Sheep Round-up Iceland riding tour
A riding tour in Iceland – especially the sheep-round up was on my bucket-list for a long time now. Since we visited Iceland back in 2013 I was dreaming to do such a tour one day. Horses, mountains, rain, wind in my face. Original Icelandic not only made for tourists. These where my wishes for the tour. This year I finally thought that now would be the right time to make this things true and I started researching. I had to find a tour that matches with our wedding photography dates this year.
- We did the tour with: Solhestar
- Duration: 3 days/ 2 nights (1 day form 09AM, last day around 20PM)
- Costs 2018: 1050€ / Person
- Riding experience: very good riding experience needed.
- Food: Breakfast, Lunchbox, warm dinner and Snacks included on 3 days
- Language: Nearly everyone speaks English in Iceland
- Where to stay: Really nice guesthouse with bathroom and hot tube.
Day 1 First riding day
The tour starts at 14th September with our pick-up in Reykjavik at 9AM. We unpacked some stuff in our really nice and cozy guesthouse and started then with a breakfast at the house of the stable owner Sólmundur and his wife Sjön. After a short introduction in our day, we tried on some helmets because it is not allowed to bring helmets and leather things to Iceland from another country to protect the horses from illness. Some of the guide girls, friends of the owner and some other people joined our small group of 3 tourists and we started to prepare the saddle bags and horses for the tour. Beer and lunchboxes packed we started our tour directly with a fast toelt. Our tour leads us up the hill and soon the last track ends in a endless field of holes and stones and I started asking myself if it is a good idea to ride this fast. It seemed like I was the only one thinking like this. Soon we made a first brake, take the saddles down und opened our beers and lunchboxes. The horses enjoyed the grass. In Iceland they put the rein down over the head – if the horses run away they will stop as soon as they stand on it. Ok that was completely new for us – at home this is the worst thing to happen and we decide to keep the horses in our hands.
After a short break we started with tölt again – now I started to realize that this is not really a tourist tour. Yay – thats what I imagined. The weather was perfekt and our way leads us through hot springs and really bumpy lava fields. Some horses where running with us free, one took a wrong path and nearly felt down. For a few seconds we were all holding our breath, but the horse managed everything good and joined us safely again. After arriving the stable for the night, we got our pick-up and a really nice dinner from Sjöfn. It was great to sit there and chat with the others about their experiences with the horses. I love to meet new people and it was really nice with the horse girls – they stay there for some months to do a abroad work.
Day 2 – Sheep round-up starts
We met at seven for breakfast. At 8 we drove to the horses again. Today some other icelandic guys will join us with their own horses. We split in groups and our group rode to a small gas station to have a coffee and wait for the others to catch some sheep in the mountains and fields. Later we rode to a big lava field and split up there again to get a row. We should look for missing sheeps around the area. I was really surprised about the field. Down the horse I was not able to walk around really good – so I was not sure if my horse will manage this surface. But all the others around me did not care, so I got up on my horse again and hoped the best that we will get safely on the other side. After nearly 2 hours of waiting in the cold icy wind, we finally saw the big sheep herd coming. We joined the others and took care of our line to hold all the sheeps in place.
This day ended after bringind the sheep to the stable – we also left our horses there again and went home to take a relaxing bath in our hot tube. The rest of day was really cold and rainy, so we did nothing special until dinner.
Day 3 – Final sheep round-up
The day started again at 7, but the weather was pretty fine. We would get the rest of the sheep in the mountains this day. So we started riding up the mountain again and split in groups. We know not really where to go and follow our icelandic riders again in a line. We found 3 sheeps and started pushing them forward. After some waiting again, we finally arrived at the end of the mountain in a valley. I was really thinking about how we will get down here with our horses. From every sides were sheeps coming down the mountains.
Finally we found our Chef Sólmundur again and we were really happy – we thought he will guide as a good track down. I think fifteen other riders had the same thoughts and followed him also. The path was getting really small and full of rolling rocks. He jumped over a small river and now I was not that sure if that was a good idea. But he had do go down anywhere and I had no idea were to find a better way down. I had to trust my horse again that he will manage the very steep path. We made it and my hearth rate was up to heaven. A girl behind me felt from her horse because of leaning forward, but she was ok. From this point I was absolutely sure that icelandic riders are a little bit crazy.
The final round-up
Arrived down all the riders and sheep met and brought the sheep into the pen. I was happy to walk a few steps on the ground. The sorting started – everybody wanted to help. Many visitors, tourists and children arrived at the roundpen and someome brought coffee for the tired riders. After two hours all the sheep were sorted and we start our last riding tour home about 6km. We were really tired and I hoped for a chilled riding. But nope – we did nearly the whole way in fullspeed tölt. My horse was breathing and sweating like crazy – but he knew the way home and wanted to run faster like the first two meters. So I let him do and enjoyed the last meters of the tour. We had a nice last dinner and were brought back do Reykjavik later.
The tour was incredible. Yes mayble a little crazy for us from middle europe – riding just on perfect ground – but very cool! Nothing in this tour was made just for tourists – I felt like a part of the icelandic riders all three days long. That was exactly what I expected and wanted. We really enjoyed the meals of Sjöfn and our nice guesthouse. I can definetly reccomend this tour with Solhestar for every good rider that wants a really original icelandic expierence.