Published December 28, 2016
A farmer in central Iceland is at the end of his rope due to the repeated feeding of his horses by tourists, and the Icelandic tour guides who not only enable but encourage them.
Vísir reports that Margeir Ingólfsson, a farmer living in Bláskógabyggð, set up a sign just outside his property on Christmas Eve which reads “DO NOT TOUCH OR FEED THE HORSES”. This he felt compelled to do, as tour buses often stop outside his property, disembarking tourists who will often pet and feed his horses.
“The vast majority of responsible people in tourism respect this and completely understand,” he told reporters. “But there are always some black sheep in the group, like in others.”
By way of example, he mentions that he was accused of being rude by one tour bus driver for not allowing tourists to pet and feed the horses.
Icelandic horses are beautiful creatures, and so one can be forgiven for being tempted to pet them, especially when they walk right up to the fence out of curiosity to get a better look at the strangers stopping by. However, horses are not omnivores, and some foods could give the horses digestive problems. Horses can also react in a skittish manner if a stranger tries to touch them, and may bite.
Grapevine advises that if you do stop to look at someone else’s horses, enjoy the sight of them, but do respect the farmers tending to them – don’t pet or feed them. Just take pictures instead, or enjoy the visual display of their majesty.