IcelandThe “land of ice and fire”
Home of the Vikings and home of their tough little horses, The Icelandic. Despite their modest stature, the Icelandic is a horse rather than a pony and because it’s illegal to import horses into Iceland the breed is disease-free and genetically pure.
The island has a wealth of natural phenomena including hot springs, live volcanos, snowy mountains, glaciers and off-shore some of the most exciting whale watching you could wish for. In the summer months the sun hardly sets and from 15th September to 15th April each year you can see the Northern Lights.
A horse riding holiday in Iceland is special because of the horses as much as the terrain: these tough little horses (14hh to 14:2hh) can carry a large man over the roughest ground. When we ride in groups we often take a herd of spare horses, running free, alongside. For example 10 riders may set off with 30 horses and swap horses a couple of times during the day. Riding within such a large community of horses is pretty special! The Icelandic is also known for the “tölt” which is a pace between a trot and a canter; very smooth the sit to, once you get the hang of it, and an extremely efficient way of covering the ground.
Iceland shares a great deal with its Scandinavian neighbours: the design of just about everything is cutting edge, the architecture follows the philosophy of clean lines blended with function and the national energy policy is to capture power directly from geysers which surround the main population centres; this must be the cleanest source of energy anywhere in the world . The languages of the Scandinavian countries sound similar, but are in fact quite distinct from one another and all of them are challenging to learn. Most of the people in Iceland live close to the coast leaving the middle of the island sparsely populated. Reykjavik, the capital city, is the world’s most northerly capital.
No carbon fuels are consumed which means crystal clear air; good for you, good for your photos and good for everyone else!
Iceland contains the Blue Lagoon which is a hot spring, fed by mineral-rich water from a lava field. It simmers away at a constant 35°C and is the ideal way to round off a ride. It is also a great chance to hear some of the Icelandic sagas: the stories of old are important in modern day Iceland and sitting around a campfire, or soaking in the hot springs is the perfect venue to hear a couple.