Riding Icelandic Horses with Viking Horses in Reykjavik, Iceland

Riding Icelandic Horses with Viking Horses in Reykjavik, Iceland

Riding Icelandic horses is on the top of everyone’s to-do list when they reach Reykjavik, and for good reason. Icelandic horses are unlike any other in the world, brought to the country by Viking ships 1,000 years ago. They look more like model ponies than horses with their long flowing manes, and each is more beautiful than the last. They can tölt, a distinct and more graceful gallop than your average horse. Not to mention with their friendly dispositions, they are every Icelander’s best friend, often resembling giant dogs.

RELATED POST: MEETING A KOALA IN SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA

I was able to attend a morning riding session with Viking Horses, just outside of Reykjavik. We explored landscapes that had the same minerals as Mars and the moon. It turns out, Neil Armstrong and fellow astronauts actually practiced here before going into space!

We rode at different speeds and bonded over hot tea and Icelandic chocolate in the farm’s loft afterwards. It was the best way to kick off a visit to Iceland, and really set standards high for the rest of the trip. Here’s everything you need to know about this experience.

Where is Viking Horses?

Viking horses is located on the outskirts of Reykjavik, a short drive away from the city center. We were picked up by a shuttle outside our apartment at 8:30am, like clockwork. The ride was about 20-30 minutes long, including a stop to pick up two other guests.

Don’t worry though, this isn’t a huge coach bus operation. The goal of Viking Horses is to provide small, intimate experiences that allow you to connect with others in attendance, not lag 30 people behind someone holding up a flag.

The staff feels more like a family than employees, and is made up mostly of young equestrians who have come from all over the world for the opportunity to work here. For many, training Icelandic horses is a dream job, and one look at these joyful creatures will show you why.

What makes Viking Horses different?

You have the option of riding in the morning, afternoon or evening, for approximately 2 hours. You can book online or email Viking Horses with any questions, they’re extremely responsive and communicate easily in English. I recommend you come prepared with appreciate riding attire, like long pants, some sort of riding boots or sneakers and clothing that you don’t mind getting dirty.

It was raining the morning of my visit, so Viking Horses provided waterproof pants and a jacket to help keep us warm and dry. They also have helmets of all sizes for your ride.

You won’t use riding crops (the guides will have one for use as a last resort). Instead, the guides encourage passive direction of the horses, leaning back and pointing your legs outward when you want to stop, and leaning forward and bringing your legs in when you want to go.

They also encourage verbal cues as opposed to kicking or nudging the horses in the ribs. Mostly, the horses who work here are older and docile, so you don’t need to prompt them too much and they’re happy to follow routine. On route, we came across another tour provider that couldn’t help but comment on how beautiful the our horses were. Notably, their group had twice the people and seemed a tad impersonal.

After our ride, we were invited upstairs to the loft for a delicious spread of sandwiches, hot beverages and Icelandic chocolate. We enjoyed the company of two

Tips for first time riders

Be aware that your horse may have a voracious appetite. Mine, aptly named Mossa for her affinity for moss, kept stopping to snack on greenery. It’s best to keep the horses moving so the group can stay together, so encourage yours to keep moving by making clicking sounds.

If you can, stick around to watch the horses when they get back to the farm. Those in our group were so happy to be back that they rolled on the ground like giant puppies! It was adorable.

It’s hard to take steady photos of videos on top of a horse, and I wouldn’t recommend bringing an expensive camera on your ride. Save the photo shoot for before or after; the staff is happy to help you get the perfect shot!

Finally, while it’s not mandatory or expected in Iceland, I always find it courteous to tip the staff for good service, and I have every confidence that is what you’ll get if you choose to ride with Viking Horses.

Till next time, safe travels!

Viking Horses provides horseback riding tours in Reykjavik, Iceland. Explore other-wordly landscapes on your 2 hour plus experience! Save to your travel board for inspiration, this is the best horseback riding tour in Iceland.

Viking Horses provides horseback riding tours in Reykjavik, Iceland. Explore other-wordly landscapes on your 2 hour plus experience! Save to your travel board for inspiration, this is the best horseback riding tour in Iceland.

*Disclosure: Viking Horses provided me with a complimentary morning ride. All opinions and horse friends made are my own!

14 Comments

  1. October 14, 2017 / 6:14 pm

    This looks wonderful. I really want to visit Iceland!

  2. Cali
    October 14, 2017 / 6:20 pm

    What a fun adventure. For whatever reason, I am afraid of horses and always avoid horseback riding when I travel. But Icelandic horses are just so beautiful and seem less scary, so if I were to get brave and give it a go, it would definitely be in Iceland! Pinned your post to refer back to when my bravery strikes!

  3. October 14, 2017 / 7:00 pm

    What an incredible experience! Horses are beautiful animals. I need to visit Iceland soon and meet them 😀

  4. October 14, 2017 / 8:11 pm

    A friend of mine just came back from a week riding horses through Iceland and it looked absolutely magical, just like this does! I’ll definitely keep Viking Horses in mind for when I make it there myself. I love that they offer small, personal experiences. There’s nothing worse than being stuck in a big crowd of tourists!

  5. October 14, 2017 / 8:13 pm

    I think the horses were one of my favorite parts of Iceland – I seriously came home with 1,000 pictures of their cute little faces and fuzzy bodies! I didn’t make it horse riding though, but obviously should have!

    Xx

  6. October 14, 2017 / 8:37 pm

    I have this image of a giant viking warrior riding a tiny little horse. It would look something like Ed riding one of those guys, but a little more manly. (as manly as you can look riding a pony that looks like a gentle dog). Those guys are so super cute.

  7. October 14, 2017 / 10:20 pm

    Awe these horses are so darling, and I would so love to go to Iceland….a bit afraid of horse riding, especially the big guys!

    Valerie

  8. October 14, 2017 / 11:39 pm

    My daughter would love this. Maybe — so would I! There are new discount airfares to Iceland from Cincinnati and I plan to go SOON! I haven’t decided who I want to go with, but very often it’s my daughter. She has always loved horseback riding. It scares me, but in the right circumstances, I’ll do it. This seems like one of those circumstances.

  9. October 15, 2017 / 1:53 pm

    What a lovely experience! I only tried Icelandic horseback riding here in Denmark since they are also very popular here:)
    kind regards, Nana

  10. October 16, 2017 / 2:14 pm

    I love horses, and riding these special ones in Iceland sounds like a wonderful experience. I think their small size makes them even more appealing — they are pretty darned cute. I would definitely contact Viking Horses about booking a ride.

  11. Ivy
    October 17, 2017 / 4:43 pm

    Why are all horses in Iceland SO HANDSOME? They always have the best hair ever, seriously. I can relate with having a gluttonous horse haha. I tried horseback riding for the first time and he kept pulling over to munch on grass and bushes- was so scared I was gonna fall off!

  12. October 18, 2017 / 2:58 pm

    Those viking horses are so cute. I’m going in December but it will be so cold so I don’t think I’ll be riding any horses there…

  13. October 18, 2017 / 5:42 pm

    This must be a fun experience! I have done horseback riding a few times this year in Canada and Mexico. My horse always seem to have a big appetite and kept stopping along the way (and holding up the group lol). It is nice to know that the Viking horses react to verbal cues.

  14. October 19, 2017 / 9:29 am

    They are so beautiful! I love that they treat their horses ethically and kindly – that is always super important to me. And it’s great that they provide waterproof gear for rainy days – such a smart touch!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *