandem bicycles (that’s what the Dutch do) as our main choice of transportation. On the next day Jolanda organized a convertible limousine to bring us from vineyard to vineyard.

From North California we flew to the southern part of the Golden State, where Jolanda had some business meetings and also was catching up with old friends we have not seen for a while. Her friend Monique organized a wood painting and Ana a hike at the Laguna hills, afterwards we had a nice picknick on the beach. Despite Jolanda getting sick for a few days (initially it was suspected to be appendicitis, but luckily the emergency hospital did not find anything and it was nothing serious) we had a great time. We meet up with our friend Bob and his wife and I also got some flying in by booking some aerobatic lessons at the local flight school.

Last but not least we have a new member of our Hudson Point Marina community, Marco was born about a month ago and his proud parents invited us along on his first sail. Marco slept most of the time but we all enjoyed the day on the water. Congratulation Dragana and Kjartan.

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Journey Back North – Ahoy Home – May 8th

After exploring Atlantic City for two days it was time for the last leg home. It was good fun to dingy over to the aquarium at Atlantic City and then use the scooters to explore the “town”. 

On Saturday the forecast looked reasonable with 10 kts of wind and seas at 2 feet with periods of 6 sec. We expected it to be a little bit wavy but were we wrong!


We started very early in the morning with a nice sunrise and calm seas. We estimated about 9.5 hrs for the journey. After about 2 hours the wind and waves picked up and smooth sailing was finished for the day. We got hit broadside the entire time. Wind about 20 kts, waves 4-6 feet and all from the starboard side. I had to change the course frequently so we were facing the waves in a better angle. Also every hour I had to go down to the engine compartment to manage the diesel levels (somehow the equalization line between the two tanks got blocked). Without equalizing the diesel levels, one tank might run dry and the engines would stop. Restarting a Diesel engine which has air in the supply lines is a challenge to say the least.


So there we were, trying to keep the boat upright and holding on. Downstairs cabinet doors flipped open and the inside was scattered over the floor. It was a mess, Luna our poor cat right in the middle. A glass bottle fall on our induction stove and broke the top surface, Jolanda’s favorite fondue set was disintegrating. On top it started to rain.

When we passed the Manasquan Inlet, we saw blue skies over Manhattan this gave us strength to continue. Once we got close to the Verrazano Bride, we had our smiles back and we were just worried that it might be too windy to get back into our slip. After 11.5 hours of torture, we approached our marina, people greeted us from far and we also saw a couple of people coming to our dock to help us with the lines. We were concerned how we could dock as we didn’t have any lines set up which we normally do when leaving for a few days. Thanks to the wonderful help from our Dock family returning to our slip was easy. We were happy we made it.

Jolanda continues the story: Our neighbors could tell we were a bit horrified and invited us for a coffee, sherry and some appetizers. We started to defrost outside and inside as this beautiful welcome warmed our hearts. We shared our stories we experienced the last 6 months apart.

I didn’t feel like going back to our boat and face the mess. We spontaneous decided to book a hotel room for the night. What an awesome heavenly idea! A hotel room with unlimited hot water, big clean bed and downstairs a nice bar for dinner. The hotel we stayed is called Canopy, which is in the Arts District in Jersey City and part of the Hilton Group. The staff is super friendly and we felt treaded like royalties. We will definitely be back. 

On the way to the hotel – the hotel was in walking distance – we bumped already into friends and neighbors. It felt incredible to see all these beautiful faces. I was first sad to leave the South as I fell in love with. However by today I must say I didn’t realize how much I love where we live! The neighbors, the friends, the sailing club next door, the Jersey City atmosphere with a lot of Restaurants, stores, markets etc.

I also didn’t realize how much I missed sailing with my wonderful boat 10 sailing team at Manhattan Yacht Club. Practice for the race season started this week and we went out twice already and we also joined a running club (Jersey City Runners) and the Calisthenics training with MRCalisthenics at Tompkins Square Park. On Saturday we signed up for our first City Challenge obstacle race in Jersey City.

One thing which suffered a bit when we were away was to do our beloved sports and we feel a bit rusty. We decided not to drink until Memorial Weekend and do a lot of sports. If any around us likes to join to do something sportive, please hit us up!

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Journey Back North – Bye bye Annapolis

Hallo Chesapeake City

Hallo Cape May

Hallo Atlantic City

As you might notice from this blog after leaving Annapolis we were on a mission….

Chesapeake City
The great news we had very peaceful, easy legs.
Hardly any wind, space at the free Dock in Chesapeake City Maryland. Nice other boater from Canada helping us to get into the small space left on the free dock.
Dinner at our favored Tiki Bar, wonderful sleep and another smooth ride to Cape May

Our way to canal near Cape May

Cape May
We anchored at our favored spot besides the Coast Guard Station. In the evening we took the Dingy to find a place to do our Mr Calistenic work out at the beach. One thing about Cape May is there are not many places for Dingy’s to dock. After cruising around for a bit and seeing again wonderful dolphins we found a Marina with a Restaurant with a lot of free space – perfect for a work out. I tried to find a Dockmaster but nobody was around so we just set ourselves up to do our workout after not having the opportunity to do so for sometime….. we felt very rusty….


After a great workout we made our way back, happily cruising along and admiring the sky which showed a storm was coming. Suddenly the engine of the Dingy made some strange noise and we realized we were in very, very, very shallow water 😯 and killed the engine… Marcus tried and tried and tried but the engine wouldn’t start….we were going against current and wind and I tried to help with rowing but neither of us made any progress. So Marcus got into the water and pushed us until the water got deeper again. Slowly we made progress towards our boat, but the wind was increasing and you could really see that the storm was not far away. On top we didn’t take the radio with us…ALWAYS bring your radio – lesson learned! We had boats passing us but either they didn’t understand my waving or were scared to help those strange looking people… By now I had looked up the BoatUS number just in case… The forecast said the bad weather will hit us in about 15 minutes – we saw a boat again and I waved like crazy thinking it was kind of our last chance and by a miracle they came and agreed to tow us to our boat which was by tow 5 minutes away…we never would have made it without this amazing samariters – so grateful!!!!!

The crazy thing the next day by another miracle the engined of the Dingy started right up….

The next evening we wanted to explore a new Restaurant for us called the Lobster House – our wonderful boat neighbors from New Jersey Pam, Don and Pat drove recently 5 hours to eat there so we thought we better check it out while we are so close and it didn’t disappoint. It had a Dingy Dock and easy ride from our boat. Another lesson we learned even if we go with the Dingy now we open the Navionics app or stay in the channel to make sure we don’t drive aground again….


Atlantic City
The next evening we had perfect condition to make our first open ocean leg to Atlantic City
Another beautiful easy journey
We anchored in front of the Golden Nugget Casino again. By now I drive the boat when we anchor and Marcus handles the anchor. Love it this way around much more. Hope one day I feel confident enough to dock the boat.


This time we had time to explore Atlantic City
Interesting place – saw a lot of people looking sick – drugs? Some run down houses…some very new looking casinos, some closed looking casinos, a lot of fishing, beautiful boardwalk, no cute coffee shops, some tacky looking restaurants on the casino mile. At the end we had dinner at a place called Back Bay Ale House. Cute place with good reviews far away from the casinos and near the free Dingy Dock. I had one of my best garlic shrimp with crab dish and because it was so cold the hot soup tasted extra wonderful.

Our next and last post from our Journey Back North we will post later this week…. after we recovered a bit more….it was the trip from hell….and just glad we made it….stay tuned

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Journey back North – Annapolis

After a great time with our friends in Solomons Island we went to Annapolis. This was only a 5 hour easy ride. Jolanda wanted to do some pampering time and I was asked to participate in a Regatta with the team I raced with last year in October. When we arrived a lot of sailing boats were already out in the bay practicing. If you like sailing this is the place to go.

To go racing, this time I did not need to travel all the way to Annapolis and back as we were already there in the mooring field right across from the Severn Sailing Club. We arrived on Wednesday and on Thursday the sailing team arrived with the boat on a trailer. I went over to help to set up the boat.

Also Jolanda got a chance to sail with a local team who was looking for extra crew for Thursday practicing and Friday racing. After setting up the boat with my team we were looking forward to a long sailing weekend. Unfortunately Friday was so windy that the first day got cancelled. Therefor Jolanda and I explored Annapolis with a brief shopping tour and some coffee. In the evening we had a nice BBQ on our boat with my sailing team. Saturday and Sunday was all sailing, we did 8 races finishing 4th overall, which we were very happy with. I’m very grateful that I could be part of the team and like to thank Josep (the skipper and owner of the boat) to ask me to join. He is an amazing sailor, teacher and friend. Thanks again for the great memories. See if you can spot me on the pictures, I was wearing a red jacket and dark pants (I borrowed the pictures from the official sailing site.

It was so much fun and even that legs suffered a bit, I would go straight away again.

On Monday morning we left Annapolis to continue our journey north.

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