Destined to be another long day, we were up good and early, having our last breakfast together and building our sandwiches for the day as per the usual routine, but the air was quiet.
We had lost a few of our riders the night before, this was a fun trip, and they were sufficiently sore that a last day didn’t appeal to them, and we would just be re-tracing the route from our first day (only backwards) so it was unlikely to be as exciting. Fair enough, I am sure they got some much needed rest and perhaps some fun day trips!
The horses were rounded up into what looked like a sorting facility… perhaps for cattle? The winds were strong, in fact they had been steadily growing stronger every day but once again we had the sun on our face so we couldn’t complain. Really it had been 6 days in a row of perfect weather, something one rarely expects to say when they speak of the weather in Iceland.
A sturdy looking grey gelding was one of the first to be caught and offered(just my type!). I am not sure if I was given a name for him, but if I did, I promptly forgot it – Perhaps I will call him Bentley North for the sake of this post. I volunteered eagerly, as I had a technique called “Don’t pick the hotel horses”. I may have mentioned previously, but many of the riders didn’t like the horses that came from the hotel – little steering or brakes, lack of fitness but super fresh at the same time. They were good tourist horses for most of the hotel patrons I am sure, just doing what the group does, no need for steering or brakes, but for those who really RIDE, we tend to like a little more control 🙂
Then we all mounted, and let them loose. I stayed at the back of the herd, Bentley North flipping his head around with excitement and determination to join the pack. We followed a dirt road for a while, edging some beautiful cliffs and rock formations for a while. The road eventually turned and we headed into endless grasslands with a winding river and mountains well in the distance.
We passed an Icelandic flag, it seemed suitable imagery for our last day of riding.
We came to a small farm, with wrapped hay bales, corrals, and most importantly… an adorable foal!!!! We had a nice rest here, scratching the momma and playing with the cutie’s lips.
We remounted and carried on. The wind continuing to pick up, we were now in more plains. The good dry weather we had for the previous days was showing with the extreme dust. We all raised our buffs, tucking them into our sunglasses as best we could, and sometimes just closing our eyes and hoping we stayed on the road (we did).
Eventually we turned around and got onto a more major road and the dust settled, but the dust did seem endless! We saw several horse and rider crossing signs and turned up a driveway to a beautiful stable, filled with tonnes of beautiful horses!
We were told it was a show horse training facility, and after saying goodbye to our horses for the time being, we were invited into the stables. There was a large indoor arena with a round pen, a groom was longing a horse inside. There were beautiful stalls. Then we were ushered into the common room – which was filled with trophies and medals. We were in the midst of champions!
We perused through the coffee table books and then headed out to the arena to watch the training. There was a comfy couch… we just sannnnk in. What privilege to be here!