One of the best ways to fully immerse yourself in nature is on horseback. This mostly photo essay captures the deep connections we made in Iceland on horses and with the land. We talk about how we choose tour operators here. We headed into Thorsmörk Nature Reserve for three days. Beija was nine when we took this trip. She’d ridden before, but this was the first time that she (and I) had been out for more than an hour or so at a time. The riding was no problem for us if you ignore the very sore backsides. Jay used to be a singing dude ranch wrangler (of course), so the riding was no problem at all for him. Check out our Iceland reading list and our Icelandic eating adventures.
As usual, Beija made a friend as we got ready to saddle up.
We rode with the whole herd. Riders set off and the rest of the herd ran behind. We stopped a couple of times during the day and let the herd catch up, then switched horses. There is nothing like the cool silence of the landscape beyond the clip clip of the horses hooves. It was impossible to do anything except be fully present.
Beija did pretty well saddling her own horse. Our focus on independence has paid off in many ways.
We found a shy Arctic fox. Or maybe she found us.
Most Icelandic horses “tölt.” It is a very smooth gait that is faster than a trot but slower than a canter. It saves your booty (as much as possible) on those long rides.
It is hard to beat the glacial landscape as a backdrop because it is such a concrete demonstration of how ice has shaped the land. Before we left for Iceland we learned about tarns, till, moraines, fracture, and flow. We had fun pointing out the features in person.
Icelandic horses have thick coats to keep them warm. It also makes for some fabulous hairdos.
Kettil, the tour operator, had a very trusting relationship with his horse.
I think this one was named Amma, or “Grandma” in Icelandic.
Dirty, sore, and happy! I am wondering what that black horse over Jay’s shoulder is thinking about.
The next time you are in Iceland horses should be your vehicle!