|Howthe Icelandic Horse is the key to an adventuresome marriage. |
This summer my husband and I will leave our Icelandic horse, Elmar,in the
capable hands of a farm-sitter, and spend two week on the Kjolur Tourin Iceland
culminating in two days at Landsmot. Pretty amazing for two peoplewho learned
of the breed only a year ago. It is especially amazing consideringDon never gave a
hoot about horses. Heck, we just bought our farm a month ago.How did these
mighty horses grab our hearts? Is it true we will soon have a dozen?
Don and I were married in July 1996. Before we met a few years back,he had
never given horses a passing glance. I had recently traded inmy Quarter Horse for
a Peruvian Paso, and I had gaited horses on the brain. Experiencehad taught me
that marriages are better if both people share the horse passion, soI had been
working hard to find the path to get Don interested. Don had riddenmy Peruvian a
couple times and loved his silky smooth gait. But Don’s novice nervewas shaken
by the horse’s fiery Latin temperament. Clearly suggesting a secondPeruvian
would fall flat.
I did have some insights. Don loves going fast over trails on his mountainbike,
and he really appreciates smooth riding machines – gaited horses weregood. And
Don avidly studies Norse mythology. His dreams are filled with Odin,Thor, and
Asgard. He is blond, Swedish, and stoic. Hmmm. Most ofall Don loves friendly
cuddly animals. We have too many cats.
We both love the idea of riding through the countryside of far awayplaces. During
an airplane ride at Christmas 1996 we read Outside Magazine’sadventure travel
insert. We were looking for a summer vacation. My ultimate dream wasto ride
after wild horses in Mongolia, while his was to pedal through the LakeDistrict of
Great Britain. Sure I could do the bike ride, but how to get him ona horse? Then
we saw it – Iceland on Horseback. Ride the horses the Vikings rode,crossing a
land that where people live in rustic huts herding sheep. A place wherethe light is
endless, and volcanoes birth hot springs. A place where the ancientNorse myths
still live. A place with Gaited Horses!
Don agreed that a horse trek in Iceland might be fun. He would considerit, after
we rode our bikes through the Lake District. Of course I agreed tothe bike tour,
but I planned to turn his vision to the Icelandic trip.
Once back from the holidays I jumped on the web to see what Icelandwas all
about. What a feast! Dramatic vistas with striking mountains. Rushingrivers.
Bubbly hot springs. Quaint farm houses. Fantastic birds and fish. Butbest of all,
jumbling herds of adorable furry horses. Horses with big fat manesand smiling
expressions. Don was starting to giggle. He was enthralled when wesaw a picture
of a horse helping his people wash dishes at camp. These horsesare not big scary
snorting beasts, they’re pets, they’re friends. The cincher was a photoof a
champion pacer at top speed, floating over the ground. Now we had it– the
personality, the smoothness and the speed in one rideable package.I e-mailed
Hestasport Horse Tours for more information.
We read the Hestasport brochure in detail, and planned to tour as soonas we
could. We joined the Icelandic discussion group on the Web, and wentto an
Icelandic show. It was there we learned how very sweet these horsesare. They
stand calmly waiting for a class, then go like banshees into the flyingpace. When
Don test rode a sale horse he was completely hooked. Now we wereon a horse
Don is a graphic designer and I am a marketing professor and consultant.We lived
in a very small house, and I boarded my Peruvian. Since a key featureof the
Icelandic is their pet-like qualities, we knew that the Icelandic wouldhave to live
with us. That meant getting a farm.
It only took six months. In November 1997 we found a wonderful geldingon
Icelandic Horse Farm’s video. We found the farm on Christmas Eve. Asluck
would have it, Phil Pretty was delivering horse in Oregon at the endof January.
We were to take possession of the farm on February 2nd. With some cajolingthe
sellers agreed to let Elmar move into the barn two days before we movedin.
Perfect. New farm. New horse. Now for that trip to Iceland.
In our communications with Hestasport we learned that they were interestedin
gaining a better presence in North America, so we proposed that wehelp them
with their marketing. That is how we became the North American representatives
for Hestasport. Magnus Sigmundsson explained how the tours work, andsent us
an incredible video of the Kjolur tour (which we will gladly share).
We are doing a dream tour this summer: We land in Reykjavik onJuly 2nd, and
get escorted by Hestasport to Skagafjorour, where our adventure begins.That
evening we go for a 3 hour horse ride, and the next day we play intown. On the
3rd we begin the Kjolur tour, 7 days of crossing Iceland on horse,travelling with a
herd of Icelandics, tolting for hours, fording rivers, soaking in hotsprings, and
having a blast.
Then we go back north for 2 days at Landsmot, the National Championshipof
Icelandic Horsemen that occurs only once every 4 years. This is wherewe will see
those incredible flying horses, just like in the picture that got thiswhole adventure
started. On July 14th we head home. With luck, we will have found anotherhorse
to bring home with us.
We would love to have you join us. It is such a joy to follow your dreams!