Horse or Sheep Round-Ups riding holiday in Iceland - Far and Ride
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Horse or Sheep Round-Ups, Iceland





Horses



Type of horses:

Icelandic

Nature of horses:

Powerful, gentle and honest

Height of horses:

c. 13.2hh

Weight limit:

110kg

Tack type:

Icelandic saddles are similar to English saddles but are straighter at the front and more similar to a dressage saddle. They have well padded seats and you tend to ride quite long in them. Stirrups are often wide to accommodate chunky boots. Some horses will wear cruppers to stop the saddles slipping forwards as they can be quite barrel shaped! Bridles are usually simple snaffles or Icelandic curbs and may not have a noseband.

 

Weather



 

Ride Description

There is nothing more authentic in Iceland than joining one of the annual Round-Up tours and bringing sheep or horses down from their summer pastures to their winter grazing. Imagine thousands of sheep heading down the mountains, appearing as one large white blanket, before being herded into corrals for sorting. The sheep/horses are allowed to graze the highlands during the summer months in vast herds, but during the harsh winters they are gathered back closer to home and each owner becomes responsible for their own small herd.

The ancient tradition of rounding up the livestock is kept alive in Iceland and you will be working with real farmers and will have a real job to do. You may be pushing the herds/flocks or you may be chasing strays, or blocking paths to prevent them from taking a wrong turn. The farmers will tell you where they need you to be, and will involve you in the entire process. There is a camaraderie amongst everyone involved and you will feel part of the whole experience.

Each area has it's own round-up and we offer possibilities in different parts of the country. Each has it's own landscape and sights to discover so you may choose sheep round ups in the south one year, and return the following year to round-up horses in the north!

Each round-up happens only once a year, so book early to avoid disappointment as spaces are strictly limited.

See Programmes.

 

Food & Accommodation

Accommodation varies depending on the itinerary, but you either stay in the farms of your hosts, in comfortable made-up beds with shared bathrooms, or in remote mountain huts with sleeping bags, sharing with shepherds and farmers. Staying with your hosts enables you to truly immerse yourself in the experience and authenticity of the round-ups.

Hot tubs may be available at the farms as well, so you can relax at the end of the day, and hopefully spot the Northern Lights dancing above you.

Icelandic food has many Nordic and European influences and 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.

Breakfast will be at your accommodation each morning and is usually a buffet selection including cold meats/cheeses and bread/toast and fruit.

Lunch will be a picnic in your saddle bag as you are usually out on the hillsides somewhere!

Dinners are home-produced and will be hearty and warming after a day helping the farmers.

 

Activities

You will have little time for anything other than riding as you are expected to immerse yourself in the activities and make yourself useful.

When not riding there may be hot tubs in which to relax and ease those aching muscles.

If you are lucky then the Northern Lights may show themselves through the night.

These rides are not suitable for non-riders.

 

Further Details

Languages: English

Health requirements: You need to be in good physical health

Age limit: None, but bear in mind you could be mounted for many hours in sometimes harsh weather, so is not ideal for children.

Tuition: No

Included: Accommodation as per itinerary, food as per itinerary, riding, transfers

Not included: Flights, travel insurance

 

Travel Information

Flights to Reykjavik are possible with Icelandair, British Airways, Iceland Express and EasyJet. Flights are possible from London Heathrow, London Gatwick, London Luton, Bristol and Birmingham (although some airports are not offering daily flights).

From Reykjavik airport you should take the FlyBus to your Reykjavik hotel (hotel and transfer not included, but we can book the hotel for you). The FlyBus travels between hotels in the centre and the airport regularly throughout the day and tickets can be bought online or at the airport.

You are collected from your Reykjavik hotel on Day one of each itinerary and returned there at the end of your holiday.

Airport: Reykjavik

 

Programmes


Southern Sheep Round-Up



Join the ancient tradition of sheep round-ups in this stunning part of southern Iceland. This itinerary visits two different farms for two round-ups.

Day One: Reykjavik - Fljotshlid - Einhyrningur

You will be collected from Reykjavik between 9.30 and 10am. We recommend arriving the day before and spending a night in Reykjavik - this is not included but we will happily book it for you. You should be dressed ready for riding.

You are transferred directly to Bjarkarland where you meet your hosts and are introduced to the horses and tack. After lunch you set off riding alongside the Markarfljot river before ascending into the mountains to reach Einhyrningur Mountain Cabin. Here you spend the night and get to know the farmers and learn the plan for rounding-up the sheep. There are great views to Eyjafjallajokull glacier and Thormork nature park from here. 

Day Two: Sheep Round-Up

A very early start at c. 6am.  The Mountain King (aka the farmer Kristinn Jonsson from Satadarbakki farm) plans the day with the farmers and you need to be willing to help out, looking for sheep, riding, walking and herding. Please note that this is an authentic sheep round-up and you will be expected to work as a local farmer! The scenery is stunning with high cliffs, glacier views, rivers, caves and gorges. You may even spot some hidden elves along the way... After a long day you return to the mountain hut for a home-cooked meal.

Day Three: Sheep Round-Up 

Another early start for a day full of rounding up sheep. It is a special sight to witness hundreds of sheep walking down the mountains and gathering in huge flocks. End your day at the mountain hut in Fell where you can celebrate your hard work.

Day Four: Sorting Sheep

Today you are involved in helping to sort the sheep. This process lasts until the last sheep has been returned to its owner. You can join in with the singing and celebrating after a successful ride in the mountains, before transferring back to Reykjavik... Again we recommend an extra night in the city as we cannot guarantee the time you will arrive back (we can book this for you if you wish).



Accommodation: Three nights in mountain cabins with other farmers - you will require a sleeping bag.

Accommodation in Reykjavik before/after the riding tour is NOT included.
Minimum group size: 4
Maximum group size: 4
Ability description: Good intermediate and experienced riders in good physical shape. It's useful if you've previously ridden in Iceland and are already familiar with the horses, tack and gaits.
Type of ride: Round-up
Total riding time: 4 days / 3.5 riding days
Departure dates: 2018: 7-10 September
 
Pricing: 2018:

£1236 per person sharing

Includes: three nights accommodation, all meals and drinks, transfers from Reykjavik

Excludes: Flights, transfers from the airport to Reykjavik, travel insurance, accommodation in Reykjavik




Northern Horse Round-Up



Experience the thrill of a traditional horse round-up in the spectacular north of Iceland.

Day One: Reykjavik - Skagafjordur

You will be collected from Reykjavik at around 8 am. We recommend arriving in Reykjavik the day before and are happy to help you with this extra nights accommodation.

You will then be transferred northwards on the #1 Ringroad, stopping at a tack shop along the way, until reaching Dyrfinnustadir farm in Skagafjordur. Here you meet the family and enjoy a typical Icelandic lunch whilst learning about the horses and riding itinerary ahead. After lunch you head outside for your first ride before returning to the farm for dinner. With luck you can view the Northern Lights this evening.

Day Two: Skagafjordur

After breakfast head out on your first full day of riding towards the mountains of Dyrfinnustadir. This area is famous for its horse breeding and names such as Flugumyri, Kolkuos, Vidvik and Svadastadir will sound familiar to many who know Icelandics well. You should have perfect views of the endless mountain range stretching to Skagafjordur fjord.

In the evening you can watch a horse show in the riding hall at Sadastadir in Saudarkrokur. The local horsemen and breeders get together to entertain guests with their horses and music - this is a lively and fun evening in the company of the locals. 

Day Three: Horse Round-Up

An early start today as you ride into Kolbeinsdalur valley with Ingolfur and his family, ho keep many horses in this stunning valley surrounded by mountains. There will be a lot of riders and lots of fun! At around midday the young horses, foals and mares are driven into Laufskalarett corral for sorting. Sorting wild young horses involves some daring moves from the local farmers - they are not as easily to handle as the sheep in the south! Enjoy watching the spectacular performance by the young Icelanders as they find and sort their horses from the excited herd. The people of Skagafjordur love to sing and there is sure to be lots of singing around the corral.

In the evening, after dinner, there is the option of joining the Farmer's Ball where there will be more singing, dancing and drinking! The entrance fee and transfer is payable locally. For those who prefer not to go, the hot tub will be waiting.

Day Four: Return to Reykjavik

After breakfast you transfer back to Reykjavik by bus, arriving around midday. You can either take the FlyBus to the airport for an evening flight home, or we can arrange an extra night in Reykjavik for you (at extra cost).



Accommodation: 3 nights in double/twin rooms with made-up beds, shared facilities and a hot tub.

Accommodation in Reykjavik before and after the ride is NOT included but we are happy to book this for you.
Minimum group size: 4
Maximum group size: 12
Ability description: Good intermediate and experienced riders in good physical shape. There can be long days out in sometimes harsh conditions and some long hours in the saddle.
Type of ride: Round-Up
Total riding time: 4 days / 3 days riding
Departure dates: 2018: 27-30 September
 
Pricing: 2018:

£1472 per person sharing

Includes: 3 nights accommodation, riding, meals on the riding tour, transfers from Reykjavik

Excludes: Flights, travel insurance, transfers from the airport to Reykjavik, accommodation in Reykjavik before/after the ride, entrance and transfers for the Farmers Ball.