3 reviews   
Round Up - Iceland

Sheep Round Up - Rangárvallaafréttur

5 star rating   16 September 2023

Kim who has been on 19 In The Saddle rides. Challenging week working with locals, riding in remote and stunning other wordly landscapes | Absolutely love the Icelandic method of riding, it is very different from the English style and initially takes a bit of getting used to to get the best from your horse. You put your weight much further back in the saddle and use very little leg contact, with much of the impulsion from your seat and hands. Important to grasp as some horses were extremely sensitive to leg pressure.

I was matched with Kristin's horses as I stated I was an intermediate rather than advanced rider. I felt completely comfortable with all 3 of them as they were sensible and calm, easy to control, even if you had to work harder to go faster. They actually taught me to ride properly as trot is an easier gait for them and I had to insist on tolt, rather than it happen naturally with Empla. It made me a better rider by the end of the week as I had to learn which buttons to press to keep her going in tolt! It was also a surprise to experience how each horse was completely different to ride, the tolt was much easier to achieve and maintain in the other two, and Empla's sister was possibly the most comfortable horse I have ever ridden with incredibly smooth paces !

A lot of the shepherd's horses are much more forward going and more challenging, so be honest about your ability. They are keen, willing and have tremendous stamina, plus are very quick to change direction and the pace. They were very well behaved riding in a group, despite coming from several farms, but you need to be happy to ride amongst loose horses at times as the herd sometimes travels with the group. You must be happy at all paces in open country and capable of riding together and independently at all times.

Horses live and work as a herd, so they are corralled and herded into a small pen to catch in the mornings. They are well fed and watered but they work extremely hard so you need to be prepared to get off and walk in some places to let them rest and also to climb up and down some pretty steep canyons and gorges. This can we a bit daunting if you don't like heights or challenging terrain. You will also be expected to change horses up to 2-3 times a day.

The horses cover huge distances, so where possible there are long periods of tolt. Some of the terrain is very rocky and uneven, plus there are numerous river crossings. There are long periods standing around waiting for other groups of shepherds to collect subgroups of sheep, so warm clothing and patience is required!

When driving sheep, a lot of the pace is at walk but with the need for quick reactions and short bursts of speed to recapture any breakaway fractions of the flock, of which there are numerous! Flexibility is the buzz word on this trip, you will be expected to saddle your own horses, although there is minimal fuss, merely flicking off any mud, and one saddle fits all horses!

On the whole, be prepared for some long hours in the saddle (our longest was almost 11hrs from getting on to untacking!), but I am not especially riding fit and found the saddles very comfortable. Worth considering riding knickers and anti-chafing cream!

[In The Saddle - thank you so much for your very comprehensive feedback. We are so glad you enjoyed this riding experience.]

Round Up - Iceland

Sheep Round Up - Landmannaafréttur

5 star rating   22 September 2022

Paula who has been on 13 In The Saddle rides. Seventh In-The-Saddle Holiday and still different | Exceeded expectations.
Our guides Ingvar and Anton looked after us well, and we enjoyed their company.
The horses were all sound, fit and very well cared for.
I think the description of the riding we received before departure was accurate.
The horses are all quire forward going, and terrain can be challenging, but I don't think that was any different to what we expected.

A good tip would be taking a small light curry comb (brush that is) would be a good idea, as you have to brush off mud to tack them up, and that may be two horses a day - those who'd been before carried these, so we were able to borrow.

It is very weather dependent, and we were lucky on that front (but other guests told us of poor weather conditions last year.

Round Up - Iceland

Horse Round Up - Skrapatungurétt

5 star rating   20 September 2021

Hilary who has been on 7 In The Saddle rides. So much fun - combined herd riding with Icelandic tradition and great scenery | I will treasure the memories of the whole Saturday as it started with coming together with up to 100 other riders like a pony club or hunting day, riding over the mountains to watch the farmers bringing down the mares and foals followed by the most fun and fast ride down the valley after the mares and foals herd to bring them to the shedding ring.

3 reviews