Þingeyri, Dýrafjörður, Westfjords, Iceland.
“Ok, so you grab the front of the saddle, put your left foot in the stirrup, bounce a couple of times and then swing your right leg over the horse.” Nea said. She made it seem so simple. In front of me was a big beautiful dark brown horse with a long wavy tail. She had a better hairdo than me, which was stuffed in a helmet. But most of all, she was tall. Icelandic horses are per definition no big horses, however I’m also not a tall girl. But a few seconds later, I found myself in the saddle. Nea came around to adjust all the buckles and to make sure all people and horses are safe and comfortable. “I wanted this!” I have to remind myself. The girl next to me clearly felt the same way, as our horses randomly started walking in a circle around the fenced patch of grass, as if to show us who is boss now.
A few moments later, we were riding in a line behind Nea and her horse, making our way over the irregular Icelandic landscape of moss, grass and rocks. It took a few minutes, but with Nea’s instructions I starting to get comfortable on my horse. She clearly knew the way. From time to time I just had to keep her from trying to pass Julia’s horse, who was walking in front of her, because the latter was clearly going to slow for her willing. Now that I started getting more confident, I really began to enjoy the experience. There is something almost meditative about riding a horse through the silent Icelandic landscape. It was quite a misty morning, which laid a wet softness over the green and grey landscape. Here and there a small fluorescent green patch of herbaceous plants with tiny purple flowers showed up between the mossy rocks. In front of us arose a tall mountain, around who’s peaks several birds were floating in the mist. The perfect inspirational atmosphere. (Want to read the tale I got out of it? Click here!)
We crossed a few rivers, in which the horses magically knew where to put their feet. “Would you like to go a little faster?” Nea asked while turning around to us in her saddle. “Yes!” Julia, who was riding in front of me, answered for all of us. Nea gave us some instructions in how to hold the reins and how to position our feet and knees, before she started to accelerate. Soon all the horses followed her pace and I was wondering how hard I could bounce up and down before I would fall of.
We finish our ride with a ride on the beach, that’s as memorable as it can get.
END NOTE Do you want to experience a unique horseback riding in the Westfjords of Iceland? Go to http://www.westfjords-horseriding.com/tours/ for all the details and finish your trip with a welcoming cup of coffee in Simbahöllin coffeehouse! Read more about them here!