Horseback riding on “Mars”

Horse backing riding on Mars. Yes, I said Mars.  Ok, I may be fibbing a little BUT I can explain!

The location where we went on our horseback riding adventure was located in a place full of pseudo craters.  Pseudo craters are formed by steam explosions when lava flows over where water gathers.   They are not usually ever located near an actual volcano since they are formed by lava “runoff” that has flowed away from the source. They look like actual volcano’s but they are not.

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Now, back to the reason I said I went horseback riding on mars.  I said that because there are only two places in our solar system where pseudo craters can be found. . . . Iceland and MARS.  Pretty fricking cool if you ask me!!!   The location where went went on our ride was Rauð Hólar(red hills) just outside of the capital city Reykjavik. I believe there are also 2 other places on the island where these pseudo craters can be found.  Then of course on mars as well. 😀

Our guides were some of the most enthusiastic and spirited people I have ever met in the travel/tourism industry.  It was apparent they truly LOVE their jobs and their excitement was contagious!  The two guides leading our group were Begga Rist & Sveinn Atli Gunnarsson.  They were very knowledgeable, helpful and kind.  They knew how to safely pair us up with the horse that would accommodate your riding experience and were always nearby to answer any questions, concerns or snap a photo if you requested.

As if horseback riding in an environment that can only also found be found in Mars wasn’t cool enough, the horses themselves were also one of a kind.  Icelandic horses are a very special breed of horse, they are small but mighty.   They have to be due to the extreme environment they live in for most of the year.  On top of the impressive toughness they possess, they also have a special gait that ONLY Icelandic horses and their close relatives such as some breeds found in Norway or the Faroe islands can achieve.

Most horses have 3 gaits, a few have 4 and some have 5, with the 5th being a trained variation of a 4th but Icelandic horses are the only horses in the world that have FIVE distinctive gaits, this gait is a hereditary gait specific to them!!!    This fifth gait is called tölt and as I said above, it can only be accomplished by Icelandic horses and their relatives mentioned above.  It is an incredible, smooth and FAST pace.  It is also known as the “flying pace” because it is so fast and so smooth that you can literally be zooming past people while holding a drink in your hand without spilling a single drop.  Our guide Begga demonstrated this for us towards the end of tour.  We were each also encouraged to attempt this gait with our horse if we wished to do so.  Of course, I did it!!!

The company I did this wonderful tour with is called Islenski Hesturinn.  Their customer service is impeccable and their employees passion for their work and horses is second to none.  They made sure we had ALL of the information we needed prior to the tour to ensure a fun and comfortable experience.  The things we did not have, they were sure to provide at no extra charge.  I highly recommend this company for ANY of your equestrian desires while in Iceland.

Below is a photo journal(ALL photos provided by Islenski Hesturinn) of my AMAZING experience riding these magnificent Icelandic horses.  I will be posting videos as well VERY SOON! 😀  Check back in a few days for the video. 🙂

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All geared up and getting started on our equestrian adventure in “Mars”.  Entering the Pseudo craters.

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The view from above.  This photo was taken by one of our guides but my view was the same. 😀

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The not so barren, barren landscape.  SOOOO stunning in person!!!

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The one and only Begga!!!

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Why YES! I AM having a fabulous time!!!

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silhouettes of hills throughout the tour.

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“Artsy”.  Everything about this photo makes my heart smile.  It TOTALLY takes me back! 😀

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Most of our tour crew.

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Such beautiful shades of red everywhere!

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The landscape was truly like being on another planet.

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Me with a dorky look on my face.  typical.  ha ah

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 Begga explaining to us how to “tölt”   This was her imaginary drink that would stay level the entire time she flew on her horse.


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