Don’t let the name fool you. Iceland promises a warm welcome if you love a good horseback riding adventure. Just ask Ruth Hooten, who calls her globe-tölting adventures to Iceland, curated through Stacey Adams and Active Riding Trips of Standfordville, NY, an always “absolutely perfect trip for all riding abilities.”
Now you can ride along, when Kit Parks, host of the popular podcast, Active Travel Adventures, talks with Ruth about riding in the land of ice and fire on her April 20, 2023 podcast.
You might call Ruth a ‘frequent flyer.’ She’s been planning Iceland getaways through Stacey and Active Riding Trips (www.activeridingtrips.com) for the past decade, and one of her few regrets is that she can’t bring home the horses she has fallen in love with there! (No really, she can’t. To preserve the integrity of the breed, purebred Icelandic horses are discouraged from being sold off the island and cannot return if they are.)
One thing that makes riding an Icelandic horse so unique are its gaits. The Tölt is a natural four-beat gait where at least one hoof always touches the ground, producing a nearly bounceless ride at upwards of 20 mph (32 kmh). The Flying Pace (“the crown of Icelandic horsemanship”) is equal (at 30 mph/48 kmh) to a gallop, where both legs on the same side simultaneously touch the ground between intervals of midair suspension.
Speaking of flying… Ruth opted for twice as nice a getaway, flying into Reykjavik for two Icelandic adventures: The Best of Eldhestar Ride and Iceland’s Nature’s Treasures.
The Best of Eldhestar is exactly that – the cream of the crop among several shorter and longer tours in southern Iceland. Visit the Valley of the Horses, Maradalur, Kattatjarnir Ponds and Reykjadalur Valley. Enjoy a beach ride at Thingvellir National Park, one of only two sites in Iceland on UNESCO’s World Heritage List and, saving the best for last for horse lovers, participating in bringing a herd of horses in on one of the days of your visit – a unique and exhilarating hands-on experience.
Iceland’s Nature’s Treasures delivers an amazing 3-4 days of riding on scenic routes over varied terrain, and nights at the Hotel Eldhestar (so you only have to unpack once). Calling this ride a natural treasure is no understatement as it delivers incredible contrasts – from the fast flowing glacial waters of Ölfusá River, over meadows and mountains, to the geothermal streams of Reykjadalur. One of the highlights of this four-day adventure is a ride on a black volcanic beach.
“Riding the Tölt is a-mazing! Just sit back, lift the reins slightly and go,” she says.
Forget volcanoes. Iceland by horseback will blow you away.
We hope you’ll come along for the ride with Ruth and Kit this Thursday, April 20, on Horseback Iceland Riding Adventure, and afterwards, Active Riding Trips will offer a 5% discount – podcast promo code ATA5 — good on any trip booked.