Yes. You read that correctly. I think I may have just found an affordable, International, Horse related vacation! The vacation every horse enthusiast never knew they needed happens to be in Iceland of all places.
I love to travel. In a previous life, I spent my summer months in 11 different countries around the world recruiting international students to come to a ski resort and participate in hospitality work-study programs. The work fed my travel bug and provided for some great life lessons. Lately, the darn thing has started to bite hard, and since I haven't used my passport in nearly two years now, I am itching to go somewhere!
I listen to the Horses in the Morning podcast/radio show nearly every morning on my way to and from work. The hosts are usually pretty fun and I almost always learn something. The Horse Radio Network is always "in-the-know" with nearly everything horse related, no matter the discipline, too.
Today, on my lunch break, I tuned into an episode where they interviewed Lisa Garrett Loewenberg, a member of Old Cowgirls Never Die-We Keep On Riding. She had just returned from her seventh trip to Iceland riding Icelandic horses (calling them ponies might get you murdered), across the vast landscapes of Iceland. Essentially, she shared how you could quite literally hop on the horses of Vikings and work with a herd of as many as 70 horses. She rode 13 different horses on her most recent ride!
In her interview, Lisa talks about everything from Icelandic politics and safety of the country to expected living conditions, hosts while you're, and riding near volcanoes...VOLCANOES!
Take a listen to the radio show (you may have scroll about 20 minutes in) if you're curious: Horses in the Morning Radio - Icelandic Horses Episode.
Of if you wish to skip the episode you can check out the tour she recommends here: Diamond Circle Riding Iceland Facebook. There is also a Riding Iceland website with all the details I discuss below and more of their photos.
The tour I am honestly looking at for some time in 2018 is the Diamond Circle Tour $2490 USD. The tour starts in Reykjavik, or Iceland's capital city. FIY a flight one of my nearest airports is Washington DC is $550, which brings the total trip to just over $3k USD, or $250/month. Sure, that's a little challenging, but not impossible. What do you think? Would you do this ride? Have you ever ridden internationally?
Video Credit: Christel Elaine Fowler - via Lisa Garrett Loewenberg - on the Diamond Circle .. Iceland 2017.. Riding-Iceland facebook group
Itinerary according the tour company's website is as follows:
Day 1: Reykjavík – Saltvík – SaltvíkIn the morning you leave your guesthouse to go to Eagle Air airport for a direct flight to Húsavík. Saltvík is only a 5 min. drive from the airport. At Saltvik, we start our ride after a short introduction to the Icelandic horse and it's special gaits. We ride along the seaside of the arctic ocean north of Iceland enjoying a fantastic view out towards the arctic circle. A relaxing bath in a warm outdoor tub before dinner at Saltvik farm is well deserved after this first day of our journey!
Optional in the afternoon (60 euros which includes transport from/to Saltvík): A whale watching tour starting from the harbour in Húsavík can be offered. Húsavík and the bay of Skjálfandi is known to be one of the best places in the world to find and see some of the gentle giants of the ocean. Humpbacks, Minky Whales, Dolphins and even Blue Whales are some of the creatures you can expect to see!
Day 2: Saltvík - Aðalból
We ride across Hvammsheiði heathlands following excellent soft "tolttrails" and riverbanks of Mýrarhvísl river towards the big Laxá river which we cross at a passing were the river spreads out over 100 m wide riverpath! During the ride we enjoy great view over the green valleys of the north, Aðaldalur and Reykjadalur.
Day 3: Aðalból – Mývatn
Today we ride from the farmlands of Aðaldalur towards the deserted vasteland of Hólasandur before arriving to the nature paradise "lake Mývatn " This is a day of many contrast, from green valley´s to black desert on our way to the lavafields and green birchforests of the Mývatn area. A magnificent view over the Lake Mývatn area that is surrounded by mighty volcanoes awaits us when we come closer to the lake. Before dinner we relax and enjoy a nice hot bath in Jarðböð, an outdoor lagoon with geothermal water overlooking the lake.
Distance: 40 km
Day 4: Mývatn – Þeistareykir
We leave the Myvatn area and head up towards the mountains passing Gæsadalur oasis and riding at the footsteps of the mighty old volcano Gæsafjöll. When we get closer to the geothermal area of Þeistareykir we start noticing huge crack´s and fissures which are remarks of the enourmous powers of nature hidden under the roots of Iceland:) We practicly ride across the boundaries which connect the tactonic plates of north America and europe and the power of creation becomes real when we arrive to the destination of Þeistareykir with bubbling crators and mudpools all around the hut were we spend the night !
Day 5: Þeistareykir – Saltvík farm
The last day of our journey we ride home to Saltvík farm crossing the lavafields of Bóndhólshraun. an then following nice riding trails through the valley Geldingadalur and along Skarðaháls With great view over the bay of Skjálfandi north of Iceland. The last track leads across Reykjaheiði and back home to our farm Saltvík where we celebrate our adventures in the evening with a cheerful farewell party!
Day 6: Saltvík – Reykjavík
After a hearty breakfast, it´s time to fly back to Reykjavík and enjoy a day in the capital. An overnight-stay at a guesthouse in Reykjavík can be arranged if help is needed.
Video Credit: Saltvik Riding Tours
My name is Chelsey.
Generator's Cuevo Gold, or as he's known around this barn, "Jean-Luc Ponycard", was foaled in 2004 from Generator's Hurricane & Cheyenne's Little Bit.