Icelandic horseback riding through a valley and to a remote waterfall!

Mosfellsdalur Travel Blog

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I slept well and awakened refreshed and my leg feeling better. I cleaned up, ate breakfast, and was downstairs just before 9:00 am. Within a few minutes, the bus was there to pick me up. We met others at the Iceland Excursions office, to check in and be redistibuted.  Just a few minutes later, a van pulls up with Laxnes on the side (the horse farm).  We drive for only 20 minutes but are a world away from Reykjavik. We are in a valley with mountains all around and not much else.

We pull up to a farmhouse with white fencing and many, many colors of horses ready for a journey. Laxnes Farm has existed for hundreds of years but only part of the farm built in 1898 still stands. The main stablebuilding was built in the early 1940's to serve as a cow farm producing powdered milk.

It turned out that Icelanders at the time were not ready for powdered milk and cattlefarming was quickly suspended. In 1968 Thorarinn (Póri) Jónasson and his wife Ragnheiður (Heiða) Gíslason came to live at Laxnes and started what is now Iceland's oldest operational horse rental.

 We were introduced to our horses. Icelandic horses were specially bred by the Vikings.They are part Norwegian and part Siberian. Mine was a milk chocolate brown horse called "softness" because he's a bit overweight but, I was told that he was fast. We were led inside to pick out our helments, boots, and rain poncho. I didn't think that I needed the poncho but, was happy that I had it, later. The guide fitted the horse with my saddle and up I went, on the first try.

The guide was an artist from London, who due to the economy was out of work. She was working here for room and board, no wages. Not a bad way to spend unemployment, I think. She had two young girls helping her. They were from Sweden and here for a working holiday for 6 weeks. They had both just turned 18.

We all formed a single line and headed out a trail along side the farm. The trail continued through a beautiful valley and along a stream. There was a beautiful mountain range in the background. Finally we take off, starting to trott. This isn't as smooth as I read or seen in travel shows about Iceland. They are supposed to have a special gate that makes their trott very smooth, not mine! I'm moving off the saddle with each trott. Also, Softness isn't paying attention to any of my signals that I am giving him with the reigns or saddle.

He's just doing his own thing, showing me who's the boss. We arrive at a different path that leads us across a stream and around a taller hill and then across a few more. Finally, Softness, took off in a gallop. This was much smoother and alot more fun. I could really enjoy the ride and the beauty of nature, the land and the animal. It was great. It was a first such experience for me.

We reached a meadow and all gathered for a rest. The guide keeps the horses, which needed a snack and a toilet break.  The two Swedes showed us up the way up another hill and across a lava field to a hidden waterfall called Trollafoss. It's not very big, basically a tear in the earth and water wearing it away but, in this place it was special.

It needed attention just as the other falls do, too.

There was some much beauty in this remote place. We made our way back to the meadow and mounted the horses for the return journey. I got one of the Swedish girls to take my picture on Softness. From where we were here in the valley you could see all the way to the Atlantic Ocean. I took a moment to enjoy this scenery.

We travel around the mountain and away from the ocean view, back to the farm. My butt is hurting from the punishement that this horse is giving me. The pace pics up again and we are galloping. We did this most of the way back. I imagined that I was in a race cross country. A little fantasy is good for you. The galloping continued. I loved this. On some corners, I felt like we were on two hooves.


Upon our return, we remove the saddles and place them in the barn. I go inside and put away all of the things that I have borrowed and clean up. We I retuned the guide told me that I had ridden quite fast and that the group had run the course the fastest of any group that she had led. So, I had over an hour before the tour bus would pick me up.

The owner's wife joined us from the house next door with a huge kettle of soup. It's carrot, lentil, and parsley, all from the garden. I had a bowl and some crusty bread with fresh Icelandic butter. For dessert there was some Wienerbrod (Danish pastry) and we all had tea. I paid only 700 IKR for this meal, a reasonable price. It was all fresh and delicious.

The four of us ate and talked about our reasons for being in Iceland. Everyone agreed that it is a special place. After a good chat, we all walked outside to walk around and enjoy the peace and beauty of the Southern Lowlands. I took notice of the colors and shapes, the textures, and especially how it made me feel. It made me feel alive and present. What an experience to be here, today.

The bus pulls up so, time to move on.



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photo by: delsol67