Thursday the 20th of April, we celebrated „sumardagurinn fyrsti“; the first day of summer. This day is a national holiday in Iceland, on which we celebrate the end of the 6 dark months, and welcome the next 6 bright months. It is already almost not getting dark anymore here during the night now. Although the sun still sets, twilight is very long and so bright that the dark hours are not pitch dark anymore. A good reason to celebrate, we‘d say!! And with great temperatures between 15-20 degrees C and lots of sunshine, we enjoyed the day mainly outside and ended it with a BBQ and eating/sitting outside until 8pm. We‘re looking forward to another season of riding tours, meeting old and new friends, and having lots of fun. But actually, we had a lot of fun already in February / March on our wintertours!
There were 4 tours this winter; 3-4 ridingdays each. Two of the 4 were special editions. One was the „Horses On Ice“ version we have organised already for many years. The other one was the „Riding & Knitting“ version, which took place for the first time in March. And because it was a succes, we have already scheduled a 2nd (November ´23) and a 3rd (March ´24).
During the first wintertour and the Horses On Ice tour we had amazing weather. It was well above freezingpoint so all snow melted and we were riding in the mud instead of the snow. But as it has been seriously cold earlier in the winter, the ice at lake Mývatn was super thick and no problem at all to ride on. The day we went for the ride on the ice, it still was about 70 cm thick.
So there we went; no wind, sunshine, temperatures well above 0. Not even our toes got cold! It simply could not have been better. Our group of 15 riders joined several (groups of) other riders, both locals and tourists, for the ride over the ice to Hrútey (a small island in the lake) where a car was waiting with snacks and hot chocolate for all the riders. The horses always get this extra spark while riding on the ice which gives the riders the most amazing tölt experience. Everybody was smiling and having their best ride ever.
After the Horses On Ice tour the weather changed and the snow came back. Snow and wind. And more snow and more wind. So instead of riding in the mud, we were again wading through lots of snow and some tracks even were impassable again. The first ride of the regular wintertour even was during some blizzard conditions. Freezing cold but still kind of fun to experience. Luckily we had our small ridinghall to let the horses cool down & dry up again after the ride a bit!
During the Riding & Knitting tour (the last of the 4) the weather got a little better, but by that time there was much snow again, so even more trails blocked. Nevertheless it was a fun tour, with good rides and enough time left for some knitting. We also visited a sheepfarm with a small woolshop aside. The sheepfarmer there dyes her own wool. Both with natural colors and with very bright colors, which was really nice to see. Several from the group went home with some new wool / new ideas for knitting sweaters (and socks)!