Instead of riding in an automobile to explore Iceland's countryside, some tourists ride on horseback. Would you like to find out what makes equestrian riding a great holiday activity in Iceland? Read our guide for more facts & information...
One thing a visitor might notice about Iceland’s landscape is the absence of trees. In some areas of the rocky lava fields, and even the green meadows, one can look as far as their eyes can see, and not a tree nor shrub in sight. Because the landscape is so open and treeless, trails can be nearer to the scenic mountains and plateaus.
The landscape can be diverse; a horseback journey can start in flat grassy meadows, then end up in a barren terrain of lava rocks. The trail can take riders through water bodies; some trails may pass by rivers, waterfalls, and small streams. The horse might tread though flat plains surrounded by picturesque, snow-capped mountains and plateaus. The amazing scenery of the tranquil and uninhabited landscape makes the horse riding experience more enjoyable.
In regions like Snæfellsnes, trails may pass through glaciers. A rider’s path might also pass through dark and barren lava fields, very different from the green, grassy meadows.
Trails in the highlands are mostly journeyed by experienced riders. Flat, open terrain is more suitable for less experienced riders. Meadows also allow for faster trots.
Part of a tourist’s horse-riding holiday in Iceland might be a smooth beach ride on sand made mushy by the tides, near the shores of calm and tranquil sea. Riders can view the picturesque coastal cliffs of the fjords.
Trails might pass through shallow lagoon waters. Riders won’t do any swimming, they’ll be kept above the water by the horses which will ride and splash through the water that can reach their torso.
Tourists may partake in sheep rounding, which is an age-old Icelandic tradition. A sheep round-up includes herding sheep through the countryside with the use of horses that will be ridden. A tourist is accompanied by farmers and shepherds, some of them have a long lineage of this tradition. Many of these farmers have attained experience and knowledge of the trails, and methods of herding. Sheep rounding was embedded into early Icelandic culture. With the country’s open meadows that make it suitable for grazing, it’s not surprising that sheep rounding had a significant role in those days.
The breed widely used for Icelandic sheep rounding is the Icelandic horse. The early Icelandic settlers used this breed hundreds of years ago.
Sheep round-up participation can be a great way for a tourist to learn and experience an Icelandic tradition.
A tourist might get to join in on the farmers’ singing and celebration after a successful day of rounding.
Other Activities on an Iceland Equestrian Holiday
Equestrian holidays can last more than a day. A partaker might spend nights at cabins located in the countryside. Some cabins have geothermal heated pools for partakers to relax in, this can be a comfortable way to end each day.
In many holiday packages horse riding is just another part of the tour. Tourists may end up at other sights like waterfalls, geysers, hot springs and glaciers.