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Langhus Farm: riding an Icelandic horse in North Iceland

by Elisa Flitter Fever
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Riding an Icelandic horse on Iceland has been a long-term dream of mine. Luckily, despite of the COVID-19 tragedy, travel dreams still come true every now and then. I went horse riding with Langhus Farm, located in the Skagafjordur municipality of North Iceland this week and I had a wonderful time! Hence, I liked riding an Icelandic horse so much that I am going to look into riding one at home too!

Two Icelandic horses in a field
Icelandic horses are so sweet and pretty (photo credits Theodor Vasile)

Langhus Farm

I read some excellent reviews of Langhus Farm, so checked the possibilities and the owner Lukka replied promptly and friendly. There are various tours at Langhus Farm. “We provide a personalized adventure” is what they promise and I totally agree. I choose the Black Beach Ride of approximately two hours. Not too long as I did not ride a horse since New Zealand… The effect of new COVID-19 restrictions for travelers coming to Iceland resulted in a private ride for me with guide Lara from Germany. She works with the Langhus Farm since COVID-19 hit Brazil, ending her world trip.

Langhus Farm is home to about 75-80 Icelandic horses. The breed is very pure as it was not mixed with other breeds since the Vikings introduced these cute, brave horses to Iceland. Icelandic horses might not be tall, they are super strong! Where riding schools in The Netherlands quickly put you on a huge Belgian work horse when you are not a size zero; the Icelandic horses do not shun for a ride with someone like me on their back. Just don’t call them a pony OK, that’s an insult!

Riding on the black beach near Langhus Farm with Askur
Riding on the black beach near Langhus Farm with Askur

Icelandic horses

My horse’s name is Askur (Icelandic for Adam), one of the oldest horses of Langhus Farm. He’s 22-years-old (if I remember correctly) yet age definitely did not slow this buddy down! Not too slow, not to fierce, a lovely character I must say. Apparently Icelandic horses are known for that. Being born and bred in groups who stay outside during the entire year, Icelandic horses learn to take care of each other from an early age. This clearly reflects in their friendliness towards humans too. Icelandic horses can get older than most other horse breeds, apparently a 35-years-old Icelandic horse is not uncommon. 

The Icelandic horses are used to rough terrains. No worries, they can easily carrying you on their back while walking up rocky roads or hills. Horses are known to go a bit crazy on the beach, racing along the coast line, but these Icelandic horses are well-trained and remain calm, unless the guide and rider instruct otherwise. Safety is an important thing at Langhus Farm. In combination with the friendly character of Icelandic horses, a great setting for both beginners and experienced riders. Simply enjoy a lovely ride outside with a beautiful scenery of sea and mountains!

Group of Icelandic horses on the Langhus Farm property
Group of Icelandic horses on the Langhus Farm property

Get ready, set and go!

A cup of tea, water, coffee and a helmet are provided. You cannot bring your own riding equipment (in case you have some at home) because the Icelandic border control wants to protect the national horse population against the potential introduction of new infectious viruses and diseases on the island. This also means that whenever an Icelandic horse leaves the country, it will never come back to Iceland ever again.

Gladly I brought my own riding gloves and was allowed to use them. A wind and water proof jacket, fleece sweater, soft-fabric skinny pants and hiking shoes complete the riding outfit. Oh and forget about bringing an apple as a treat for the horses – they don’t know apples and refuse to eat them LOL. The horse will be saddled up for you by a staff member of Langhus Farm, it is really full service here!

A riding helmet is provided by Langhus Farm
A riding helmet is provided by Langhus Farm

Riding style

The horse riding style at Langhus Farm is English, not western. This means for example holding the reins with both hands. With Trot, Tölt and Gallop you can choose to either sit/stand or just sit, whatever you prefer.

Did you know Icelandic horses have five different gaits (speeds)? Besides the regular three any horse has (Walk, Trot and Gallop), Icelandic horses also have the Tölt and the Flying pace. I felt blessed to experience all five of them during this ride. Only a few Icelandic horses cannot perform the Tölt. To start the Tölt when walking, you shorten the reins and give a short verbal sign. There is another verbal sign to start walking. Your guide will explain it all, it is definitely not difficult, Icelandic horses are very easy going.

This is one of the five most magical and unique horse rides around the world I have ever made.

Photobombed by a horse on a black beach on Iceland
Photobombed by a horse on a black beach on Iceland

Bird protection area

Around Langhus Farm there are mostly holiday houses, a black beach and a bird protection area. This is one of the places where it is made comfortable for Eider ducks to lay their eggs in summer every year. These ducks are known for filling their nests with their own soft and warm chest feathers. To keep the eggs safe and warm.

After the eggs come out, the Eider ducks leave their nests and locals can collect them. To be processed into artic clothing and a special type of duvet called Eiderdown. The feathers are exclusive and have unique characteristics. One Eiderdown duvet can easily cost around USD 8K, sometimes even double!

Female Eider duck on nest
Female Eider duck on her nest (photo credits Jonathan Cannon)

Contact Langhus Farm

Although we stayed at an actual horse hotel at the beginning of our trip, I decided to leave the best for last – to go horse riding in the North of Iceland. Obviously there are more places to go horse riding on Iceland. Honestly I cannot compare as this was the only place I visited here so far. But you will just have to trust me on this one; that if you want to go horse riding on Iceland, you will have to go to Langhus Farm for sure! When still in doubt, just check out the great reviews on Tripadvisor. My 2-hour ride was ISK 14,000 by the way – worth every cent!

Want more information or make a booking? Do not hesitate to contact Langhus Farm as per below. The easiest ways are via email or Facebook Messenger. Please tell Lukka I said hi!

Langhús Horse Tours

How to get to Langhus Farm

We stayed at the wonderful stylish Siglo Hotel in the nearby harbor town Siglufjörður. It is half-an-hour drive from Siglo Hotel to Langhus Farm. You drive along the beautiful coast line of North Iceland. On the 76 there is an 830m-tunnel, the road is a mix of asphalt and gravel, including some sharp curves, a 14% deep dive and most parts lack guardrails… So not really for the inexperienced, soft-hearted type of drivers, but absolutely do-able in summer (I did it and survived). Google Maps below directed me to the right location of the farm, it is not difficult to find. Just off the 76 and 788.

Alternatively, you could stay at the lovely Soti Lodge, which is only a few minutes’ drive to Langhus Farm. The closest international airport is in Akureyri called Akureyrarflugvöllur (AEY, 115 km, 1.5-2 hours). However, most international flights will arrive/depart at/from the main international airport on Iceland, which is located near Reykjavik, called Keflavíkurflugvöllur in Keflavik (KEF, 400 km, 5 hours).

A piece of gravel road on the 76 between Siglufjörður and Langhus Farm
Gravel road on the 76 between Siglufjörður and Langhus Farm
The hot tub of Siglo Hotel looks inviting
The hot tub of Siglo Hotel looks inviting, right?!

Rent a car

Renting a car in Iceland is a must!

Personally, when it concerns renting a car, I would recommend Sunny Cars, an all-inclusive, worry free rental concept with affordable, fair prices, great service and no unpleasant surprises upon pick up or drop off. I am a big fan and use them all the time! In most countries the 2nd driver, free cancellation up to 4 hours in advance and all-risk insurance are standard included. Ideal, I use them all the time!

Map Langhus Farm Iceland

This map includes places and spots mentioned in this article (and more). This one is ‘smartphone friendly’; you can easily use it via the Google Maps app. Click the icon at the top left to open the menu and see the categories. To adapt the map to your own preferences and interests, (de)select a category. Via Google Drive you can copy the map to your own My Google Maps account.

Do you like horse riding? Have you ever been to Iceland? Is it also your dream to ride an Icelandic horse on Iceland? Please feel free to share your story, additional tips, friendly comment or questions below.

Interested to read more articles about Iceland? Check out the Iceland Blog Archives! More articles will follow soon.

Icelandic horse with foal near Vestrahorn Iceland
Icelandic horse with foal near Vestrahorn

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Last Updated on 07/25/2021 by Elisa Flitter Fever

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