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.

 

Travel Advice



Please ensure you read the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) advice before you travel.
 

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. If you're lucky the Northern Lights will also dance across the skies.

Day One: Reykjavik - Solheimar - Hreppholahnjukar - Gloruhlid

You will be collected from Reykjavik at 9am. 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 Gloruhlid farm in the beautiful Uppsveitir area where you meet your hosts and are introduced to the horses and tack. Set out riding on lovely country lanes through farm land until crossing the river Stora-Laxa to reach Solheimar and it's heritage museum. Stop for lunch at the museum and then continue riding through a private valley with a wide canyon leading to the basalt columns of Hreppholar. Head back to the farm and then check into your hotel. After dinner you can relax in the hot tub in the garden. Please note that your riding guide does not stay in the hotel with you and so you are not hosted in the evenings.

Riding: c. 4-5 hours

Day Two: Hjalparfoss - Viking farm replica - Sheep drive

Transfer to an interesting Viking farm replica which is also one of the locations in the famous Game of Thrones series. Here you meet your horses and ride to the beautiful basalt column framed waterfall of Hjalparfoss before meeting up with a huge herd of c. 4-5,000 sheep coming down from the mountains. Follow the sheep and help the herders to drive animals on countryside paths beneath Mt Hekla and along the glacial river Pjorsa. Leave the horses and sheep in fields and transfer back to your hotel for dinner.

Riding: c. 6-8 hours

Day Three: Sheep Round-Up Skaftholtsrettir

An early start for a day full of rounding up sheep. It is a special sight to ride into the early autumn morning with the mist lifting from the river. Upon arriving with the sheep at the sorting paddocks you will help the farmers to find their own sheep and split them into private pens. Once the sorting is finished you will go with one of the farmers and held them to drive their sheep to their own farm. Here you stop for coffee and cake and leave your horses before heading back to your hotel.

Riding: c. 6-8 hours

Day Four: Pjorsarbakkar - Reykjarettir - Reykjavik

After breakfast you return to your horses and ride along the remote banks of River Pjorsa to an old competition ground and another sheep paddock where more sheep need sorting. After lunch you are transferred back to Reykjavik with the aim of arriving at c. 4pm... Again we recommend an extra night in the city and we can book this for you if you wish - however, you can depart on an evening flight if you prefer.



Accommodation: Three nights Hotel Hekla (3 star) with beautiful views of Mt Hekla and a lovely hot tub in the garden to relax after a long day in the saddle. The hotel offers a choice of local dishes and a cozy bar with fireplace.

Accommodation in Reykjavik before/after the riding tour is NOT included.
Minimum group size: 2
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: 2019: 11-14 September
 
Pricing: 2019:

£2501 per person sharing
£468 single supplement

Includes: three nights accommodation, breakfast and lunch, transfers from Reykjavik

Excludes: Flights, transfers from the airport to Reykjavik, travel insurance, accommodation in Reykjavik, evening meals and drinks




Northern Horse Round-Up



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

Day One: Keflavik

On arrival at the airport you will be transferred to your guesthouse where you meet the rest of the group. The evening is free for you to stroll through the town - there is a restaurant next door if you do not wish to venture far. 

Day Two: Keflavik - Gauksmyri - Daeli Lodge

After breakfast you are transferred north by bus to meet the horses and rest of the team. Your first ride alows you to get acquainted with the horses and their extra gait. Ride on remote tracks along the river Midfjardara to the fjord at Midfjodur and then beneath the mountains Vatnsnesfjall to Gauksmyri farm where you leave the horses. Transfer to Daeli Lodge where you spend the next four nights. After a hearty dinner you can try out the hot tub and watch for the Northern Lights.

Day Three: Gauksmyri - Daeli

Transfer back to the horses after breakfast for a long and exciting ride into the mountains. Ride through the charming countryside of Vestur-Hop and into the beautiful Vididalur Valley, all the way to Daeli Lodge. Dinner and another chance to sample the hot tub.

Day Four: Daeli - Kolugil - Vididalstunguheidi - Daeli

After breakfast ride onto the highland plateau Vididalstunguheidi where you meet the mare, foals and young horses which have spent their summer up here. Accompany them as they come down from their pastures in the highlands and into the farming areas. You will be joined by many locals and farmers who all help to push the horses down from the mountains. Stop at Kolugil farm for refreshments and join the farmers in their singing and celebration of this authentic event. Return to you Daeli Lodge to overnight.

Day Five: Vididalstungurett - Daeli - Bjargsholl

Today you will be helping to sort all the horses. Firstly, they are driven in small groups into the large paddock where they are sorted by their owners - they don't always cooperate! In the afternoon, ride back to Bjargsholl farm and turn your horses out into their meadows for a well deserved rest. Transfer back to Daeli for a final dinner together. You may also be able to join the farmer's traditional dance Stodrettardansleikur at the community hall (no formal dress required).

Day Six: Return to Reykjavik

Depart from the north after breakfast and return to Reykjavik, arriving at c. 2pm. You will be dropped at BSI bus station where you can easily catch a flybus to the airport or a taxi to a city hotel.



Accommodation: 5 nights in double/twin rooms with private facilities. One night is a hotel and the other nights are at the farm.

Accommodation in Reykjavik before and after the ride is NOT included but we are happy to book this for you.
Minimum group size: 2
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: 2019: 1-6 October
 
Pricing: 2019:

Price to be confirmed

Includes: 5 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.