Anita handed me the reins and said “This is Oliver… he is old”
Oh no! Had I bombed with Siggi? Are they giving me a nag as punishment?
I hopped on, having been told he could go front or back, and let him decide. We went straight for the front… WAY front. Oliver may be old, but he aint no nag! Another horse with a lovely tolt and forward and happy. Very happy, he seemed to thoroughly enjoy his job. What a pleasure this horse was!
We followed around a river for a while, before eventually finding a place to cross. There was some mild confusion along the river beach where the horses started to wander. Most of us didnt have a clue how to herd the horses, so it took our guides herding us to get things back in order. The beach was sticky, and difficult to manage. Thankfully everyone remained safe through mild chaos, though I remember Sandra’s horse was giving her a hard time.
It should be noted, Halli, our head guide (who Amy called the John Wayne of Iceland) managed to control both the herd, and us stupid humans, expertly. All with a cigarette in his mouth, a smile on his face, and of course was completely relaxed throughout.
Then came the next big event: the water crossing! Oliver absolutely loved the water, so much he must be part duck. He jumped right in and splashed away happily. I was very happy for my waterproof boots.
After the river we continued for a little bit, with of course one pit stop in the middle to let the herd graze. The whole leg was about 14 km before we brought the horses to a small farm, untacked them, and released them once again to the world!
The bus picked us up and drove us a few minutes down the road to where we would stay for the night: a school! Lots of benefits for ex-derby riders:
3) electrical outlets
4) our suitcases met us there!
The men prepared us a lovely meal – I believe it was chili and rice. Yum yum! It really hit the spot after a brisk (14 degrees as opposed to the 35 degree Canadian summer) ride. At one point (I cant remember which stop it was) we had a very brief hailstorm, I think I caught some video on the gopro that (hopefully) showed the pencil eraser sized chunks of ice caught in the horses manes.
The ladies got to business with a self-made watering hole, and while it was still light out (because it stayed light until close to midnight!) we hit the sack.
Thats the end of Day 1. However, I do have another piece of media for you to play with if you want to waste some time: my GPS files!