On Thursday we drove about 50km to Þingery to go horse riding. Icelandic horses are very special. They have two extra gaits from other horses, including the super smooth tolt. No horses are allowed to enter the country, so the breed has developed perfectly to suit the land since it was brought by the settlers 1000+ years ago.
My mom and I are both experienced riders on a budget, so we didn’t want to pay a ton for a pony ride. West Horses in Þingery is a small horse farm (20- 30 horses as opposes to the 500 or so owned by the big rentals outside Reykjavik) run by a quirky Belgian who, together with his Danish wife, also runs the mountain bike rental in the town and the coffeehouse/ restaurant.
Our ride was more than worth the 9,500ISK. We rode for over two hours with Walter and his German helper, Ally. They led us through streams and up rocky hills along the edge of the fjord. It was a warm, sunny day, and we had plenty of opportunity to try out every gait of the horses (including flying at top speed down the dirt farm road) with Max the border collie following at our heels when he wasn’t off harassing the sheep and lambs that dotted the hillside.
Having learned everything he knows about horses from his best friend, a 78 year old Icelandic horse master, Walter was a great guide and great company. We had fun and learned a lot more about the Icelandic horses and horse culture here. Afterwards we had delicious Belgian waffles, soup, and coffee in the adorable cafe. I also really enjoyed wandering around Þingery, which is a really charming town. [Photos taken with iphone 5c]