My First Trek

Wondering what it’s like to go on a horse trek in Iceland?  This is a video I shot during my first trek, the one that really got me hooked on horseback riding.

It was in 2000. I had been taking lessons for all of four months and I was about to go on a 5 day riding trek.  But first we were going to spend a few days at the Landsmot.

I really don’t think the Landsmot is good preparation for trekking if you are an inexperienced rider.  There I was, watching the best riders zipping around the track on the best, most explosive, horses in Iceland.  All my ideas of what actually would hold me on a horse fell, as I knew I soon would, by the wayside.

Each night the herd of 60 horses was turned out in a pasture and then herded into a paddock where the ones who were to be ridden would be selected.  Sometimes it was a little game, as you will see.

The length of each day’s ride is often measured in horses —  a one, two, or three horse day.  The spares would ride with us in a loose, but very orderly, herd.

We would stop for a snack, a change of horses, and some kidding around. Here, we took advantage of a round-up pen that the local farmers use to herd and separate their sheep and horses from the highlands in the fall.

The roads — and not all of them in the country — have horse tracks just off to the side.

The trek was organized by Holly Nelson and Brad Vogel who rode with us.  They had recently formed Horses North, a company that arranges tours and travel in and to Iceland.


I shot this video in 2000, on my my first horse trek anywhere.   Many practices were unfamiliar to me but I respected and accepted them as being authentic “Icelandic”. You will have seen examples in the videos shot that day — the farmer’s seat with a straight leg not contacting the horse, etc.  Looking at the videos of that trip now the most jarring behavior was people riding without helmets.  I certainly do not respect or accept this dangerous practice and feel compelled to post videos with the comment that I have just made.  Riding without helmets was much more common then than it is today.

So, where is this place, anyway?

4 thoughts on “My First Trek

  1. Stan…really enjoy these videos. THANKS! Raven

  2. Thank you for posting these–it looks fantastic. What an experience.

    I would have enjoyed the videos a lot more without the music. It’s much more interesting listening to the natural sounds–the horses, the riders, the wind, etc., and those parts without music were good.

    1. Love to watch these and remember. Such a wonderful trip!

      1. Hi Kris,
        Wonderful to hear from you, Yes, that was a wonderful trip in a magical valley. It was my introduction to riding and filming in Iceland. I have been back to that area many times but I still enjoy revisiting the valley through those particular videos. Hope all is well with you. Regards from Sarah, too!

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