Overview

Ride Icelandic horses during the day and watch the sky for the Northern Lights at night. Although summer is the usual riding season in Iceland, winter is the main training season so you can join Icelanders on their regular winter rides.

Riding, hiking and relaxing in the geothermal water underneath the Icelandic winter sky, ablaze with dazzling stars and the dancing Aurora Borealis.  Bonfires, traditional stories and great Icelandic food, combined with visits to the Secret Lagoon and a Northern Lights hunt in the saddle in the dark, are fascinating features of this tour!

On the way to Reykjavik, we stop and visit Gullfoss and the Geysir Hot Spring Area.

Although we cannot guarantee the Northern Lights, they are definitely an unforgettable experience if they appear! Wrap up warm with a cup of hot cocoa and watch the lights dance across the skies.

On some of these trails, non-riders are welcomed and separate itineraries are possible for them. So both riders and non-riders can experience the magical Northern Lights on the same holiday. On other itineraries, only experienced riders can be accommodated due to the terrain and speed of the riding.

Key Facts

  • Set departures October – March
  • Minimum 2 / Maximum 8 riders
  • 3 Days / 2 nights (2 days riding)
  • 2-3 hours riding per day
  • Intermediate riders & non-riders welcome
  • Weight limit – 100 kilos

Riding Level and Horses

Riders must be at ease at all 4 paces across varied, uneven terrain and be in good physical condition. You must be secure in the saddle and be comfortable riding for long hours.

Much of the riding is at a tölt, which can be fast so you need to be a confident rider able to adapt to different riding styles.

If you know how to ride a horse using English riding style, you should have no problems riding an Icelandic horse. Western-style riders should not experience any difficulties either, adjusting to the Icelandic way of riding. The guides will take some time at the beginning of each tour to explain the correct way to saddle the horse, mount it and how to ride the different gaits. They will carefully explain how and when to ride “tölt”, the special gait of the Icelandic horse.

The height of horses from 13hh – 14hh

The tack used for Icelandic horses is slightly different than the tack ordinarily used for other breeds.

The saddle is built close to a dressage saddle and has a relatively flat seat. Saddles come with plain or quilted seats. On longer rides a crupper helps keep the saddle in place. Riding style used on Icelandic horses is close to English riding style, but stirrups are worn long.

Bits used are mostly simple snaffles and the Bridles have a detachable noseband with clip on reins.

The Icelandic Horse breed is best known for its four-beat smooth gait, the “tölt”, which is very comfortable for the rider, especially on a longer tour.  Riding an Icelandic horse in its native habitat land is an authentic riding experience.

Helmets are strongly recommended and a packing list will be provided when you book the ride. Saddlebags, wet weather gear, and water are provided

Itinerary

Combine searching for the Northern Lights with some winter riding in Iceland – this tour is ideal for mixed groups with non-riders among them.

Day One:  Thursday – Reykjavík – Secret Lagoon – Kálfhóll farm
You will be collected from the BSI Bus Terminal in Reykjavik at 6pm (or slightly earlier from your hotel if you’ve been staying in the city). If arriving today then you must arrive before 4:30pm and take the FlyBus shuttle from the airport to the BSI bus terminal (tickets can be bought at the airport).

The tour starts with a refreshing bath at the Secret Lagoon (entrance fee and towel included, please bring your own bathing suit). After one hour in the mineral-rich water, the transfer continues to Kálfhóll farm where we meet the farmers for a “baðstofukvöld” with Icelandic traditional dinner, Icelandic songs, stories from the countryside and some “specialty treats” (dried fish, hákarl, brennivín). Late at night look out for the Northern Lights. Transfer and overnight at Fosshótel Hekla .

Day Two:  Friday Riding in the morning – Þjórárdalur – Northern lights hunt from horseback!
After breakfast, we drive to the farm Kálfhóll. After a short instruction, we go for a ride along the banks of the mighty glacial river Þjórsá. (Alternative for non-riders: Individual walk along the river).

After a good and warming Icelandic soup we take the bus for a trip to Þjórsárdalur valley where we visit the spectacular waterfall Hjálp and the Open Air Museums farm Þjóðveldisbær (Þjóðveldisbær not included in all departures).  A short hike in the Skriðudalurforest takes us to the hidden grave of a Mountain King and his beloved horse Blesi. At the farm, we feast on a typical Icelandic Buffet. While warming hands and souls at a bonfire outside we look for the Aurora Borealis – the Northern Lights!

As soon as we spot them we take to the saddles and go for a short ride in the dark beneath the Northern Lights! (1 hour). Alternative for Non-riders: Northern Lights spotting from the HotPot at Kálfhóll. After the ride: Return to Fosshótel Hekla for the night.

 Day Three:  Saturday-   Kálfhóll farm – Reykjavik
After breakfast, transfer to Kálfhóll farm. We go for another 2-3 hours ride through the lovely countryside (Alternative for Non-riders: Visit to the small Countryside Samansafnið Museum at Sólheimar) before we have lunch at the farm. In the afternoon on the way back to Reykjavik, we stop and visit Gullfoss and the Geysir Hot Spring Area.

There is no accommodation or meal included in Reykjavik tonight, but we can assist you with this if you require.

When not riding the main activity will be centered around hunting for the Northern Lights! If you are lucky, they will be in the sky above, but if cloud cover prevents this, then you may jump into a vehicle and head out to seek clear skies.

Note:  Please give us a call as there are other itineraries available

The operator reserves the right to alter the itinerary if necessary

Accommodation and Food

You stay in a 3 star hotel Fosshotel Hekla hotel or hotel of similar standard.

All rooms twin/double share with private shower and toilet. This tour is equally suited for riders and non-riders since there is always the option of taking part in non-riding activities.

You will visit the farms on the rides where your hosts also live and you will experience their hospitality and home cooked meals.

Icelandic food includes plenty of fresh fish as well as local lamb. Vegetarians and special diets can be accommodated with advance notice, but vegetables in Iceland are either grown in greenhouses or imported as the climate is too harsh for many to grow outside.

You will eat with your hosts and the meals are designed to be warming, wholesome and hearty.

Dates and Prices:

2018
Dates: 18-20 October, 25-27 October, 1-3 November.

The dates for 2019 will be released soon.

Cost: €1495.00 Please contact us for the Australian dollar conversion

Single supplement on application.  Please advise when booking.

Rates are based on the Euro and subject to currency fluctuation, so please contact us for the most up to date pricing for your riding holiday.

Includes

  • 3 Star hotel accommodation with private facilities in twin or double share
  • All meals and bus transfers from Reykjavik to farm
  • 2 days of riding on horseback, including horses and riding gear
  • Rainwear, water bottle, saddle bag and riding helmet provided
  • Certified riding guides

 Not included

  • International flights
  • Travel insurance (compulsory)
  • Other accommodation and meals in Reykjavik
  • Additional incidentals, some sightseeing not mentioned and tips
  • Flybus Transfers to and from the airport
  • Alcoholic beverages are not included in the tour price. They can be bought at a reasonable price in the duty free store at Keflavik Airport upon arrival
  • Single room supplement on application

Other Information

Location
Southern Iceland

Weather
Weather website: http://www.holiday-weather.com/

Activities
Northern lights, Secret Lagoon, Gullfoss falls, Geysir and

Languages spoken
English and Icelandic

Closest Airport
Keflavik Airport

Note: Dress warm is a must.  The Northern lights are not guaranteed.

Terms and conditions and terms apply to this riding holiday

Please contact Snaffle Travel for further information, booking terms and conditions to info@snaffletravel.com.au

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