Viking Horses hold a special place in the Icelandic culture and are perhaps one of the most reliable companions. These small horses are the center of attention for most people visiting the island, and a part of their itineraries is taking the Viking Horse Riding Tour in Iceland.
So, what makes these beautiful horses stand out other than their furry and attractive look?
Let’s find out!
What’s Special About Viking Horses?
Iceland began as a settlement of Viking explorers, and these explorers brought with them a unique breed of horse to the island, now recognized as the Viking horse.
Viking horses or Icelandic horses are often “pony-sized,” but most fall under the horse domain. These short, yet attractive horses make the perfect companions for long expeditions and are a part of the Icelandic culture since the Vikings first set foot on the island in 860 to 935 AD.
Characterized by its full mane and tail, the breed comes in a variety of coat colors ranging from chestnut to black.
Walk, Trot, Canter, and Tolt?
What’s even better than its adorable features?
The horse-riding experience becomes a lot less bumpy with these majestic horses. Vikings may have been violent and hardcore, but they liked to travel in comfort.
The Viking horse can walk in five different ways, known commonly as gaits, which is remarkable considering the typical breeds of horses only have three or four walking styles. Apart from the four strides displayed by other breeds of horses, the Icelandic displays an additional gait called the tolt.
However, the Icelandic breed registries consider the two gait styles; canter and gallop, a single gait. Thus, making the tolt the fourth gait exclusive to the Viking horses.
The tolt is a walking style that is limited to the Viking horses, which makes them even more unique. For inexperienced riders, this acts as a huge advantage. The horses are sure-footed and very easy to ride.
Exploration at its Best
There’s no better way to explore the rough yet beautiful terrain than on the back of a horse, pacing gently at three miles an hour. Unlike average horse breeds, these horses are even-tempered and make the best partners for journeys across rough terrains.
The Icelandic horses are used for farm work in addition to leisure, showing, and racing. You can always travel by car, but these Viking Horse Riding Tours allow you to breathe in nature and offer a stunning panoramic sight of the landscapes. Several farms across the countryside offer visitors a Viking Horse Riding Tour, allowing you to explore the surroundings like a Viking!
Most of these farms are located near Reykjavik, the capital and largest city in Iceland. This makes them easily accessible, and the tourists also get the option of a pickup from known pickup spots around Reykjavik, to the farm where they can hop onto their horses. The excursion can last up to 4 hours (for a quick visit) to a span of 10 days (for a more detailed and exquisite experience) based on the plan you select.
Where do they take you?
The tour begins at the stable, and from there, this magical journey leads you through lava fields and the dramatic surroundings of the landscape to several places all depending on the time and plan. These tours guarantee a mesmerizing experience of the countryside along with the companionship of a friendly Viking Horse.
There are some prerequisites to follow as the Icelandic people take great pride in their horses. Before the ride begins, the farm-owners or the guides make sure that the setup is adequate, and the rider has followed the basic guidelines. Only after that are the riders allowed to take the tour.
Although different farms follow different procedures, here are some of the standard requirements and a list of the gears you’ll need.
· Fixed riding gear includes riding trousers, jackets, hats, and boots.
· Most farms offer riding equipment to the riders, but if you’re getting your gear, then it must be washed.
· The riding speed must be dry cleaned and disinfected.
· Used leather gear may not be permitted.
· Weight Limit of 110 KG/240 LBS.
Icelandic people take pride in their majestic Icelandic horses and offer the tourists an experience of a lifetime with Viking horse riding tours. The experience of riding a Viking horse across the beautiful countryside is genuinely amazing!
So, if you’re an experienced horse rider and are looking for a beautiful Icelandic experience, the best bet would be a Viking Horse Riding Tour in Iceland. For amateurs as well these tours are advised as the Viking horse is a gentle and even-tempered breed allowing you to enjoy the irregular terrain with a panoramic view.
Ranging from a few hours and lasting up to 10 days, these expeditions are an opportunity for tourists that allow them to experience the Icelandic culture and landscape effortlessly.