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Icelandic Horses!

Poor Jose decided not to go on this fantastic adventure but Mrs. Cassette and I were very excited and a little nervous about the prospect of riding these special horses. After saying goodbye to Jose at the hotel, Mrs. Cassette and I boarded a small van to travel to a near by farm.

Once at the farm we were given brief instructions on how to stop, steer and start our horses and then we were on our way. My horse had an Icelandic name that I couldn’t pronounce so our guide told me to call her Flower. Here is a picture of me and Flower.

Our guide told us that we would only walk since many of us were new to riding but after a few minutes of getting adjusted to our horses we were suddenly trotting across the tundra. I was amazed at the smoothness of my horse’s trot. I totally expected to be bounced all over the place. Mrs. Cassette’s horse wanted to be first in line the whole way. She had to work hard to keep him behind the leader. We were told not to take cameras on the trail ride because we might lose them but Mrs. Cassette was able to get few shots without dropping her camera.

On the trail ride our guide told us some very interesting things about the Icelandic horse which is also known as the Nordic horse. He first told us that even though the Icelandic horse looks like a pony it is actually a small horse. A horse has to be 14 hands tall and most Icelandic horses are between 13 and 14 hands.He went on to tell us that the Vikings brought this horse to Iceland over a 1000 years ago because they are small and gentle with great stamina, speed and intelligence. The horses had to be small enough to fit on the Viking boats and  be strong enough to handle the very harsh and cold Icelandic winters. These horses are also very sure footed and can run at high speeds over land that is full of holes, rocks and crevaces without getting hurt.

He went on to tell us that the Icelandic horse is very special because it has a 5th gait called a tolt. A gait is a way a horse moves. Most horses can walk, trot, and gallop. An Icelandic horse can also move at a tölt and flying pace. A tölt is a four beat gait with light flowing movement which is easy and comfortable to ride. This is the gait used by Icelanders before roads were built to travel long distances. The flying gait is a smooth very fast run that allows the horses to travel up to 30 miles per hour.

Here is a link to a video blog of Icelandic horseback riding. Hestakaup.com

More information about the Icelandic horse breed can be found on this website.

This one hour ride was one of my favorite parts of our trip. The sky was clear blue, the weather was cool, and the views were breathtaking. Here is a video of the farm yard at the end of our ride.

Horseback Ride in Iceland

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