When I was a kid growing up one of my favorite past time with my dad was going horseback riding on the weekend. My dad grew up taking care of a few horses and the moment my brother and I were old enough, we started riding them with him. Later on in life we even owned 2 beautiful horses named Paris and Madonna lol. Terrible horse naming but I’ll blame it on my little sister for loving Paris Hilton and Madonna at the time. Later on, when I met my best friend Morgan, who’s a southern charm gal it also became one of our favorite past time and normally would go horseback riding on her birthday in Santa Barbara and Nashville.
When I visited Iceland for the first time and saw just how magically beautiful the Icelandic horses were, I knew I had to go meet them. However, my time was short in Iceland and I already had a jammed packed itinerary and didn’t get a chance to do it. So since then, I have been daydreaming of the day that I’ll get to visit Iceland again and finally get to ride them AND it finally happened!
Here is a video of my experience!
Also check out:
About Icelandic Horses
The Icelandic horses are seriously the most beautiful horses I have ever laid my eyes on. They might resemble a pony to some, just don’t say that to an Icelandic, they will be offended.
These beautiful creatures are strong, thick and amazingly friendly. They are a breed that was developed in Iceland in 1907 and are long-lived, hardy and considered a cold-blood horse breed. They have an extra coat to help them survive the negative degrees conditions in Iceland. They weight 730-840lb and stand at 52-56 inches tall.
My Experience of Horseback Riding in Iceland
On my trip to Iceland, I had another jammed packed schedule, I can easily say that I overdid myself this time around. This trip to Iceland has definitely been to hardest and most draining trip I have ever taken in my entire life but I knew I had to do this. So the moment I landed in Iceland, I found the horseback riding tour that best fit me. Many of the tours were traveling to places I have already seen in the past like the Golden Circle. So I decided to help support a local farm and went with Ishestar.
I was sooo excited to finally make my dream come true. What I didn’t take into consideration was just HOW COLD it was going to be. I was definitely not dressed for the part, I also forgot my gloves back at my hotel which made riding a horse in negative degrees a whole lot worse.
After getting horses according to riding experience we headed out in a group of probably 15-20 people with 2-3 instructors. The entire excursion was about 4hrs with 1.5-2hrs of actual riding time. After riding the horses to an open field during the sunrise, the instructors split the groups into 2 — for beginners and intermediates/professionals, I went with the second group since I’ve been riding horses my entire life and that was probably a bad idea on my behalf. What I didn’t take into consideration was that we were about to go running with our horses in negative degrees. When we first started I thought to myself, ok I can do this! About 2mins into it, I was like “ummmm…I can’t do this! Ugh I wish we could stop”. I was literally shaking at this point from the coldness. They did offer us, in the beginning, a warm jumpsuit but nooo, I wanted to look cute in photos haha. I definitely paid the price on that one. Lesson well learned!
The ride was beautiful, I’m completely obsessed with Iceland’s landscape. I think it’s the most beautiful landscape in the entire world, however, it’s clearly not as enjoyable when you’re freezing your ass off. Literally, teeth crunching, can’t feel your fingers, face, legs and feet. About 45mins into the ride, I couldn’t wait to go back already! It was way too cold to ride a horse or do anything in the cold. It was between -4’C to -12’C!
The entire time I was telling myself that SOON I will have hot chocolate and all of my problems will go away. That soon ended up being an hour later and during that hour it ended up snowing on us, which was both magical and well, freezing!
Overall, I had an OK time. If the weather would have been warmer or I would have been dressed better, it would have turned out completely different. Would I recommend it? YES! But please be smarter than me, although I still kinda think that even with the jumpsuit it would have still been insanely freezing to do.
The horses themselves were amazing and sweet, they made it all worth it…and the hot chocolate!
At least now I can go on with life knowing that I have a check mark on my bucket list item of 3 years.
Check out some of these horseback riding tours in Iceland:
- Icelandic Horseback Riding Tour from Reykjavik
- Viking Horse-Riding Tour and Blue Lagoon Including Admission Fee
- 1.5-Hour Icelandic Horse and Stables Experience in Reykjavik
- Golden Circle & Horseback Riding
- Whale Watching and Horse Riding from Akureyri
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