Well…when I went out front of the hostel this morning to wait for the ride to the stable I stood by this obnoxious red mailbox. And I waited, and waited…finally I went inside to talk to the reception to find out what was up. The receptionist said the stable people had been in the building to look for me because they didn’t see me outside. The only time I left the stupid mailbox was to run inside to use the restroom as fast as possible because I was afraid to miss the ride. So they wanted to reschedule my ride until tomorrow, but Madre and I are due to take the Golden Circle tour (I think it’s of the volcano no one can spell, much less pronounce, and a glacier and maybe a geyser…not entirely sure) tomorrow so I couldn’t do that. Instead, I got a partial refund and decided to go on a shorter ride this afternoon (still for experienced people).
So I hop on the bus (which is large and has a considerable horse decal on it, not sure exactly how I missed that…but I also don’t know how the driver didn’t see me either in my bright blue jacket, obnoxious leggings, and hunter orange socks.) and off to the riding stable we go! Apparently, in Iceland the horse areas are conglomerations of many different private-owned barns in one area. So I may have accidentally wandered off onto someone else’s property to say hi to their yearlings (see the picture of the yak-looking beasties) as well as their stallion barn and petted their high-priced ponies. I guess I’m lucky I didn’t get caught, although I would have played the part of a dumb American tourist flawlessly if I had. I would have done it shamelessly as well because of ponies.
So finally my group (there’s a grand total of three of us) gets called out by our guide to get ponies. After asking how many years of riding experience I’ve had (twelve) and if I am okay riding a more forward horse (hell yes) by a stable hand, I am handed a cute little grulla gelding (one of my favorite horse colors!). I check the girth, saddle, bridle, legs, whatnot and mount up, and away we go!
I quickly got the fact that by describing the horse as “forward” what the people really meant was “hard in the mouth, impatient, and doesn’t like to respond to cues.” Well, I’m not going to go into all the technical stuff (you non-horsepeople can thank me) but by the end of the three-hour ride my horse went from all strung up and bracing against my every move to very relaxed and soft on the bit. He was traveling along on a loose rein (okay, when I was taking pictures half the time I didn’t have a hand on the reins. Let’s see you finagle a camera and a pony at the same time with my level of special. Yeah, that’s what I thought). Yes, I am patting myself on the back for a job well done.
Anyways, we rode along pathways that led to one of Iceland’s many lava fields (a mere five to six thousand years old), formed when a little volcano called Bjornhull (or something like that) lost its tacos. You could still clearly tell that you were riding across lava! So cool. There were also some great caves, a crevice with spring water bubbling up from like six feet down, and cool fences built in the early 1800s. Neat.
I think that’s about all I have for today. I hope it didn’t bore you all too much! If it did, please lodge any formal complaints with my secretary. Who may or may not be my horse. If you actually want him to listen to you, I recommend bringing him either a carrot, apple, or watermelon. Just saying.