Although I stayed an extra day by myself in Iceland, most adventure excursions last ½-full days & everything seemed to cut it close for my afternoon flight. After some quick research the night before & recommendations from our local photographer/new friend, I booked the earliest, shortest tour (2.5hr) with The Icelandic Horse. Saving the Ice Caves for the next visit!
Horses are typically 3 gaited but true Icelandic horses posses a gene that allows them 2 extra gaits- the tölt & the flying pace in addition to walk, trot, & canter/gallop. The tölt was particularly helpful when horseback was the only mode of transportation across Iceland as it provides a very smooth, comfortable ride.
Having ridden before, the tölt seemed to require a much more relaxed, slouched posture and taut reins that pull the head high, positioning the legs to move laterally directly underneath the body. (See first image, 4th horse silhouette). These horses may look like ponies but are built like tanks.
The Icelandic Horse provided a quick lesson before assigning each participant a horse based on their riding experience. You are told to remember the horse's name as that how the guide will acknowledge you but good luck remember their name, they all begin to sound the same after awhile. Once you return to the barn, don't rush off! Watching the horses play afterwards is part of the fun.
-You will look like a neon firefighter but just wear the waterproof gear
-Avoid wearing nice/white coats, gloves, pants - horses love to roll in the dirt
-Phone battery instantly freezes? Guide snaps photos!