Why should you try horse riding on your solo trip to Iceland?
I’m pretty sure that some of y’all would have longed for the horse riding lessons to arrive sooner in the week when you were in school. And once the lessons would start, they would end so quickly! Sigh!
If you are visiting Iceland, you have an opportunity to revive your childhood dream. And this time, you do not have to worry about the duration! In our adult lives, horse riding is restricted to club visits. But when you are in ‘the land of fire and ice,’ you have the freedom to engage in horse riding as an adventurous sport! What’s more, it does not matter if you have tried it before or not.
Iceland’s horse riding experience is to die for! So do keep aside some time for it in your itinerary, or you will be missing out on major fun.
The best part is you do not have to worry about sightseeing all the popular attractions while on a solo trip. You are your own boss, and can spend more time on activities that you enjoy!
Here’s why you should make horse riding your priority!
1. Feel like a local
The people of Iceland take great pride in riding horses. In fact, horse riding is an extremely important part of Icelandic culture.
When on solo trips, I aim to travel and behave like a local! If the people of Iceland take pride in this activity, so should you when you are there. You can even bond with locals over horse riding and get to know more about their culture! You may even get invited for a hot cup of tea and an interesting chat after this activity.
2. Share a common experience with other travellers
I take my solo trips as an opportunity to interact with other fellow travellers and learn about their experiences. I would not deny they serve as my window to know more about other cultures!
What I also enjoy is trying a new activity and sharing that common experience with other travellers. You can book yourself a horse tour and do this adventurous activity with your new friends! There will be a maximum of 20 other people in the group. Later, you can discuss this experience and share tips on the best practices of horse riding.
3. Get to explore the countryside
As tourists, we often end up spending a lot of time downtown. Don’t get me wrong. It is absolutely cool to enjoy the city centre of Reykjavik—the endless cafes and boutiques!
But Iceland is a country of contrasting landscapes. The gorgeous scenery will leave you overwhelmed. Horse riding will take you to the outskirts and give you the perfect opportunity to explore the nooks and corners of the country.
4. Does not matter if you are a beginner
You may be wondering now if horse riding is only for seasoned riders. Well, surprisingly no!
Even if you are a beginner, you are going to enjoy this activity as much as a seasoned rider. The tour operators are thoroughly professional and give you great advice on how to get started. You will be provided all the safety equipment before you start out on the activity. You will also be shown a five-minute-long tutorial video. After that, the trainer will guide you on the dos and don’ts of horse riding. She will also train you on the right body language that you will need to deal with the horse.
5. Delight for animal lovers
If you are an animal lover, it will give you ample time to bond with the horse! What can be more delightful for an animal lover? Did you know horses have amazing memories? So take some time to show your affection towards them. Also, try to understand their physical cues—are they stressed or feeling overworked? This will give you a smoother experience of horse riding.
6. Know their history at the stable
Do not look at horse riding as an isolated activity. Instead, think of it as a complete experience! After around a 45-minute ride, you are likely to take a break. At this time, you get to visit the stable and know the history of each horse there from the caretakers. Take this time to know about the horses’ lives, their names. Do not miss the opportunity to feed them and show them some love!
7. You can go horse riding at different locations
The fun part about horse riding during a solo trip is you can explore as many locations as you want. Each location may bring a different experience. If you are planning to take trips at multiple locations, plan the itinerary accordingly! The best part is there are accommodations available as well. So you can practically make this the highlight of your trip!
You can go to north Iceland, where there are plenty of locations, including family-based farms. There are farms near Husavik, which is also a famous destination for whale watching! The other popular locations in North Iceland are the farms near Akureyri.
If you are planning to go horse riding in south Iceland, do check out the centres of Islenski Hesturinn, Viking Horses, Vik Horse Adventure, which are all relatively close to the capital city of Reykjavik!
The west of Iceland is a treasure trove of exploring the raw wildness of the country. Snæfellsnes Península and Engidalur Valley have exotic opportunities for horse riding.
If you are keen on exploring the east of Iceland, check out the horse riding options at Eskifjörður and Neskaupstadur, and Egilsstaðir.
8. Take a multi-day horse riding tour
The best part about horse riding is that you can opt for a multi-day riding tour. Of the many ways that you can explore the sceneries of Iceland, horse riding is one.
The multi-day tour on your solo trip will give you the opportunity to see the contrasting landscapes from close quarters. The terrain will keep changing as you shuttle from one part to another. Nature will keep fascinating you, and so will the horse ride!
When it comes to multi-day tours, there are 3-5 day long trips available. The kilometres you cover will vary from 35 km to 100 km.
9. Pair it with other activities
What’s more exciting is that making horse riding the central theme of your solo trip does not mean you lose out on other activities. In fact, you get to do more.
Horse riding takes you to locations where you can also engage in whale watching. Husavik is one such place where you can combine the best of both experiences in Iceland.
Some of the riding spots are home to the most beautiful birds of Iceland. You also have the option of combining horse riding with other intense activities like glacier hikes, volcanic hikes, and ice caving tours.
Iceland is famous for its waterfalls. So do not forget to look at the beautiful waterfalls as you speed in the beautiful terrain on horseback!
10. Helps you slow down
This may seem impossible as horse riding is an intense activity! Well, did you know some of the farms offering horse riding options also give you the opportunity to pause and reflect on yourself?
The farms have excellent accommodation facilities and wellness centres where you can meditate and do some soul searching. Doesn’t this sound like heaven? You can also do a couple of spas and unwind at these centres.
So if you are planning to break away from the monotony of typical trips and find some calm, this is a great option!
11. Excellent for your physical and mental health
When on a trip, you definitely cannot stop binging on the wide range of Icelandic cuisines and candies! This also means you should find out a way to shed the extra pounds that you may be gaining.
It is only natural that you would not want to hit the gym on a trip or do those same old traditional exercises. Horse riding is an excellent exercise for you! It strengthens the core muscles while also helping you get better leg muscles. Both your arms and shoulders are also at work during this activity. So if you are a health freak and do not want to compromise on your physical health even on a trip, go horse riding for a full-body workout.
The emotional benefits of horse riding are not unknown either! It helps control your stress level and gives you problem-solving skills through this activity.
12. Feels amazing to be among such beautiful creatures
Did you know that no horses are allowed to enter the country?
There is something special about Icelandic horses—they are pure-bred and were brought to the country by the Vikings almost 1,000 years ago. They are absolutely beautiful creatures to look at—small in size but powerful. The Icelandic horses are known for their speed and cover a great length at a shorter time.
When the herds of horses are loose on the farm, it is quite a sight!
13. Explore the highlands
Iceland’s highlands are difficult terrain and can get tricky to drive around if you do not have much experience. Walking and bicycling can be exhausting, too, at times.
Horse riding can be a great way to explore the highlands and the wilderness. This experience combines both comfort and adventure!
14. Good for any season
Though Iceland is a dream destination, people are often confused about which season would be the best to visit it and how to plan their itinerary. When it comes to choosing horse riding, you do not need to keep the season in mind.
This activity is enjoyable in all seasons—be it the long summer days or in the winters. The advantage of horse riding in the summers is the weather would be slightly warm, and there is daylight for practically 21 hours! So you can have a packed itinerary and do a lot!
There are plenty of winter packages offered as well. You just have to make sure that you are carrying enough warm clothes as the wind gets quite icy! You can ride a horse in the morning and see the Northern lights at night. What a beautiful combination!
15. Novelty factor
Most of us want to experience something new on a solo trip. If you have never tried horse riding before, it brings a novelty factor to your trip.
The memory of the breeze sweeping your hair as your horse gallops across the volcanoes will keep coming back to you. Drop all your inhibitions and try this new activity!
16. Gives you the most Instagram-worthy moment
I will be lying if I say I am not thinking of social media when on a solo trip. It is no secret that we want to upload photographs of the cool things that we are doing during the trip on Instagram. I can almost imagine your next profile picture on social media!
The horse riding makes for great photographs. It is not every day that you will undertake such adventures. So do not forget to hand over the camera to a fellow traveller. Ask her to take some candid photos of you on horseback!
Take enough photos so that you can keep spamming your friend and family WhatsApp groups too!
17. You can meet farmers
If you are taking a multi-day horse riding trip, you will have plenty of time to interact with the Icelandic farmers. In fact, you can even join them for a session of communal singing. If you are lucky enough, you can even get to meet them in the herding sheep experience, which happens only once a year!
Are you still mulling over if you should try horse riding on your solo trip? You have too many reasons now to get into the saddle and own this experience!
If you have booked your flight tickets, make sure to screen through the best horse riding tours right away! Gallop around and tell me about your experience in the comments below! I promise you’re going to love every bit of it and rave about your favourite moments to your friends and family back home like I’m doing it now!
An introverted blogger who is looking to make unforgettable solo travel memories with one short life.