From the back of an Icelandic horse: my experience in Iceland

  (photo credit: UNSPLASH)
(photo credit: UNSPLASH)

Visiting Iceland can be an exhilarating experience – but it’s even more exciting when you get to travel around the country on the back of an Icelandic horse. With the help of my local tour guide, Guðmundur Sigurjónsson, I got to do just that, and here’s my experience -

What it was like

I had always wanted to go to Iceland and when I finally had the chance to go, I decided that I wanted to experience it from the back of an Icelandic horse. It was one of the best decisions I ever made. The horse riding was so peaceful and calming, yet at the same time exhilarating because of the stunning scenery. I will never forget my time in Iceland and how special it was to experience it from the back of an Icelandic horse.

Why should you do it

There are few experiences as breathtaking as galloping across an Icelandic plain on the back of a sure-footed horse. The wind in your hair, the sun on your face, and the magnificent landscape all around you combine to create a truly unforgettable experience.

How do you get there

I took a flight from Reykjavik to Akureyri, and then another from Akureyri to Egilsstaðir. From Egilsstaðir, I took a bus to Seyðisfjörður. The whole trip took about 5 hours.

What should you know

There are some things you should know before getting on one of these horses. First, they are very large. The ones I rode were just over 18 hands high (5’6). Second, they have unique gaits that can be difficult for beginners to control. Third, if you plan on riding them bareback (no saddle), they require extra knowledge as they move differently than saddled horses do.

What kind of horse did I ride

I rode a beautiful Icelandic horse during my stay in Iceland. The horse was very well-behaved and gentle, making it a great ride for beginners like me. I was able to explore the stunning landscapes of Iceland while on horseback, which was an amazing experience.

What were my expectations

I expected to see a lot of snow, to be cold, and to have to dress warmly. I also expected the horses to be big and strong, and for the ride to be a bit bumpy. Overall, I expected to have a great time and see some amazing scenery.

Things to consider when riding

When riding an Icelandic horse, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, they are smaller than most horses, so you will be sitting closer to the ground. Second, they have a different gait than other horses, so it may take some time to get used to it. Third, they are very sure-footed, so you can feel confident even on uneven terrain. Fourth, they have a lot of stamina, so you can ride for hours without getting tired.

Common mistakes riders make

Many first-time riders make the mistake of thinking that riding an Icelandic horse is just like riding any other horse. However, there are some key differences that riders need to be aware of before getting on an Icelandic horse. For one, Icelandic horses are much smaller than other breeds, so riders need to be prepared for a more intimate experience.

Final thoughts and advice

If you're thinking about going to Iceland, I would highly recommend it. It's a beautiful country with so much to see and do. And one of the best ways to experience it is from the back of an Icelandic horse. These creatures are incredibly strong and sure-footed, and they'll take you places you never thought possible. Just be sure to dress warmly.

This article was written in cooperation with Craig Lebrau