Horseback Riding Tours in Iceland: Exploring the Majestic Icelandic Horses
Are you ready for an unforgettable adventure in Iceland? Experience the beauty of the Icelandic landscape while riding the majestic Icelandic horses. These gentle creatures have been a part of Iceland's history for centuries, and horseback riding tours offer a unique opportunity to connect with the country's rich heritage and breathtaking nature. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced rider, there are tours available for all skill levels, allowing you to embark on an exciting journey through moss-covered lava fields, lush valleys, and rugged terrains. In this article, we will delve into the world of horseback riding tours in Iceland, exploring the history of the Icelandic horse, the unique traits of these magnificent creatures, and the best tours available to explore the beauty of Iceland on horseback.
The Icelandic Horse: A Living Legend
The History of the Icelandic Horse
The Icelandic horse, also known as the Viking horse, is a breed that has remained virtually unchanged since the Vikings brought it to Iceland in the 9th century. These horses played a crucial role in the survival of the early settlers, serving as transportation, companions, and even sources of food. The breed's ancestors were chosen for their short and sturdy stature, making them ideal for long journeys and challenging terrains. Over time, selective breeding and the isolation of the breed within Iceland have resulted in the unique characteristics that define the Icelandic horse today.
Unique Traits of the Icelandic Horse
The Icelandic horse is renowned for its five gaits, setting it apart from other horse breeds. In addition to the walk, trot, and canter/gallop, the Icelandic horse possesses two additional gaits: the "tölt" and the "skeið," or "flying pace." The tölt is a smooth, four-beat lateral ambling gait, known for its speed and exceptional riding comfort. It feels like gliding forward on silk. The skeið, on the other hand, is a rhythmic gallop, a two-beat lateral gait where each side of the horse's feet moves simultaneously, creating a sensation of flying. These unique gaits make riding an Icelandic horse an extraordinary experience.
Icelandic Horses and the Icelandic People
The Icelandic horse holds a special place in the hearts of the Icelandic people. These gentle creatures have been an integral part of the country's culture, mythology, and literature for centuries. In Norse mythology, the god Odin had a trusty steed called Sleipnir, an eight-legged horse capable of flying. The horse's importance is also reflected in burial customs, where horses were sometimes buried with their owners as companions on their journey to the afterlife. Even today, the Icelandic horse is deeply intertwined with Icelandic identity, and the nation takes great pride in preserving the breed's purity and unique traits.
Horseback Riding Tours in Iceland: Unleash Your Adventurous Spirit
Exploring Icelandic Nature on Horseback
Embarking on a horseback riding tour in Iceland offers a truly immersive experience in the country's stunning natural landscapes. Picture yourself riding through moss-covered lava fields, galloping across green valleys, and wading through glacial rivers. The combination of the Icelandic horse's surefootedness and its ability to traverse challenging terrains makes it the perfect companion for exploring the country's rugged and untouched beauty. Whether you choose a short day tour or a multi-day adventure, horseback riding tours provide an unparalleled opportunity to connect with nature and create lasting memories.
Choosing the Right Horse Riding Tour
When it comes to horseback riding tours in Iceland, there is a wide range of options to suit every rider's preferences and skill levels. From gentle rides for beginners to more challenging adventures for experienced riders, there is something for everyone. Gray Line Iceland offers a variety of horse riding tours that cater to different interests and time frames. Let's explore some of the most popular options:
1. Classic Golden Circle & Horse Riding Tour
The Classic Golden Circle & Horse Riding Tour combines two amazing experiences in one. Begin your day by riding the Icelandic horse at Laxnes Farm, located just outside Reykjavik. The tour is suitable for all skill levels, from beginners to experts, and provides an idyllic way to explore the Icelandic countryside. After the horseback riding experience, continue on to the Golden Circle tour, visiting iconic attractions like Þingvellir National Park, Gullfoss Waterfall, and the Geysir Geothermal Area. This full-day tour offers a perfect blend of adventure, nature, and cultural exploration.
2. Icelandic Horse Riding Tour
This Icelandic Horse Riding Tour is a great fit for families and horse riding enthusiasts, regardless of their level of skill. It offers the chance to experience riding on the remarkable Icelandic horse, which was first introduced to the country by Viking settlers in the 9th century.
Departing from Laxnes Horse Farm, located on the outskirts of Reykjavik, this tranquil horseback riding excursion leads you on a remarkable journey through twisting routes in the countryside, surrounded by breathtaking landscapes.
Whether you are a novice or a seasoned rider, the skilled horse trainers at Laxnes will provide a suitable horse for your riding excursion.
After your ride, you will be given the opportunity to purchase refreshments at the Laxnes Horse Farm Saloon before returning to Reykjavik.
What to Expect on a Horse Riding Tour
Before embarking on a horseback riding tour, it's essential to know what to expect and how to prepare for the experience. Here are some key points to keep in mind:
Safety and Equipment
Your safety is of utmost importance during a horseback riding tour. The tour operators, such as Gray Line Iceland, prioritize the well-being of their guests and provide all necessary equipment, including helmets and riding gear. It's important to follow the instructions and guidelines given by the tour guides to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.
Riding Experience and Skill Levels
Horseback riding tours in Iceland cater to all levels of riding experience, from beginners to advanced riders. Whether you've never ridden a horse before or you're an experienced equestrian, there is a tour suitable for you. The tour guides and instructors at the horse farms are experienced professionals who will assess your skill level and match you with a horse that suits your abilities.
Dress Code and Weather Conditions
Iceland's weather can be unpredictable, so it's crucial to dress appropriately for the conditions. Layered clothing is recommended, as it allows you to adjust your attire according to the temperature and weather changes. It's also advisable to wear sturdy, closed-toe shoes with a small heel for better grip in the stirrups. Remember to bring waterproof clothing, as rain showers are common in Iceland.
Interaction with Icelandic Horses
During the horseback riding tour, you will have the opportunity to interact with the Icelandic horses. These gentle creatures have a friendly and approachable temperament, making them ideal companions for riders of all ages. However, it's important to remember that horses are sensitive animals, and it's essential to respect their boundaries. Avoid petting the horses without permission and never feed them, as it can be hazardous to their health.
Why Choose Gray Line for Horse Riding Iceland Tours?
Gray Line Iceland is your reliable guide to exploring Iceland's beauty on horseback. With their years of experience and expertise, they offer a wide range of horse riding tours that cater to all preferences and skill levels. Here are some reasons why you should choose Gray Line Iceland for your horseback riding adventure:
Professional and Knowledgeable Guides
Gray Line Iceland's tour guides are experienced professionals who possess extensive knowledge about the Icelandic horse and the country's unique landscapes. They will provide you with interesting facts, stories, and insights throughout the tour, enriching your experience and deepening your appreciation for Icelandic culture and nature.
Well-Maintained and Well-Trained Horses
Gray Line Iceland works with reputable horse farms and ensures that their horses are well-maintained and well-trained. The farms prioritize the health and well-being of their horses, ensuring that they are in optimal condition for the tours. The horses are carefully matched with riders based on their skill levels, ensuring a safe and enjoyable experience for everyone.
Variety of Tours and Itineraries
Gray Line Iceland offers a variety of horseback riding tours, allowing you to choose the one that best suits your interests and time frame. From day tours to multi-day adventures, you can explore different regions of Iceland and experience the country's diverse landscapes. Whether you want to ride alongside lava fields, explore the Golden Circle, or chase the Northern Lights, Gray Line Iceland has a tour for you.
Commitment to Safety and Comfort
Your safety and comfort are of utmost importance to Gray Line Iceland. The tour operators prioritize the well-being of their guests and ensure that all necessary safety measures are in place. The horses are well-trained and accustomed to various terrains, ensuring a smooth and enjoyable ride. The tour guides will provide instructions and guidance throughout the tour, ensuring that you feel confident and secure during your horseback riding adventure.
Booking Your Horse Riding Tour
Ready to embark on an unforgettable horseback riding tour in Iceland? Booking your tour with Gray Line Iceland is quick and easy. Simply visit their website at Grayline.is and explore the range of horse riding tours available. Choose the tour that suits your preferences and schedule, and follow the simple booking process. Gray Line Iceland offers secure online payment options, ensuring a hassle-free experience from start to finish.
Embrace the Adventure of Horseback Riding in Iceland
Embarking on a horseback riding tour in Iceland is an incredible adventure that allows you to connect with nature, explore the country's breathtaking landscapes, and experience the unique qualities of the Icelandic horse. Whether you're a beginner or an experienced rider, there is a tour that will suit your skill level and preferences. Gray Line Iceland offers a variety of horse riding tours, providing professional guides, well-maintained horses, and a commitment to safety and comfort. So, embrace the adventure, saddle up, and prepare to create lasting memories as you ride through moss-covered lava fields, gallop across green valleys, and immerse yourself in the beauty of Iceland's nature on horseback. Book your horse riding tour with Gray Line Iceland today and embark on an unforgettable journey through the captivating landscapes of Iceland.