Monday, 14 May 2012
Ponies! Or, uh, Wee Tiny Horses
Iceland is magic, in a pretty ponies by the waterfall sort of way. See? Like the sheep, there hasn't been any more horses imported to Iceland for almost a millennia. They are true shrunken horses, and not actual genetic ponies. I heard they get angry if you address them as pony. But still. That's a pony as far as I'm concerned. The countryside was thick with them. Everywhere you looked, more ponies. It was all I could do from stopping and hugging them all. My self-restraint was weak and my inner pre-teen won several times. Luckily, the ponies didn't seem to mind much. We found a place near Hella that did riding tours around Hekla volcano. I'm usually pretty careful when I choose my riding outfit. I've seen too many poorly run stables and mistreated horses to just walk blindly into a place. Hekluhestar was great- they specialize in long-haul riding around the national park. All the horses were fat and furry and full of sass. The Icelandic Horses are unique in their comfortable gaits. They walk, trot and canter like a normal horse, but then they have a non-jarring Tolt and a fast flying pace as well. They are sweet as can be, and they are strong enough to carry as much as most regular-sized horses. It's really perfect countryside to ride in. Very few fences or property lines to cross, and so much to see. The horses were agreeable little characters and our guide took us through glacial streams and valleys, Tolting along at a brisk pace and pointing out objects and things that we were ignorant to. Like all those mossy bumps are really the homes of elves, and you would be cursed to go tromping along carelessly on them like we had been doing all week. Whoops. Aside from that mishap with the local mythic fauna, we had a really nice ride through the countryside. I go on and on about how much I miss my former riding life so much, and I get it when and where I can. This wasn't a terrible dose of equine adventure at all.