Icelandic Horse Round Up riding holiday in Iceland - Far and Ride
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Icelandic Horse Round Up, Iceland





Horses



Type of horses:

Icelandic

Nature of horses:

Forward going, healthy and strong

Height of horses:

12-14 hh

Weight limit:

110 kg

Tack type:

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.

 

Travel Advice



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

Ride Description

Haukur Suska lives in Hvammur Farm in Vatnsdalur in North Iceland. Haukur operates several tours and offers accommodation for the ajölur tour as well. Haukur has four children and many many horses. His wonderful family help him operate the tour and take care of the guests. Haukur is always cheerful and he loves spending time with the guests and you may find he will take out his guitar to start playing and singing. Haukur offers two dates for horse round ups in September and they are both very exciting!

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 ride and possible 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.

When this task is complete the locals celebrate with a special round-up dance or “réttardansleikur”. You will, of course, be more than welcome to join in the fun. The round-up continues the next day when the horses get sorted at the corral and you will help in returning some of them to their home meadows.

See Programmes.

 

Food & Accommodation

Hvammur farm is situated in the beautiful Vatnsdalur Valley which is the setting of many of the old Sagas that have been told of through the ages. It has the famous salmon fishing river Vatnsdalsá running down the middle. The farmhouse was renovated 4 years ago and has a hot tub in the garden with a view over the river.

There are six rooms with 2-4 beds in each room, altogether offering accommodation to a maximum of nineteen. The beds are made up and ready to offer you a good night's sleep. There is an outdoor jacuzzi. Two showers and two toilets. There is GSM connection and wifi

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.

 

Activities

Not suitable

 

Further Details

Languages: English

Health requirements: Fit and Healthy

Age limit: 12 and over

Tuition: No

Included: Accommodation, full board meals, soft drinks, riding, transfers from Reykjavik.

Not included: Flights, insurance, alcoholic drinks.

 

Travel Information

Flights are to Reykjavik and we can arrange your transfer from there

Airport: Reykjavik

 

Programmes


Horse Round Up in Skrapatungurétt



From the Vatnsdalur area, you will  ride through beautiful valleys and mountains to Laxárdalur valley. Here you will team up with the Icelanders and help round up the horses and drive them down from the mountains to Skrapatungurétt communal corral.

Itinerary

Day One Thursday: Reykjavík – Hvammur – Vatnsdalur – Stóra-Giljá

Pick up from pick up points (www.busstop.is) between 07:30 – 08:30 in the morning. Please be ready at the earliest pick up time and be ready in your riding clothes. Transfer by bus to Hvammur Farm, where you will meet your  horses and guides. On your way to the north you will visit a factory outlet for woollen goods.

The ride starts in Vatnsdalur valley. This beautiful valley is the setting of the Vatnsdćla-Saga. You will ride on the eastern side of Vatnsdalur valley, past Hvammsfoss waterfall, surrounded by impressive basalt columns. The horses rest close to Stóra – Giljá Farm and you will return to Hvammur Farm, home of your host Haukur, for the overnight stay. (Approx. 20 km)

Day Two Friday: Stóra-Giljá – Björnsólfsstađir – Hvammur

After rejoining the horses the rides begins along the shore of Lake Húnavatn, and will follow the expensive salmon fishing river Laxá á Ásum and continue to Blönduós village. Here you cross the glacier fed river Blanda by a bridge and continue to Björnsólfsstađir Farm in Langadalur valley. This farm belongs to Haukur’s grandfather who is known for his storytelling and warm personality. Overnight stay at Hvammur Farm. (Approx. 30 km)

Day Three Saturday: Gathering horses in Laxárdalur – Skrapatungurétt

You meet up with the horses again at the Farm Strugsstaőir. Today you will meet the farmers coming down from the mountains where they have already spent some time gathering the horses in their summer pastures. Hundreds of horses are coming down from the highlands and you participate in herding them to the roundup place Skrapatungurétt. You may join in the singing of the farmers, celebrating this great event of the fall during this long riding day. (Approx. 45 km)

Optional (not included in the tour price):

“Stóđréttardansleikur” dance at Blönduós, where everybody celebrates yet another successful roundup.

Day Four Sunday: Sorting of the horses and driving the herds to their home pastures

Your day starts at the roundup place Skrapatungurétt where horses are sorted out. Experience the excitement and view beautiful horses while joining in this great event. When the horses are sorted you can participate in returning some of them to their meadows at their home farms. Dinner at Hvammur Farm and time to share your personal experience on this riding adventure with our fellow riders. (Approx. 25 km)

Day Five Monday: Return to the South – Reykjavík

Departure from the North and return to your accommodation in Reykjavík. Approximate arrival will be at 13:00.

The itinerary may change according to local conditions.



Minimum group size: 1
Maximum group size: 12
Ability description: For this trip you need to be a strong intermediate 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.
Type of ride: Trail
Total riding time: 4 nights - 4 riding days. 120km total
Departure dates: 17-21 September 2020
 
Pricing: Ł1567 per person sharing


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.



Horse Round Up in Víđidalstungurétt



From Hvammur Farm in the North, your trail will follow good riding tracks until you meet the Icelanders who have been gathering horses already for some days. You will join them and help driving the herd down to the Víđidalstungurétt corral. When this task has been fulfilled the locals celebrate the successful round-ups with a ball “réttardansleikur” and  you are welcome to join in the fun. The next day the horses get sorted. Experience the excitement of horses and men when the horses and foals are selected from the herd and returned to their rightful owners.

Day 1 Wednesday: Reykjavík – Hvammur – Sveinsstađir – Hvammur Farm

Transfer by bus from Reykjavík to Hvammur Farm, where you will meet horses and guides. You can visit a factory outlet with woollen goods on the way. You will begin the ride through Vatnsdalur valley. This beautiful valley is the setting of the Vatnsdćla-Saga. You will ride along the banks of River Vatnsdalsá before crossing over to the western side of the valley. The  ride ends at Sveinsstađir Farm and you will return to Hvammur Farm for your overnight stay. (25 km)

Day 2 Thursday: Sveinsstađir – Dćli – Hvammur

This long and exciting riding day takes you alongside the Hóp and across the Gljúfurá River. Through the friendly countryside of Vestur-Hóp and into the beautiful valley Víđidalur. You will follow the  Víđidalsá River to Dćli Farm where you will leave the horses. You will return to Hvammur farm for your overnight stay. The outdoor hot tub is waiting, as well as a hearty dinner. (40 km)

Day 3 Friday: Dćli – Kolugil – Víđidalstungheiđi – Hvammur

Today you ascend towards the highland plateau Víđidalstunguheiđi and meet the horses coming down from their pastures in the highlands. You will enjoy a warming lunch at a mountain shelter before joining the farmers in driving the herd down from the mountains. Before ending the ride at Dćli Farm you stop at Kolugili Farm for refreshments. (32 km, during 8-9 hours including lunch and coffee breaks)

Day 4 Saturday: Víđidalstungurétt – Lake Hóp – Hvammur

The day starts at the roundup place Víđidalstungurétt, where horses are sorted out. An auction is held right on the spot and you can join the farmers in their joyful singing, celebrating the return of their horses. In the afternoon you join up with the horses close to Borgarvirki and ride towards Lake Hóp. Feel the excitement of the horses as they reach the open plain. The trail leads  right across Lake Hóp, Iceland’s fifth biggest lake, on a safe track across the water. You will ride past Thingeyrar, a place of great historic importance and into Vatnsdalur valley. It is time to say goodbye to the horses and we return to Hvammur. (30 km)

Optional (not included in the tour price):

“Stóđréttardansleikur” dance at Víđihlíđ, where everybody relaxes after the excitement of the day and celebrates yet another successful roundup.

Day 5 Sunday: Return to the South – Reykjavík

Departure from the North and return to Reykjavík. Approximatearrival at the hotel will be around 14:00.

The itinerary may change due to local circumstances



Minimum group size: 1
Maximum group size: 12
Ability description: For this trip you need to be a strong intermediate 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.
Type of ride: Trail
Total riding time: 4 nights 4 riding days
Departure dates: 30 September - 4 October 2020
 
Pricing: Ł1497 per person sharing


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.