On 2 May 1998


An Icelandic Horse Ride

2: The Ride

Bjartur walking was a rocking motion, which I became accustomed to . . .  by the by. I was merely about 100 yards behind everyone else. At one point, Sue dropped back and said I should try to keep up with the group. I said that I was letting Bjartur set my pace.

The first shock was crossing a streambed. Simple enough true . . .  but somewhat unexpected to suddenly find myself pointed downward. That surprise passing, I realized that leaning back on such transits helped an awful lot. I also learned, later on, that leaning back on level ground was tantamount to asking for a swift pace.


At the first rest stop.
After about a half hour, I thought I was getting the hang of it, and then the horses in front broke into a gallop (or run or whatever - they were moving very quickly!), and Bjartur followed. The bounce up and down during that aspect made me wonder my chances of staying aboard, but I came to appreciate the bounce when Bjartur shifted into the next gear upward and seemed to be smoothly flying across the ground while I wobbled across his back. That was the point at which I tried using the reins to slow him down to a gallop. Yes, it was harder on the bottom, but I was more certain about staying in the saddle.

I guess an hour later we had a rest stop, or at least everyone stopped and got off his or her horse. So rather than continue sitting on Bjartur, I leaned forward kicked a leg back and swung it over and slid off my horse.
Sue holding her munching horse Rauði-Brúnn, as well as Bjartur. In green is an Englishwoman who not only had riding experience but her own horse back home. In orange is a Swedish woman who watched over us.
About a half inch of water had accumulated in my camera bag, but I let my camera drip dry a little, and tried some pictures. It was easiest shooting with the rain to my back, but then most everyone seemed to prefer standing with the rain to his or her back too, so perhaps the main point of interest is in those people who wore their helmet under the hood or over the hood. My preference is over, since the hood has less openings for the rain to come in. Nevertheless, I too was pretty wet at the end of the ride.

A kind person held Bjartur, and I got on (after two attempts again). The rain was coming down as hard as ever, and the word was passed around that the ride would be cut short. No one seemed to mind that much.

Between the first and second rest stops, I felt that I was becoming more accustomed to riding and kept closer to the group as a whole. It allowed some people to drop by me and say that they were worried about me. (So much for my immediacy for picking up new skills).


The trail is on the left, the rain at our back. The landscape is strikingly similar to the Lake District, being heavily glaciated and quite wet.
The rain and mist kept visibility down, so although there were supposed to be terrific views, I didn't see any of them. Nevertheless, the valleys were beautiful. And it was with sadness that the ride came to an end . . .  though the following day my thighs were stiff as if I had been out on a very long fellwalk.

My only regret is that at the end, when the ten of us were relaxing with coffee after the ride, that my camera indoors had misted beyond relief, and I couldn't take a clear group photo. Well . . .  perhaps next year . . . 

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