It was live at first sight! A love like this is bound to last a lifetime. You know the feeling… the tingling excitement, the accelerated heart rate. The signs were all there. Who or what am I talking about? Well, it’s the Icelandic horse, of course!
The Icelandic horse is a unique breed of horses that came with the first Icelandic settlers from Norway. Icelandic horses are small in stature with many resembling ponies. Most weigh between 700-800 pounds and stand on average between 50-60 inches tall. Despite their size, these gorgeous horses really know how to make their presence known.
The Icelandic horses are known for their even temperament and over-the-top personalities. They are inquisitive and not afraid to greet curious visitors.
These beautiful creatures live long lives in their native country. Because of their history and their long bloodlines, Icelandic horses that are exported out of the country can never return…Icelandic law.
We met our first Icelandic horse while driving from the airport to the town of Selfoss. As we left the lunar landscape surrounding the airport, fields of green meadows began popping up all around us. The next thing we knew, these beautiful creatures graced the fields in small clusters.
Despite jetlag, we pulled over and made our way towards the fences. To our surprise, all the horses came over to greet us. I guess our smells were interesting. I’m still not sure if they liked our smell or not. Nevertheless, it was magical!
We continued to meet these beautiful creatures as we explored Iceland. Every turn of the road seemed to bring more chance encounters. Yet, meeting these horses over a fence was not enough. We needed more.
We booked a horseback riding trek with Solhestar riding tours based just outside of the town of Selfoss. The booking process was amazingly easy online. We booked the one-hour ride since it had been a while since we ventured on horseback. In hindsight, we should have booked the three-hour tour. WE LOVED IT!
From arrival to departure, the staff at Solhestar treated us extremely well. We were outfitted with gear and treated to hot chocolate while we waited for the remainder of our group to arrive. We then met the horses. Immediately, we could tell these horses were well taken care of. The staff also did a great job of getting to know us and pairing us with our perfect Icelandic horse match.
We started our tour of the Icelandic landscape with one guide in front and one in the rear of our group. When one of our group members fell behind, our guides were there to help.
It is one thing to admire these horses from across a fence. It is another to interact with these fantastic creatures one-on-one. Our horses had such wonderful personalities. They were just as inquisitive about us as we were about them.
Our ride ended too quickly. When we returned to the stables, we learned that these beautiful creatures work for a very short amount of time so they can enjoy some time off in the fields. It’s no wonder the Icelandic horses live such long lives compared to their counterparts in other parts of the world.
Our time in Iceland was too short. If Iceland is on your bucket list as far as travel destinations, make sure you add a visit with the Icelandic Horses as well. You won’t regret it.