Adam and I had the incredible opportunity to ride Icelandic horses on our second day in Iceland. Adam had never been on a horse before, so he was understandably a little nervous at first, but he figured it out quickly and we had so much fun.
Icelandic horses have two extra gaits which make them unique among other breeds. One of their gaits is said to be so smooth, you can drink a pint of beer as you ride and not spill a single drop. We learned that if an Icelandic horse is taken out of the country, it isn't allowed to return due to their immune systems, so if a disease were to enter the country, the breed would be in grave danger.
Since there are no dangerous animals in Iceland, the horses have no natural predators which probably explains why they're all so well behaved and aren't easily spooked like other horses tend to be. While they're small in size (standing roughly 52 to 56 inches high), the people of Iceland never refer to them as ponies. Icelandic horses are beautiful, fascinating creatures and I really enjoyed spending time with them.
Even though the weather wasn't great and we were soaked and freezing practically the entire time, it was still the highlight of our trip for me. We rode through a forest where I had to duck a few times to avoid hitting tree branches, and I held on tight as we went up and over steep hills in the rain. We galloped alongside steaming hot springs in a beautiful valley that smelled of fresh sulfur (mmm, rotten eggs) and near the end of our journey, we crossed a flowing creek full of slippery rocks and rushing water that the horses all sauntered through with grace and ease.
After we said goodbye to our sweet horses, we headed back to Reykjavik and found the perfect lunch spot where we devoured warm noodles and blabbed on to each other about how amazing our day had been. I spent the remainder of the afternoon fantasizing about owning a horse or maybe moving to Iceland someday just to work on a ranch like the one at Eldhestar. Wouldn't that be lovely?
Ah, yes... A girl can dream, can't she? :)