Laxnes: A Trip To The Icelandic Old West

Laxnes: A Trip To The Icelandic Old West

Photos by
Natsha Nandabhiwat

The fauna in Iceland is much more than whales, puffins and sheep. Yes, if you check around you will find a very special and loyal animal among the other creatures of the island: The legendary Icelandic horse. Riding one of these marvellous equine specimens while discovering the beauty of the Reykjavík’s surroundings is an unforgettable experience that newcomers to the country shouldn’t miss at all. You can find many great options for horseback riding in Reykjavík, and Laxnes Horse Farm is the one we’re trying out for this article! So put your boots on and lets go horseback riding on the ‘Laxnes Special Trip’.

The people of Laxnes are very professional, and they pick you up at the door of your accommodation at around 9:15 in the morning. There is a short drive to Mosfellsbær, where the farm is located, surrounded by kilometres and kilometres of countryside.

Natsha Laxnes Horses

Becoming a member of ‘the ponderosa’

As soon as you get to the ranch the nice staff provides—at no extra cost— everything you need for the ride, from helmets to the most appropriate clothing since it might be raining or so windy even during summer (and especially in the fall). This is Iceland, what did you expect?

Then it is time for a first look at our new best friend for the next couple of hours. The Icelandic horse is quite smaller than its cousins from continental Europe, but on the other side it’s very strong and trustworthy. Whether you are a newbie or an experienced rider, it really doesn’t matter because people from Laxnes will find the horse that best suits your skills. Since it was my first time and I was a bit nervous, my guide offered me a quiet and friendly horse called Sokkur (“Sock”). He was dark, almost black, except for one of his legs that was completely white, bringing to mind a sock (hence the name).

It is amazing how well these animals are trained. At the first sign of our guides, the whole group start walking in a row. You always feel safe during the ride because it seems they know what they have to do at every moment, it was at times like riding a merry-go-round. The only complaint I could find is that it was so crowded that the animals were very close one to each other, not leaving much space between them.

Most of the trip is done in a walk gait, suitable for relaxing and enjoying the fantastic nature of the countryside that surrounds Reykjavík, with a nice view of the city in the distance. But don’t misunderstand, you won’t fall asleep; from time to time the horses begin trotting, making the experience much more exciting.

Time for real fun

The most enjoyable part of the ride was the return to the ranch. After stopping a couple of times to feed the animals with herbs we find on our way and to stretch our numb legs, it is time to go back to the farm. At this point the guides divide the group in two, one for those who want to continue the trip in a relaxing pace and another one for the most intrepid who feel confident enough to ride their horse at a higher speed. As I am a risk taker, I decide to go with the adventurous team though it was my first time riding. Wow, what can I say about galloping with my dear Sokkur through the Icelandic countryside; it is such a speechless experience. The wind caressing your face while your horse gallops smoothly in the middle of the nature, it is priceless. Even though you are a novice you shouldn’t feel scared at all, these animals are so well trained that they seem to read your mind, knowing at all times what you want to do.

I can’t find a best way of ending this amazing immersion into the world of the friendly Icelandic horse.  Yes, I have no hesitation in recommending this trip to those who want to be a character of ‘Bonanza’ just for a while and safely. No guns are allowed.

The ‘Laxnes Special’ trip is offered by Laxnes Horse Farm for 8.000 ISK (6.500 for children under 12). It can be booked at www.laxnes.is or by calling +354 566 6179.