Vik Horse Adventure: An Icelandic horse adventure for everyone
By Signe Hansen | Photos: Vik Horse Adventure
Riding along a black sand beach on the famously friendly Icelandic horse – it almost doesn’t get more authentic than that. Set right by the beautifully dramatic Víkurfjara beach, Vík Horse Adventure takes travellers on spectacular rides all year round.
For some people, a horseback ride on a sandy beach is a bucket list item in itself, but when adding the stunning backdrop of Southern Iceland’s dramatic landscape and the uniquely charming character of the small Icelandic horse, the experience transforms from that of a regular tourist ride to a quintessentially Icelandic adventure. “The beach is very scenic in all weather,” says assistant manager and guide Hilary Tricker. “Sometimes, we get snow and the contrast between the black sand and the white snow is just beautiful.”
Taking about an hour, the rides are open for all levels and mainly take place at walking speed though guides always do their best to ensure that everyone can try the Icelandic horse’s special gait, tölt. Brought to Iceland by the Vikings, the Icelandic horses have traditionally been essential to Icelandic culture, used for farming, transport, and meat. Today, the breed is one of the purest horse breeds in the world because no other horses are allowed into Iceland. “They are a little smaller but very tough and hardy,” Tricker says. “In the winter they grow big fussy winter hair and look just adorable.”
The Icelandic horse is also one of the horse breeds with the longest life spans, and Vik Horse Adventure makes a great effort to ensure that their horses not only live a long but also a good life. This means that the stable’s 60 horses take turns doing tours and taking vacations on a nearby farm. “Basically, the horses spend two months working and when they need to get their hooves trimmed, the shoes come off and we pop them to the vacation farm ten minutes away – in the summer, they get one month off, in the winter, up to five or six,” explains Tricker.
Vik Horse Adventure does six daily rides during the summer and three to five daily rides during the winter, depending on daylight. The tours are guided in English though guides often have additional languages. In addition to the one-hour tours, a 30-minute family tour for children aged 6-10 is offered during the summer. All tours take place on Víkurfjara beach which is less busy and less rocky than the nearby famous Reynisfjara beach. The tours are open to everyone age 10+ though due to the welfare of the horses, there is a weight limit of 100kg.
Web: www.vikhorseadventure.is Instagram: @vikhorses Facebook: vikhorseadventure
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