Grand canyons

Melanie

It is hard to find the words to describe the most amazing week of my life. Not knowing exactly what to expect, we drove with nervous anticipation from the airport to the farmhouse in Kjóastaðir where we started the tour, everyone trying to imagine the adventure that lay in front of us. We were greeted by Siggi and the rest of the Riding Iceland Team and by the time we finished our welcome dinner that night everyone was bonded, donning new Icelandic sweaters and so excited to go. 
 

The days were thrilling and so exhilarating! Riding Icelandic horses is the absolute pinnacle of horse riding. The horses are the perfect blend of beauty and strength and their unique gait, tölt, allows you to ride forever! I think before the tour it was hard for people to imagine flying through the countryside for hours on end, but these horses are extraordinary. Everyone quickly found their favorites and left wanting to take them home. Our tour had us riding around the Kerlingarfjöll Mountain range, the views and landscapes were spectacular; glaciers, mountains, waterfalls and canyons, each one more breathtaking than the next. As we rode through fields filled with wildflowers, you could see snow on the top of the distant mountains, it was just magnificent. Herding the horses was quite fun and eventful, there were always a few trying to escape, but mostly it was remarkable watching them quickly form a single line and play follow the leader. We would ride for a few hours and then stop at one of these scenic areas and switch horses or have a picnic lunch, sharing stories of our journey so far.

The nights had their own enchantment. Siggi turned the most basic accommodations into a 5 star hotel with amazing food and entertainment. You would think that for being in a hut with no electricity and only a Bunsen burner, that the food would be just enough for sustenance; but the meals were truly fantastic. We ate all authentic Icelandic meals; like lamb, salmon, Iobster, puffin and of course we all had to try the rotten shark. After dinner, we would take out the song books, a collection of classics that everyone knows. Siggi and his family are really great musicians and good or bad we sung our hearts out to favorites like the Beatles as they played guitar. They also would sing some traditional Icelandic folk songs which was like being serenaded by the best a cappella choir ever. 

The unexpected bonus from this tour was the wonderful friendships that were made. It is amazing how close you become to each other after sharing a week like this. This was so much more than a horse tour; Siggi has made this an experience of a lifetime. Now I am back in the States, missing the sheer simplicity and serenity of each day, counting down until next summer’s tour.