All along the drive from Reykjavik to Vatnajökull and back, the roadside was full of idyllic green pastures teeming with Icelandic horses and sheep. We had seen so many photos of the horses here, with their beautiful silky manes and lovely earth tone hides, that we must have stopped more than 10 to 15 times on the side of the road to get closer to them.
Every time we stopped on the side of the road and got out of our cars - the horses would all come quickly to check us out. There was usually a fence and a gully separating the road from the horses, so we weren’t able to initially get close to them. But I’m the kind of guy that needs to get up close and personal, so we found a way through a couple gullies and fences to get closer! Just be prepared to get your feet wet or have a sturdy pair of waterproof boots! 😀
Fair warning, Icelandic horses LOVE humans and will come trotting over immediately when you jump over the fence. I was actually a bit intimidated at first to be suddenly surrounded by 5-6 horses that were WAY bigger and stronger than me. But I quickly saw how friendly and docile they were. Icelandic horses, which I discovered later, are very social animals used to being in the presence of humans. They were probably just wondering if I had any treats to give them actually. 🍎
Icelandic horses are shorter than horses you’re used to seeing. Some might even mistake them for ponies, but Icelandic horses are super strong and are made for riding. It’s actually an insult to refer to them as ponies! 😱 Whatever they lack in height they make up for in their gorgeous flowing manes! 🐴
Some fun facts about Icelandic Horses
They take their breed purity seriously in Iceland - in the 10th century Icelanders stopped importing horses into the country to keep the breed pure. In fact, any Icelandic horse that leaves the country can never come back in.
Some horses change their colors according to season. I guess you can say that some Icelandic horses like to keep up with the latest fashion trends and colors by mixing it up every season?
The oldest Icelandic horse, named Tulle, lived until he was 56 years old!
If you missed the previous days here they are: