Magazine article Sunset

Iceland Is Rugged, and the Horses Are Surefooted

Magazine article Sunset

Iceland Is Rugged, and the Horses Are Surefooted

Article excerpt

Iceland is rugged, and the horses are surefooted "In the centre of Iceland there are only three kinds of scenery--Stones, More Stones and All Stones," wrote W.H. Auden. He was right, but last summer what struck visitors from rain-deprived California was the water. Tufted with moss, even the rocks squish under foot. Water torrents off hillsides, thunders over falls, sparkles in ponds and pools. Soft sun, rain, and mist follow each other. Geysers spout sulfurous steam, and on distant mountains, glaciers glow in the summer sun that never sets.

Iceland should be savored leisurely, but hiking here can be rugged. That may explain the nation's love affair with the sure-footed Icelandic horse. Thick-maned and tireless, these horses (say pony and you'll be corrected) are your means of conveyance on trips lasting as little as an hour or up to two weeks.

Their ancestors carried the Vikings. To protect the breed, no new stock has been allowed in for 800 years. Their distinctive fifth gait, a sort of equine speedwalk called the tolt, eats up the miles.

On a horse trip, most days start and end at a farmhouse, where rooms share bathrooms. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.