Unicorns and Vikings

Yes, it is a blurry picture. I took it while I was riding  a horse.

It was my first horse ride after almost twenty years, after a minor fall from one as a child left me traumatized. But one should get back on eventually. As a kid, I fantasized of owning a stable full of unicorns and lions, whom I would ride to school every day.

This photo taken just about a year ago.

Icelandic horses are a hardy bunch; the laws of Iceland prevent horses from being imported and exported horses are not allowed back in. Developed from ponies taken from Scandinavia in the 9th and 10th centuries, these horses are mythology personified—one can imagine Vikings riding them through the punishing snow and terrain. While these horses may look like ponies because their legs are shorter than other breeds’, it is considered bad manners to comment as such, so don’t say I didn’t warn you. Besides, their endurance to the cold, especially in comparison to mine, makes them a worthy adversary to the toughest of stallions.

Astride a horse on Laxnes Horse Farm, a wonderful family-owned business who love what they do, I found it easy to see the wonder that is the Icelandic landscape. My horse, Leiri, was a quiet yet sometimes spirited one. It is a remarkable experience to tour the earth with a living being beneath you with its own temperament, instead of a car where one has full control. Leiri would go off on a trot despite my pleas to slow down, and once when a horse got scared, she wouldn’t go anywhere as well. It was definitely one of the most exhilarating experiences, to be riding a horse whose ancestors probably gave warriors a ride, on the dried lava and rocky plains of Iceland, where the sun would wake up and make the sky bleed pink and purple.

It was just what the Vikings would have done.

1 comment
  1. I love the Icelandic horses. Unfortunately they’re not any easier to ride than any other horse! : )

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