What an honour to be picked up from my guest house by the legendary 'PORI' Jonasson, who, with his wife 'Heida' has been running the Laxnes Farm about 15 minutes outside Reykjavic for over 48 years...a really successful family Icelandic horse farm. www.laxnes.is. I was his special guest and a change from watching 6 football matches in as many days.
SO MUCH TO EXPERIENCE WITH NATURE in this wonderful country. Horse riding, whale watching, The Golden Circle Tour with geysers, waterfalls and more, Lava caves, Ice caves exploring, snomobiling, glaciers, thermal baths such as the famous Blue Lagoon, puffin watching and Northern Lights. Tourism is BOOMING in the country and the national airline ICELANDAIR, plus discount newcomer WOWAIR plus NORWEGIAN and others fly here. The airlines offer FREE stoppovers of upto 7 nights from North American to get the Icelandic experience and then fly on to London, Oslo, Berlin, Paris, Rome or wherever, without having to buy two tickets. Of course you can do it the other way as well.
I first met the small, friendly Icelandic horses at the stables of Faarup Sommerland park near Aalborg in Jutland Denmark a few years ago. with my friend Martin. They are descendants of ponies brought over by Norse settlers in the 9th & 10th Centuries. They are very strong, with a double thick coat, and a full mane and tail. Lots of coloured coats such as chestnut, dun, bay, black, palomino, pinto, roan. Very few diseases, and the ONLY breed of horse allowed in the country. If they are exported they are NEVER allowed to return, and any equipment, saddles, reins etc must be disinfected on arrival.
They have two more 'gaits' than any other breed of horse. Some are used for sheep herding, some for show, some for leisure, some for racing...and some for their meat. About 40-50 tourists joined me on a two hour out and back trip into the stunning wilderness through trails that the horses seemed to know by heart in a peacefull setting with streams, lichen covered rocks, wild flowers, and in the distance the sea. You can spend the day at the farm with lunch between a morning and afternoon ride.
Very friendly staff with lots of safety for both beginners and experienced riders and full equipment of helmet, warm clothes, boots and instructions. I learned to ride Western style with big horses wearing cowboy boots, hat and neckerchief.. just like John Wayne who I once met on the sidelines of a Texas v Southern Cal grid iron game at Memorial Stadium, Austin a long time ago .(he used to play for USC) I rode many moons ago in West Texas, and enjoy overnight trail riding with camping and supper and singing by a camp fire. I also enjoyed the local Saturday night rodeos . I TRIED NOT TO SHOW OFF at Laxnes Farm. !!!
More football tomorrow.