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My Icelandic riding holiday

(9 Posts)
higgle Thu 14-Jul-11 17:55:13

I posted some months ago about where to go to get some top up experience (and overcome my nerves) before I attempted this holiday of a lifetime I'd wanted to do for many years. I promised to update when I got home, so here goes.

I chose a 7 day holiday here
There was only one problem and that was that the only other people staying were German - 15 from one riding stables in Germany where they all kept their own Icelandic horses ( one chap had 9 of them!) so I was very worried about whether my riding would be good enough, as I'd not ridden an Icelandic horse before. In the end it all worked out OK, the Germans were quite friendly and tolting came fairly easily. I just sat there with a big handfull of mane just in case and began to wonder after a while why I was trotting so fast but not going up and down - that is about it really, though I must say that when my dear little mare, Thrift, decided to canter instead it was more comfortable ( to even think that in Iceland would be a heresy!) We went 35 to 40 km most days, with a shorter first day, and as we were waiting for the tide to be right out to get between the off shore islands didn't start riding until quite late in the day - 6pm on the final day, with dinner at midnight!

The horses were very spirited and on their toes but also brilliantly well behaved, no spooking, messing about or not getting on with each other. They made their way through rivers up to the saddle bags full of slippery stones and knee deep through seaweed perfectly sure footedly and I soon came to understand why the Germans were so enamoured of the breed. The rear guard on the ride, Svenni, was 6'5" and well built - his 13.2 15 year old was as fresh at the end as the start, though we had 5 spare horses along so people could swap if they wanted to.

It was so beautiful on the peninsula - we saw 3 seals, an empty eagles nest and only 3 people in 60km on the middle 2 days. The horses stayed at farms on the route and we went back to base each night - they allowed themselves to be rounded up into a very small pen made only of fragile posts and bits of tape each morning and calmly waited there until we got them out, one at a time, to tack up. The Icelandic people really love their horses - a park ranger told me they still have not entirely forgiven the English for what they did to the King of Norway's horse at the battle of Stamford Bridge in 1066 ( Apparently it was OK to kill the king of Norway as that was one blow, but it took 3 to finish his horse off, which was cruel!!)

The food at the farm was really good - lots of fish and lamb, and some nice veggie stuff for me, and the ride guide took us out in thier minibus ( no extra charge) in the mornings to see the local, very interesting, sights.

So, if anyone else is thinking of a holiday like this I'd highly recommend it, I had good reports of riding in the North East of the country from one of the German ladies too. Thye do tend to ride flat out - including all the way home, with the horses charging up to the stables at great speed - but they do feel very safe to be on, and it is not too far to fall!

Pixel Thu 14-Jul-11 19:17:58

Sounds like a brilliant holiday, so glad you enjoyed it after your earlier fears.smile
(I was really enjoying your post, it was almost like a travel guide. Perhaps you should do it for a living!)

PlanetEarth Thu 14-Jul-11 21:01:23

Sounds fabulous! My idea of a perfect holiday smile.

higgle Fri 15-Jul-11 07:22:23

Thank you Pixel - certainly have not enjoyed being back at work in the care sector this week - my head is still in Iceland.

D0G Fri 15-Jul-11 07:25:12

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MitchiestInge Fri 15-Jul-11 09:27:35

envy envy envy

ManateeEquineOhara Fri 15-Jul-11 21:33:00

This all just sounds ...amazing! Iceland is one of the places I most want to go to in the world, and Icelandic ponies are amazing, I would love to own one smile

BehindLockNumberNine Sat 16-Jul-11 10:08:58

My idea of a perfect holiday too!! I grew up in Holland and Germany (moved between the two countries a few times) and rode at local riding schools. Both the Dutch and German schools had lots of Icelandic Horses - and alongside Norwegian Fjords are the nicest horses I have ever ridden. In fact, if dd and I were ever to share a horse, Icelanding would be top of the list (mind you, they cost a fortune so will never happen,...)

horseymum Mon 18-Jul-11 20:17:22

sounds great - I had a lovely holiday in Iceland pre kids, including a couple of great rides and a visit to the Landsmot (big horse show) where we sat on the grass a few yards away from Princess Anne! She also rode in the parade. I also used to work with them and would love to have one. Oh well, one day!

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