Iceland Horse Drive

Want a true adventure in the Land of Fire and Ice? Saddle up for an Icelandic horse drive with local farmers.

by Darley Newman

On an Iceland riding holiday, I drove a herd of 50 horses to Gullfoss, a huge waterfall, in Iceland. I have to admit, since I had only just gotten to Iceland and ridden Icelandics once, I was a little nervous, as we took off at a fast tolt with 50 horses behind me and about ten other Icelandic riders yelping at the top of their lungs, as we took off from a trail and into the lava fields.

I had heard good things about these horse rides with farmers and the traditional horse drive. In Iceland, people use these horse drives to help train their horses. It’s also traditional to ride with more than one horse, so that you can change mounts and keep a good pace over longer distances. During the summer when it is light for most of each day, these horse drives can happen twice a week, something that I had trouble fathoming as we stopped traffic several times and took off into the lava fields.

Asa, a wild blond woman who is a LOT of fun to ride with, was in the lead with me, coaching me a bit as we rode. It was a wild ride. At one point we caused a traffic jam, as our horses basically took over the road. When I say THE road, I mean Hwy 1, Iceland’s main road. It’s not exactly busy, but it is the main highway, so it was funny to see the horses claiming ownership, as opposed to cars.

My horse was so excited during part of the ride. We kept breaking from a tolt to a canter and back. It was such a rush.

At Gullfoss, there was a “horse parking lot,” a paddock just for the horses. We enjoyed the walking down to the Golden Waterfalls and seeing other tourists reactions as we pulled up with 50 horses and then grabbed a bite to eat. Only in Iceland.

Learn about equestrian vacations in Iceland and book a horse riding vacation in Iceland, including the Iceland Horse Drive, at