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?