It's been over two months since I got back from my last visit to Iceland and I've still barely posted a darned thing about it. It's true that time constraints, work issues and lack of internet connections have held me up a great deal, but it's also been quite difficult to know where to start!
Though I guess in the end it just made sense to start with one of my favourite bits! We didn't go to The Blue Lagoon on this trip, nor did we do the Golden Circle tour (were we even IN Iceland?!) so one of the things we really wanted to do was meet some of the beautiful Icelandic Horses.
I've never ridden a horse before. I probably rode a donkey on the beach when I was little, and once about twenty years ago I sat on a friends horse for about half a minute before panicking and insisting on getting straight off. So I wasn't entirely sure how well this was going to go....
...but this was top of KCs Iceland list so I had to be brave! Plus I'd heard that Icelandic horses are super sweet and small, perfect for beginners!
We booked through Eldestar, who organised a hotel pick-up in the morning before we were driven about 30 minutes out of Reykjavik to their farm, where we were provided with all the equipment needed and paired with our horse for the day. The horses were just indescribably lovely (though mine was obviously these best one!)
You know when you watch films and folk just hop up onto a massive horse like it's nothing? Yeah, my attempt at mounting my lil horse buddy did not go so gracefully.... I don't think I'm a natural horsewoman, but still, we got there in the end!
We had about an hour and a half to two hours of riding time through the meadows around the farm. It's a beatiful area and our early start meant we got to see the sky transfrom through an array of colours, from pink to grey to blue, throughout the ride, offering a very colorful backgrop to the surrounding mountains and fields. It was just stunning, and I'd have taken more pictures but my hands were staying firmly on the reigns as instructed while we were moving!
Despite my cowardly inclinations, I did love it... mainly the nice calm, slow bits of the ride. When the horses were encouraged to speed up a wee bit (so we could experience the 'tölt', the special gait unique to Icelandic horses), thats when I started to fear for my life. That's just me being a massive wimp though, as KC had the time of his life! It was his first time too, though you wouldn't have known it, as he spend most of the ride out in front (of I guess around 25 riders?) while I was happy to trail along at the back. When we did catch up (at a mid-way break and when we got back to the farm) he was as giddy as a kid at Christmas, and has been looking up local horse riding options since!
Eldestar have a number of packages available (from the beginner half-day sessions like ours, to week-long riding extravaganzas for those who know what they are doing!), and we'd booked the 'heritage tour', not only becasue it sounded like a great place to start, but becasue it came with tea and cake! So after our ride, when we'd shed the riding clothes and said goodbye to our lovely horses, it was time to head to the Eldestar hotel for refreshments.
We didn't get a good look around the hotel, as we were totally distracted by cake and tea (horse riding was lovely but 'twas cold!) but I'd love to spend a night or two here when we go back to Iceland! By then, KC will probably be an expert horse handler and I'll.... well, I'll be happy to go for a nice little ride then have some tea and cake!