Women & Girls Golden Circle Riding Adventure

About the Experience

Horseback riding through the wilds of Iceland. Volcanoes, waterfalls, hot springs. Imagine the wonders. Think of all the stories you’ll tell.

Every place you’ll explore in the ‘Golden Circle’ of Southern Iceland has a story. The wild and romantic landscape is famous for its spectacular natural features. What more could you want? Giant gorges, volcanoes, valleys, lava fields, sandy ocean beaches, seaside cliffs, and idyllic meadows – and you riding through them all on horseback.

The horses? They have a story, too.  The Icelandic horse was brought here more than 1,000 years ago by Vikings. Herds of Icelandic horses still roam the valleys – you’ll see them and might even get up close to them but don’t worry, Icelandic horses are famous for their affectionate natures.

The Icelandic horses you’ll be riding are known for their affection as well as their sure-footedness and smooth gait. This trip is suitable for women and girls with novice skills who are ready to learn, as well as more experienced riders, as we ride much of the trip in trot and tolt. After long days of horseback riding through the wilds of Iceland, you’ll spend your nights at comfortable guesthouses and peaceful mountain huts.

Many believe there is no better way to bond with someone than on an adventure in the heart of nature. We have designed this trip so that mums, aunts, big sisters, grandma and their favorite girls (age 10-16 years) have an incredible, low-stress, playful adventure together! The trip is modest in length, isn’t too difficult and promises to be loads of fun!

Click here to see the full itinerary!
Women & Girls Golden Circle Riding Adventure

About the Experience

Horseback riding through the wilds of Iceland. Volcanoes, waterfalls, hot springs. Imagine the wonders. Think of all the stories you’ll tell.

Every place you’ll explore in the ‘Golden Circle’ of Southern Iceland has a story. The wild and romantic landscape is famous for its spectacular natural features. What more could you want? Giant gorges, volcanoes, valleys, lava fields, sandy ocean beaches, seaside cliffs, and idyllic meadows – and you riding through them all on horseback.

The horses? They have a story, too.  The Icelandic horse was brought here more than 1,000 years ago by Vikings. Herds of Icelandic horses still roam the valleys – you’ll see them and might even get up close to them but don’t worry, Icelandic horses are famous for their affectionate natures.

The Icelandic horses you’ll be riding are known for their affection as well as their sure-footedness and smooth gait. This trip is suitable for women and girls with novice skills who are ready to learn, as well as more experienced riders, as we ride much of the trip in trot and tolt. After long days of horseback riding through the wilds of Iceland, you’ll spend your nights at comfortable guesthouses and peaceful mountain huts.

Many believe there is no better way to bond with someone than on an adventure in the heart of nature. We have designed this trip so that mums, aunts, big sisters, grandma and their favorite girls (age 10-16 years) have an incredible, low-stress, playful adventure together! The trip is modest in length, isn’t too difficult and promises to be loads of fun!

DAY ONE: ARRIVAL

Your Icelandic riding adventure starts in the evening. You will be picked up at the BSI bus station between 17:30- 18:30 (5:30-6:30 pm) and driven to farm Vellir, near Hveragerði. Upon arrival, meet your Wild Women guides and settle into the new guesthouse. We will get to know each other during dinner at nearby Hotel Eldhestar. The day will end with our Wild Women orientation and a detailed description of the tour.

 

DAY TWO: MEADOWS & MOUNTAINS 

Rise and shine to a hearty breakfast in Hotel Eldhestar. This morning, your guides provide detailed information about the Icelandic horse and techniques for Icelandic riding. We begin with a live demonstration of tacking, mounting, and maneuvering through the various gaits of the Icelandic horse. We then get outfitted with our rain gear, helmets, and saddles and paired up with our first horse. The rest of the morning is spent in the outdoor paddock learning to ride the Icelandic way; mounting form the ground, maneuvering and stopping, walking, tölting and trotting on an Icelandic horse are all slightly different than what you are used to. You will need to be able to do all of this comfortably throughout the trip.

After lunch, we head out for a 2.5 – 3-hour ride on some smooth riding trails along meadows which are perfect for trying the special gait of the Icelandic horse, the tölt. The ride starts on soft riding trails along the green fields of farm Vellir. We then follow an old route towards Ingolfsfjall Mountain, riding along the slopes of the mountain with nice views of the lowlands, Olfusa river and Atlantic ocean before we return to the farm. We untack our horses and store our saddles and raingear together, ready for our ride tomorrow. Dinner tonight is at Hotel Eldhestar. We will review the next day’s itinerary, pack for our next two nights at the huts and enjoy the hot tubs!

  • Riding Distance: ~15km
  • Riding Time: 2.5 – 3 hours

 

DAY THREE: THINGVELLIR NATIONAL PARK

After another early but hearty breakfast, both riders and horses are shuttled (about a 20-minute drive) to Kolvidarholl (the site of a geothermal power plant). Be prepared to ride for 4.5-6 hours today, over rough, mountain terrain. There are about 4 dismounts throughout the day where we will need to lead our horses down steep rocky sections. We head north below the volcano Hengill and as we ride along, we dismount and lead the horses through the narrow canyon into Marardalur (the Valley of Horses). Today we enjoy a picnic lunch along the way. From here we ride along the mountainside to the next road, where we meet the trailers for our shuttle to Thingvellir.

Thingvellir National Park is special because it is where Icelanders had their democratic meetings, called Althing, for hundreds of years. It is also the site of the rift valley where the North American plate and the Eurasian plate are drifting apart along the mid-Atlantic Ridge. From here, it is just 10 minutes to our mountain hut, Skógarhólar, where we spend the night. The chef will meet us at the hut, with our luggage and have an amazing meal prepared. Tonight we relax and reflect on our second day of riding.

  • Riding Distance: 25 km
  • Riding Time: 4,5 – 5,5 hrs

 


DAY FOUR: RIDING THINGVELLIR

Today we ride for another 4.5-6 hours across Thingvellir National Park. We can see Lake Thingvallavatn, the largest lake in Iceland. We ride up and over the hills, through the moss covered lava fields, to Kringlumýri, another mountain hut.  We arrive to another delicious meal and a well-deserved sleep.

  • Riding Distance: ~22 km
  • Riding Time: 4.5 – 5.5 hours

 

DAY FIVE: GEYSIR AND GULLFOSS

In the morning, we will be driven to Gullfoss (Golden Waterfall) where we will learn about how the first Icelandic female conservationist, saved Gullfoss from being dammed. Next, we head over to the Haukadular hot springs, Geysir and Strokkur. Strokkur is the hot spring that erupts every 7-8 minutes, and we will take time to revel in the power of geothermal energy.

After lunch, we ride about 3-4 hours along soft riding paths. We get another excellent view over Lake Thingvallavatn, then we ride around lake Úlfljótsvatn until we will meet the trailers for our shuttle back to farm Vellir.

  • Riding Distance: ~ 15km
  • Riding Time: 3-4 hrs

 


DAY SIX: BLACK BEACH RIDE

Today’s ride takes us along a soft black lava sand to the picturesque area where the mighty river Ölfusá meets the sea. We continue our tour through shallow water at the edge of the river delta and ride on the soft, green river banks back to farm Vellir. On our way we enjoy spectacular views, weather permitting, and have good chances to see birds of various kinds. (The tour may start at the farm and end at the beach, depending on tides). Back at the farm, say “until next time” to your favorite horses and enjoy another dip in the hot pots before dinner.

  • Riding Distance: 23 km
  • Riding Time: 5 – 6 hours

 


DAY SEVEN: DEPARTURE

Today, sleep in, enjoy your coffee, say your last good bye’s to the horses and take a mid-day transfer back to Reykjavik. Drop off will be at about 2 pm at the BSÍ – Reykjavik Excursions Bus Terminal.

 


Blue Lagoon Information

If you wish to enjoy the Blue Lagoon during your visit to Iceland, you can do this before or after your Wild Women Expedition. Blue Lagoon tickets must be booked online well in advance (CLICK HERE). You can book transfers directly on their website. Luggage storage is available at the Blue Lagoon. There are Flybus departures directly from the Blue Lagoon to KEF and vice versa – a 25 min transfer!

Riding Pace & Terrain

On our Women and Girls Golden Circle Adventure, the pace will vary depending on the terrain and groups ability. Ideally, you will be riding trot or tölt whenever the terrain allows since this pace is the perfect balance of speed and rider comfort. Be prepared to learn to ride all over again! The tölt is an extremely smooth, four-beat gait, much like a running walk or rack, and it offers a virtually bounce-free ride at speeds of up to 32 kph. In this gait, the horse’s hind legs should move well under the body and carry more of the weight on the hind part, allowing the front to rise and be free and loose.

The Icelandic terrain is very radical and you have to be able to adapt your riding from going along gravel roads or riding paths, to lava fields and to traversing across very steep hillsides and going up and down steep mountainsides. The scenery is spectacular though (to reward your efforts) and your Icelandic horses are sure-footed and familiar with the trails.

Icelandic Tack & Riding Style

The saddles used in Icelandic riding are more padded and comfortable than traditional English saddles, but they are English style saddles nevertheless. The bridle system is also more similar to English therefore, you should be comfortable with riding English style for this adventure.

For Icelandic riding posture, riders keep their legs straight, and sit deeper back in the saddle, more like western posture. The bridle and reins are held similar to English (one rein in each hand) and there is always contact with the horse’s mouth.

WWE likens this to western trail riding on an English saddle and that Icelandic horses are more like Sport Utility Vehicles and you should expect an ‘off-road’ experience!

The Icelandic Horse

Selective breeding for over one thousand years, free of genetic influence from outside bloodlines, has produced one of the purest breeds of horses on earth. Due to Iceland’s harsh environment, only the fittest horses have survived over the centuries. That is why today’s Icelandic horses are strong and sure-footed, have great stamina, and possess friendly temperaments. The Icelandic horse has been bred as a five-gaited horse. It has three basic gaits—walk, trot, and gallop— and two additional gaits, the tölt, and pace. The tölt is described above, and unlike the tölt, the pace, or flying pace, is a two-beat gait, well known in the international racing world. When pacing, the horse moves both legs on the same side together. In Iceland, pace horses are ridden in races and pace racing in Iceland is one of the oldest and most respected equestrian sports.

The freedom the Icelandic horse enjoys also helps to explain its special capabilities, temperament, and behavior traits admired by riders. Herds are kept on very large tracts of land, where the horses run unhindered. Therefore, they are attentive and closely attuned to their environment.

Click here to see upcoming trip dates to book your spot!