27 May, Monday
26° C

The library of essays of Proakatemia

Summer in Iceland

Kirjoittanut: Janette Heikkinen - tiimistä Crevio.

Esseen tyyppi: Blogiessee / 1 esseepistettä.
Esseen arvioitu lukuaika on 3 minuuttia.

My summer shortly

I spent my summer in Iceland on a farm with 90 horses.  The farm is a small family company which offers long riding tours in the highlands with loose running horses. The summer was very hectic as this is the high season for tourism in Iceland and horse trips for the farm. We focus of long riding tours which are rides from 4 days up to 8 days. In between the long rides we offered also short riding tours which varied from 1, 2 and 3 hours to a full day of riding. It is quite special how much the nature and landscapes can change even in a short ride, not to mention the full day tour where we cross rivers, meadows, historical sites and a lava fields.

The highlands of Iceland are open only in the summer for everyone due to the harsh weather conditions. In Iceland people and cities are located to the shores of the country leaving the center of Iceland uninhabited. Even in the summer there can be snowstorms and very strong winds with gusts being up to 80km/second, the highest measured gust has been 267km/h. I have heard that sometimes people have been blown off of a horse in the strong winds, this has not happened to me yet thankfully. Anyway our longer riding tours are always journeys to different parts of the  highlands.

We travel with a herd of loose running horses, this is a traditional way of travelling with horses in Iceland. In the herd there is a couple of spare horses, some young ones for training and 2-3 horses for every rider. We usually have around 60-70 horses with us. In the staff we have at least two people herding the horses, one in the front and one in the back. The idea for the front rider is to be in front of the horses and to take care of the runaways. The herder in the back is making sure everyone is with, everything is going smoothly and seeing that there will be no runaways. Then we have a guide in the front leading the way and being with the guests. Lastly we have a driver that will take the car safely through the rough terrain.  There is a lot of things that you have to take care of in a riding tour like this. Preparing food, cleaning the mountain huts, taking care of horses, shooing the hooves, taking care of the tack, unpacking and packing the load , not to even mention all of the unexpected things such as terrible weather conditions or a breaking car piece. It is always such a great adventure to be a part of and every day will be different for sure.

Every guest rider rides 2-3 horses and switches between them at breaks. This way the horses get also a rest from the rider and we can cover a bit longer distances. It is also nice to switch between horses every once in a while because every horse is different from the character and the movements. The Icelandic horses have 2 additional gates compared to the regular horse. So they have walk, trot and canter like every horse and then in addition they also have the smoothest gates tölt and pace. This is one reason which makes the Icelandic horses so special.

In the tours we sleep usually in mountain huts with sleeping bag accommodation. The staff will take care of the food and we have a car with a trailer travelling with us where the luggage, food and other supplies are kept. Our meals are extremely good and we use a lot of local food. We have for an example a grilled leg of lamb with vegetables and a mushroom sauce and arctic trout with potatoes, fresh Icelandic salad and rye bread that is made in the geothermal energy of Iceland.

Alright it is quite impossible to write about such a hectic and eventful summer shortly but this is the simple idea of how we do things in the highland trips.  Maybe I will write something more about Iceland in the future.

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