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Icelandic Horse Round Up

Overview

When you participate in the round ups you are experiencing the real thing. You will be one of the group who will herd and sort the animals. It means spending long hours in the saddle in possibly very cold weather. Autumn in Iceland is colourful and with changeable weather. Sunshine one minute and c…

Highlights

  • Ride with hundreds of free-running horses and foals
  • Help farmers to sort the horses and return them home
  • Experience the stark beauty of northern Iceland
  • Enjoy challenging riding across varied terrain
  • Enjoy the autumn colours of the landscapes

Essential Facts

  • 1 itinerary available
  • Max 20 riders per group
  • Average of 4 - 5 hours riding per day
  • Weight limit: 110 kg / 242 lbs / 17 stone 3 lbs

Description

When you participate in the round ups you are experiencing the real thing. You will be one of the group who will herd and sort the animals. It means spending long hours in the saddle in possibly very cold weather. Autumn in Iceland is colourful and with changeable weather. Sunshine one minute and changing to rain and possibly sleet within a short space of time. You will need to dress well and warmly possibly with a pocket full of chocolate!

You have to imagine hundreds of free and spirited horses cantering down from their highland summer pastures to be reclaimed by their owners. Mares and their foals, young horses and geldings traverse the rough terrain, not yet quite willing to surrender their freedom before the onset of winter. The ancient tradition of rounding up horses is only kept alive in the North of Iceland.

Horses & Riding

Tack

The tack used for Icelandic horses is slightly different than the tack ordinarily used for other breeds.The saddle is similar to a dressage saddle and has a relatively flat seat. Saddles come with plain or quilted seats. On longer rides a crupper helps keeping the saddle in place. Riding style used on Icelandic horses is close to English riding style, but stirrups are worn long.

Bits used are mostly simple snaffles. Bridles have a detachable noseband and clip on reins.

Horses

Icelandic

Riding

There is 1 itinerary:

  • Northern Horse Round Up is a based ride

Ages

12 years and over

Health

Fit and Healthy

Weight

110 kg / 242 lbs / 17 stone 3 lbs

Food & Accommodation

Food

During the ride full board is provided. The usual menu consists of a large breakfast and traditional Icelandic meals (fish or lamb). Vegetarian meals are available if requested when booking. All riders make their own packed lunch from the breakfast table.

Alcoholic beverages are not included in the tour price and are hard to get in the highlands. They can be bought at a reasonable price in the Duty-Free Store at Keflavik Airport upon arrival.

Accommodation

You spend your first few nights at Saltvik Farm before transferring to a guesthouse for the Round-Up.

Saltvik Guesthouse is located 5km from Husavik and offers accommodation with views of the surrounding mountains and Skjalfandi Bay. This newly established guesthouse has 7 double rooms with private bathrooms and one small apartment that sleeps 4-5 people, ideal for families or groups of friends.

Saltvik farmhouse contains 6 rooms for 2-4 people in each room and shared bathrooms - there is also a nice living room and a great view towards the sea. You will need to bring your own sleeping bag.

Itineraries

Northern Horse Round Up Basic accommodation.

Other Activities

This ride is not suitable for non-riders.

Travel

Guests should fly to Reykjavik for these tours. Transfers from and to Reykjavik city bus terminals are included, but you will need to leave the city early in the morning (usually between 07:30 - 08:30 am). For this reason, we recommend that guests plan to arrive in Iceland at least the night before their trail in order to meet the transfer to the farm in the north of the country.

International flights to Iceland will land at Keflavik international airport (roughly 45 minutes outside of Reykjavik city). There is a regular bus service between the airport and the city centre.

Testimonials

Jessica H., Oct. 8, 2021

Incredible! It was nothing like I expected it to be but was so much better. Definitely one for more experienced riders, it’s a real get on and keep up sort of ride. So much fun! Couldn’t have asked for better horses. I rode four on this trip and they were all well mannered, responsive and fun! I had a couple who were super speedy but I never felt out of control. Incredibly sure footed which really fills you with confidence.


Itinerary & Pricing

Day 1 - Reykjavík - Saltvik

Riding: 2 - 3 hours

You will be met in the morning for either a domestic flight or road transfer north. You will need to already be in Iceland and accommodation before the ride is not included.

On arrival at the farm in Saltvik you will meet your horses and guides and saddle up for your first ride. Follow the coastline of the Arctic sea on the north of Iceland with amazing views across the horizon towards the Arctic circle and the island of Grimsey which lies 30 miles north. Ride back to the farm to relax in the hot tubs before dinner.

Day 2 - Saltvik - Sandur

Riding: 5 - 6 hours

Follow nice and easy riding trails along the coastline towards Sandur farm which is located on the banks of the Skjalfandafljot river. Cross sandy lava fields and green riverbanks on your way and enjoy rich birdlife and scenery towards the bay of Skalfandi. Leave the horses at Sandur farm and transfer back to Salktvik for another warming hot tub.

Day 3 - Sandur - Adalbol

Riding: 4 - 6 hours

Ride up to the hillsides of Hvammsheidi following historic trails used by farmers and travellers through the centuries. These are fabulous soft tracks which are perfect for endless tolting. Cross the river Laxa where the river runs through the lava fields of Adaldalshraun. Continue along Vatnshlid near the beautiful lake Vestmannsvatn and enjoy beautiful views over the valley of Adaldalur. End the ride at the farm Adalbol where you leave the horses before transferring back to Saltvik Farm again. On the way you can visit the new established Geoseas geothermal bathing lagoon for relaxing in hot seawater.

Day 4 - Adalbol - Saltvik

Riding: 4 - 6 hours

Ride into the birch forest in Vatnshlid and enjoy the wonderful views. Follow the Laxa river with canyons of Laxa alongside you and then ride excellent trails along the river Myrarhvisl all the way back to Saltvik Farm. Later in the afternoon you transfer by minibus towards the area where the Round Ups will take place. Settle into your guesthouse and share stories about your adventures over the last few days.

Day 5 - Round-Up Day

Riding: 4 - 6 hours

Meet the locals, saddle up and ride with them towards the horses. Approximately 500 young horses will come running down from the mountains and you can enjoy the atmosphere as the Icelanders come together, sing and enjoy life as well as separating the horses so each farmer can drive his own herd home to his farm in the afternoon.

Day 6 - Saltvik - Reykjavik

Riding: No riding.

After breakfast you transfer by road back to Reykjavik, aiming to arrive at around 1-2pm.

Accommodation

Farmhouse/guesthouse accommodation, featuring shared rooms with 2-4 beds in each. You will need to bring your sleeping bag.

Experience Experienced

For this trip you need to be a competent rider who rides regularly and is capable of handling horses in an open country. You must not be afraid of riding up and downhill at speed and over rough terrain.

Minimum group size 1
Maximum group size 20
Departure windows

Sept. 12, 2023 - Sept. 17, 2023

Pricing

2023
Adult, Sharing
£1875 $2305 €2190
2023
Child (12-15 years), sharing
£1405 $1730 €1640
Included 5 nights accommodation in shared rooms, all meals from lunch on arrival day until breakfast on departure day, soft drinks with meals, 5 days of riding, return transfers from Reykjavik bus terminal.
Not included Flights, travel insurance, alcoholic drinks, tips & other personal expenses.
Note: All programmes and itineraries are weather dependent; in the face of adverse, or unexpected, weather conditions reasonable attempts will be made to provide equivalent riding. All programmes are accurate at the time of writing. However, the team may adapt or modify details, whilst aiming to provide a similar experience.