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.
We started to ride through breath taking higher mountain area
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
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.
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.
This was the day with the shortest ride. We were only riding for a couple of hours and did a hike in the afternoon.
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!
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….