The first tour I booked was Horseback Riding at Laxnes Horse Farm. I had always imagined how awesome it would be to finally ride a proper Icelandic Pony in its country of origin. Even though it was around 5 degrees Celsius during the day, the ride was a blast and I can only recommend it!
Laxnes offers to pick you up from anywhere in Reykjavik (such as most tour operators do). There were pretty on time when they stopped by my accommodation and I was still in the middle of biting into a bagel. The older, friendly guy who drove us around actually offered me coffee and pastries at Laxnes since he had seen I was still half-starving, which was pretty nice of him. After picking up a few other people who were eager to ride a horse, we drove to the farm that is literally in the middle of the beautiful countryside and lots of volcano fields. Here we got to pick out our riding gear and I was happy for that since horses do smell and my jeans needed the orange cover desperately. The orange jacket and pants were excellent rain gear, since it was drizzling most of the time during this adventure and my overall stay in Iceland.
After stuffing a helmet on my head, we were led to the horses. The instructors carefully picked a horse according to everyone’s level of expertise. I ended up with Lippletoe – a 20-year-old brown-maned beauty! There actually weren’t that many white Icelandic Ponies, but the one that was on our tour was a bit stormy, so I am happy I went with Lippletoe. Without further ado, our group of 16 riders was released into the wild. It took some time to adjust to the saddle and horse but overall I enjoyed the 2 ½ hours of riding time immensely. We first stepped across the gorgeous volcanic fields. Halfway through, we had to cross a river, which we did via means of a bridge. The farm dog was following us the entire time and happy to be out and about like that. Halfway through, we stopped to take in the beautiful landscape. On our way back, the horses broke out in a gallop, which must have been a bit odd for people who were absolute beginners.
The instructors were not too concerned about any accidents happening, so they must have trusted the instincts of their horses a hundred percent. Thinking back to cautious Germany, you probably would have needed 10 riding lessons until released on a wild trail. But Iceland has a different attitude towards these things and I actually appreciated it more. While we had crossed the river on a bridge on our way to, we crossed the same river on our way back. But instead of going above it, we went through it. The water reached up to the Lippletoe’s stomach and I had to pull my feet up in order to not get wet. The poor dog had to find a way to cross, too, and eventually swam the distance. Overall, the nature and attitude of time and place was such a great experience and so very different from the strict regulations you find in other countries.
The horsefarm people were pretty nice and welcoming, and it was refreshing to see how their attitude was concerning our overall safety. Our group consisted of one more German girl and the rest was pretty much Swedish or Norwegian. I’d say we all had a great time riding along and sorting out the smaller quirks of our companions. Lippletoe always wanted to get to the front at one point so she just pushed her way past others, which was a bit scary at first but then simply funny. I guess the older the horse, the more stubborn it becomes. She was a lovely ride to be on and nuzzled my sleeve every time I got off and turned my back on her.
Supposedly children can also be part of the horse tour, so if you are planning on doing a family trip, this might be a good place to start.
Since a few people did a combo tour to the Golden Circle, we stayed at the Horse Farm for lunch (which consisted of stew and bread) and waited for our bus to take us on the next adventure.