Monday, November 7, 2016

Saddle Up an Icelandic Horse

Iceland was never connected to any continent and is formed on it's own because of volcanic activity. So you don't find much of Iceland's own wild life. The domesticated farm animals were brought in Iceland in 9th century. After that over the years the because of harsh climatic conditions and with selective breeding Icelandic Horse breed is developed, now most pure in the world. So much that Icelandic law prevents horses from being imported into the country and exported animals are not allowed to return.
Riding Icelandic Horse
Icelandic horses are short and strong, even if they look like ponies they are fully grown horses. These Icelandic horses displays total 5 gaits, two gaits in addition to the typical walk, trot, and canter/gallop commonly displayed by other breeds. Apart from leisure and racing these horses are still used in traditional sheep round up in Iceland by farmers.
Beautiful Horses of Hraunhestar
Being a horse lover how can I not go for horse riding with these special breed? Hraunhestar located in lava town Hafnarfjörður invited me for a personalized horse riding tour. After filling up form and checking my level of knowledge in horse riding I was offered to wear gears. By that time a beautiful white horse named Bumblebee was ready for me! My guide Julie gave me few instructions like Icelandic horse are sensitive so in any situation talk in low voice, plus how should I hold rains in two hands, no kicking etc. I have done horse riding in India, Dubai and also on vacation in Turkey but I definitely felt different on Icelandic. I felt more comfortable on it and of course we need to treat it differently than other breeds. 
Watch slow motion video for the natural landscape.

We started our ride on route through beautiful landscape on lava filed and mountains on the backdrop. The Autumn color was adding more beauty to already picturesque scene!  The horses are short so you can really observe the shrubs, flowers and moss on ground from Icelandic horses. This part of Iceland is covered with 7,000-year-old rolling lava From the Búrfell eruption. I can even see some lava field holes. It was stormy that day. So when we were riding it was windy, chilled and even raining but I enjoyed the ride thoroughly, rather I wanted to get out of comfort zone and do something like this close to Nature! Julie was sharing with me her knowledge about Icelandic horses, these horses are not vaccinated as there aren't much diseases here in Iceland. But only when they are taken outside of Iceland for races etc they need to be vaccinated.

Riding Bumble bee
We then tolt in between and it was so much fun! Rain and wind hitting on my face while riding a horse who is enjoying her tolt, I felt like a free bird!

Special Horse Shoe for Riding on Ice in winter
During our one hour ride we passed few groups of tourist riding horses but this kind of personalized horse riding tour is much better. Bumble bee was a very independent horse she even decided to tolt on her own without any instruction from me. Julie asked me to stop her but secretly I really liked her character! Bumblebee was sharp too, when we were near the stable on the way back, she even tried to take a shorter route by turning at an intersection! Showing her character every now and then, that's my kind of horse! I was totally delighted by my Icelandic horse riding experience on lava field covered with fully bloomed vegetation with Hraunhestar! I even said to Julie that she has one the best job!

After the riding in chilly weather it's must to have hot chocolate in stable talking about horses! Their manager Guðný arranged everything so well including my two way transportation. I highly recommend this friendly, young and fresh horse riding tour operator in Iceland! This is a not to be missed experience in Iceland. Check their website here for booking and gallery of their beautiful Icelandic horses.

No comments: