Horse Round Up

Iceland Shorts Iceland: (IT-ICRT24)
URL: https://www.hiddentrails.com/tour/iceland_horse_roundup_is.aspx

Introduction
Iceland Shorts Iceland
Imagine free and spirited horses rushing down from their highland summer pastures to be returned to their owners. Mares and their foals, young horses and geldings make their way through rough territory, not really willing to give up their freedom yet before winter returns once again. The ancient tradition of rounding up horses is only kept alive in the North of Iceland.
Join the farmers in this great autumn adventure. Ride along when they drive the herd, sort the horses and celebrate the safe return of horses and herders. The varied terrain includes the highland moors, green valleys just putting on their autumn coat of burning red and yellow, deep blue lakes and rivers and Kolugljúfur gorge where a troll woman is reputed to have lived in the old days.
When this task is complete the locals celebrate with a special round-up dance or “réttardansleikur”. We are of course more than welcome to join in the fun. The next day the horses get sorted. Experience the excitement of horses and men when the horses and foals are selected from the herd and returned to their rightful owners.

When you participate in the Round Ups you are experiencing the Real Thing! You will be one of the group to herd and sort the animals. Of course that means long hours outside in sometimes cold weather. Iceland in autumn has many colours and types of weather. Anticipate to be in golden sunshine one moment and to ride in rain and even sleet during the next. We therefore recommend to dress well during these tours, to bring long woolen underwear and lots of woolen socks and gloves. It is also good to bring some "quick energy supplier" like chocolate. A warm rider is a happy rider!

Skrapatungurétt Round Up:
From the Vatnsdalur area we ride through beautiful valleys and mountains to Laxárdalur valley. Here we team up with the Icelanders and help round up the horses and drive them down from the mountains to Skrapatungurétt communal corral.

Víðidalstungurétt Round Up:
From Hvammur Farm in the North we follow good riding tracks until we meet the Icelanders who have been gathering horses already for some days. We join them and help driving the herd down to the Víðidalstungurétt corral. When this task has been fulfilled the locals celebrate the successful round-ups with a ball “réttardansleikur” and we are welcome to join in the fun. The next day the horses get sorted. Experience the excitement of horses and men when the horses and foals are selected from the herd and returned to their rightful owners.
 

Accomodation

Accommodations
These are stationary rides so nights will be spent at the same accommodation throughout the trips.

Description
During the Skrapatungurétt and Víðidalstungurétt Round-ups you will be accommodated at Hvammur Farm, in the beautiful Vatnsdalur Valley. The farmhouse was renovated 4 years ago and has a hot tub in the garden with a view over the river. There are 6 dormitory style bedrooms (2-4 beds per room) that can accommodate up to 20 guests. Facilities are shared and include 3 washrooms and 3 showers. There is no Wi-Fi connection but cellphone coverage is usually available.

Room Occupancy
Single room are not available on this trip.


Meals
During the ride full board is provided.

The menu consists of a large breakfast and traditional Icelandic meals (fish or lamb).
All riders make their own packed lunch from the breakfast table

Dietary Restrictions
Vegetarian meals are available if requested when booking.

This trip includes and can accommodate special dietary requests.

Riding

Riding Experience
This tour is a great riding experience that is suitable for intermediate riders. You need to be comfortable and in control at all paces, have a firm seat, and feel comfortable riding for up to 7 hours per day. Riders are expected to ride regularly and be capable of handling horses in an open country. Riding days can be as long as up to 35 km in the saddle so you should be in good physical condition and have a basic knowledge of horsemanship. You will get a thorough introduction into the gaits of the Icelandic horse and feel the Tölt, the extremely soft traveling gate of the Icelandic horse.

Riding Gear – Disinfect!
Riding gear (riding trousers, jackets, etc.) needs to be washed (40°C) or dry cleaned. Items which cannot be washed or dry cleaned (riding boots, riding hats) need to disinfected at least 5 days prior to arriving in Iceland. The Icelandic Veterinary Authority recommends the broad-spectrum disinfectant Virkon S for disinfection. Used riding gloves, whips, saddles, bridles, chaps and other used leather gear may not be brought into the country.
Please understand that these precautions are necessary because there are no contagious animal diseases in Iceland. Horses are not vaccinated and are therefore susceptible to infectious agents from abroad. Please help us to protect Iceland’s fragile nature!
We provide saddle bags, rain wear and safety helmet.

Tack & Riding Style
The tack used for Icelandic horses is slightly different then the tack ordinarily used for other breeds.
The saddle is built close to a dressage saddle and has a relatively flat seat. Saddles come with plain or quilted seats. On longer rides, a crupper helps keeping the saddle in place. Riding style used on Icelandic horses is close to English riding style, but stirrups are worn long.
Bits used are mostly simple snaffles. Bridles have a detachable noseband and clip on reins.

The Farmers
The real connoisseurs of the local terrain and history. We make sure that each tour has its own charm and is organized by the local expert, the farmer, and his family. They use their own horses and ride through the part of the country they know so well.
Our farmers have over 30 years of experience in leading riding groups through Iceland.

Herd of Horses
On this ride, you will be riding several days (except for two days) with a free running herd of horses. Herding along free running horses is the traditional way of travelling in Iceland, since horses are changed at least once a day on longer tours. You get to ride a variety of horses. 

Horses
The Icelandic horse is best known for its four-beat smooth gait, the “tölt”, which is very comfortable for the rider, especially on a longer tour.  Riding an Icelandic horse in its native habitat land is an authentic riding experience. The horses are especially chosen for this trip and are suited even for riders who have not had much riding experience. 

Itinerary

Sample Itinerary: Skrapatungurétt Horse Round-Up - subject to changes

Day 1 (Thursday): Arrival & Introductory Ride
Pick up between 07:30 - 08:30 am from pick up points in Reykjavik (www.busstop.is). Please be ready at the earliest pick up time and be ready in your riding clothes. Transfer by bus to Hvammur Farm, where we meet horses and guides. On our way to the north we visit a factory outlet for woollen goods.
We start our ride in Vatnsdalur valley, a beautiful valley that is the setting of the Vatnsdæla-Saga. We ride on the eastern side of Vatnsdalur valley, past Hvammsfoss waterfall, surrounded by impressive basalt columns. The horses rest close to Stóra - Giljá Farm and we return to Hvammur Farm, home of our host Haukur, for our overnight stay.
Riding approx. 20 km
Meals included: Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Hvammur Farm


Day 2 (Friday): Stóra-Giljá Farm to Björnsólfsstaðir Farm
After rejoing with our horses, we start our ride along the shore of Lake Húnavatn, following the expensive salmon fishing river Laxá á Ásumm on our way to Blönduós village. Here, we cross the glacier fed river Blanda on a bridge and continue to Björnsólfsstaðir Farm in Langadalur valley. This farm belongs to Haukur’s grandfather who is known for his storytelling and warm personality.
Riding approx. 30 km
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Hvammur Farm


Day 3 (Saturday): Gathering horses in Skrapatungurétt
We meet up with our horses again at Farm Strjúgsstaðir. Today we meet the farmers coming down from the mountains where they already spent some time gathering the horses in their summer pastures. Hundreds of horses are coming down from the highlands and we participate in herding them to the round up place: Skrapatungurétt. Join in the singing of the farmers, celebrating this great event of the fall during this long riding day.
Riding approx. 45 km
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Hvammur Farm


Optional (not included in the tour price):
"Stóðréttardansleikur" dance at Blönduós, where everybody relaxes after the excitement of the day and celebrates yet another successful round up.

Day 4 (Sunday): Sorting of the horses and driving the herds to their home pastures
Our day starts at the round up place Skrapatungurétt where horses are sorted out. Experience the excitement and view beautiful horses while joining in this great event. When the horses are sorted, we participate in returning some of them to their meadows at their home farms. Dinner at Hvammur Farm and time to share our personal experience on this riding adventure with our fellow riders.
Riding approx. 25 km
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Hvammur Farm


Day 5 (Monday): Departure
Departure from the North and return to Reykjavík. Approx. arrival in Reykjavik for 1:00pm.
Meals included: Breakfast

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Sample Itinerary: Víðidalstungurétt Horse Round-Up - subject to changes

Day 1 (Wednesday): Arrival & Introductory Ride
Pick up between 07:30 – 08:30 am from pick up points in Reykjavik (www.busstop.is). Please be ready in your riding clothes. Transfer by bus from Reykjavík to Hvammur Farm, where we meet horses and guides. We start our ride through Vatnsdalur valley, a beautiful valley that is the setting of the Vatnsdæla-Saga. We ride along the banks of River Vatnsdalsá before crossing over to the western side of the valley. Our ride ends at Sveinsstaðir Farm and we return to Hvammur Farm for our overnight stay.
Riding approx. 25 km
Meals included: Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Hvammur Farm


Day 2 (Thursday): Sveinsstaðir Farm to Dæli Farm 
This long and exciting riding day. We go alongside the Hóp lagoon and across the Gljúfurá River, through the friendly countryside of Vestur-Hóp and into the beautiful valley Víðidalur. We follow Víðidalsá River to Dæli Farm where we will leave the horses. We return to Hvammur farm for our overnight stay. The outdoor hot tub is waiting, as well as a hearty dinner.
Riding approx. 40 km
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Hvammur Farm


Day 3 (Friday): Gathering the horses at Víðidalstungheiði
Today, we ascend towards the highland plateau (Víðidalstunguheiði) and meet the horses coming down from their pastures into the highlands. We enjoy a warm lunch at a mountain shelter before we join the farmers in driving the herd down from the mountains. Before ending our ride at Dæli Farm we stop at Kolugili Farm for refreshments.
Riding approx. 32 km (8-9 hours including lunch and coffee breaks)
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Hvammur Farm


Day 4 (Saturday): Víðidalstungurétt Horse Round Up
Our day starts at the round up place, Víðidalstungurétt, where horses are sorted out. An auction is held right on the spot and we can join the farmers in their joyful singing, celebrating the return of their horses.
In the afternoon, we join up with our horses close to Borgarvirki and ride towards Lake Hóp. Feel the excitement of the horses as they reach the open plain. Our trail leads us right across Lake Hóp, Iceland’s fifth biggest lake, on a safe track across the water. We ride past Thingeyrar, a place of great historic importance and into Vatnsdalur valley. It is time to say goodbye to the horses.
Riding approx. 30 km
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Hvammur Farm


Optional (not included in the tour price):
"Stóðréttardansleikur" dance at Víðihlíð, where everybody relaxes after the excitement of the day and celebrates yet another successful round up.

Day 5 (Sunday): Departure
Departure from the North and return to Reykjavík. Approx. arrival at Reykjavik for 2:00pm.
Meals included: Breakfast


Rates and Dates for Horse Round Up

Rates include:

Accommodations: made up beds in shared rooms, meals, bus drive from Reykjavik to the farm, rain wear, water bottle, saddle bag, riding helmet, 4 riding days - 120 km

Packages and Options



  • SeasonYearDescriptionEUR ~US$
    A
    20205 day trip, AP Skrapatungurétt€1790$2060
  • B
    20205 day trip, AP Víðidalstungurétt€1710$1965
The US Dollar Rate is Based on Exchange Rate of 1.15

* prices are per person based on double/twin occupancy

Transfer and Other Charges:



 Description
2020 Pick up at BSÍ Bus station or at Reykjavik official bus stops near your accommodation on Day 1 between 07:30- 8:30am
2020 Children's discount (under 12) - 25% off

Season Tour Dates  Min / MaxReserve
A 2020 09/17 - 09/21 5d / 4n 5 day trip, AP Skrapatunguré... 8 /16 Reserve
B 2020 09/30 - 10/04 5d / 4n 5 day trip, AP Víðidalstungu... 8 /16 Reserve

Dates Note:

Rates do not include:

Alcoholic beverages (can be bought at Duty Free ahead of time)
Optional: Dance at the community centre in Blönduós or Víðihlíð, entrance fee to be paid locally.

Other Info
Meeting: Keflavik Airport
Airport: Keflavik Airport
Transfer: From Keflavik airport included

Climate:
                                            Blönduós area


Month

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

Average High Temperature (°F)

34

34

35

40

46

52

55

55

50

42

37

35

Average Low Temperature (°F)

23

23

24

29

36

41

45

45

39

33

27

24

Average High Temperature (°C)

1

1

2

4

8

11

13

13

10

6

3

2

Average Low Temperature (°C)

-5

-5

-4

-2

2

5

7

7

4

0

-3

-5

Source: NOAA

  
Seasons
As its name suggests, Iceland is cold, but not as cold as might be expected; thanks to the passing warm waters of the Gulf Stream, which regulate the climate. Its average mid-winter temperatures are no lower than those in New York City. The city's coastal location does, however, also mean it is prone to wind, and gales are common in winter. Reykjavik is also a very wet city, having on average 213 rainy days out of the year, with spring having slightly more sunny days! The south is the wettest part of the country. Coastal areas tend to experience winter gales and are generally windy.

Icelandic weather is known to be unpredictable and changing several times a day. A beautiful day can suddenly turn windy and rainy (and vice versa). Travelers to Iceland should be prepared for anything and dress in layers.

Winter
The average January temperature is 23°F (-5°C). From mid-November until the end of January, in the darkness of winter, the country only experiences a few hours of daylight each day.

Summer
The summer temperatures range from 29°F (4°C) at night to as high as 77°F (25°C) during the day.  During the summer months there is almost continuous daylight; early spring and late autumn feature long twilights.

The Northern Lights are often visible in autumn and early winter.

What To Bring:
You should be ready for all kinds of weather as it can change very quickly.
We provide you with good rain-clothes, a riding helmet and a saddle bag (where you can keep the picnic lunch, a small camera, extra pair of gloves etc.).

Bring bags rather than hard cover suitcases. Pack light because transport space is limited.

You should be ready for all kinds of weather as the weather can change very quickly. We recommend that the following items are included when preparing for our longer tours.
• Knee high riding boots -  water resistant/ waterproof
• Warm jacket or overcoat.
• Warm (woolen or fleece) sweater.
• Warm socks and gloves, at least two pairs, scarf and a cap or hat.
• Warm underwear, long if possible (protects also against chafing).
• For the ladies – sports bra.
• Riding trousers.
• Track suit.
• A pair of slippers to wear in the accommodation (Icelanders take off their shoes when entering a house).
• Swim suits, towels, soap etc.
• A small camera to take with you on the ride.
• Band aids and second skin plasters for chaffing.
• Insect repellent, gnat net head cover.
• Chocolate or glucose sweets for strenuous riding days.
• Sun lotion for face and lips (with high sun factor).
• Sunglasses.
• For those with sensitive eyes/contact lenses, goggles.
• Ear plugs. Some people snore!

Disinfecting of the riding gear
It is important to follow the regulation regarding the disinfecting of used riding clothes. Riding gear (riding trousers, jackets, etc.) needs to be washed (40°C) or dry cleaned. Items which can not be washed or dry cleaned (riding boots, riding hats) need to be disinfected at least five days prior to arriving in Iceland. The Icelandic Veterinary Authority recommends the broad-spectrum disinfectant Virkon S for disinfection. Used riding gloves, whips, saddles, bridles and other used leather gear may not be brought into the country.
Please understand that these precautions are necessary because there are no contagious animal diseases in Iceland. Horses are not vaccinated and are therefore susceptible to infectious agents from abroad. Please help us to protect Iceland's fragile nature! For further information please take a look at: http://www.mast.is/english/frontpage/import-export/import/ridingequipment/ 

Cameras:
We recommend to bring a small camera that can be taken in a pocket, a waist/hip bag or in the saddle bag.
Large camera equipment we can not allow on the horses for security reasons. Tours are operated with a free running herd - at speed of tölt or trot for most of the day. We take breaks to relax the horses and then it is possible to take pictures. While on the horse taking pictures is rather difficult since the horses are constantly moving. Because of the herd instinct it is not possible to stop an individual horse, they all will follow each other.
You can leave larger Digital SLR with your luggage at the farm or put it in their luggage that will be transferred to the new accommodation.