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“Enquire which tour best suits your ability-and pray for sun!” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Eld Hestar Horseback Tours

Eld Hestar Horseback Tours
810 Hverageroi | Vollum, Hveragerdi, Iceland
+354 480 4800
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Ranked #4 of 8 Attractions in Hveragerdi
Attraction details
McLeod Hill, New Brunswick
Senior Contributor
38 reviews 38 reviews
5 attraction reviews
Reviews in 26 cities Reviews in 26 cities
32 helpful votes 32 helpful votes
“Enquire which tour best suits your ability-and pray for sun!”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 28, 2012

Keen to experience the unique joy of riding Icelandic horses in their natural environment, my adult son, his fiancee, (both raw beginners) and I (25 years of Pony Club, showing, 3-Day Eventing, trail, and pleasure riding--but not for 25 years) all booked the Meadows and Mountains tour in late September. After a week of incredibly beautiful weather, nature decided to rebalance the average that morning, but we took heart upon being fitted out with waterproof outwear to cover our warm winter clothes, and it was not raining when we mounted up and our full group of about 20 riders (only 2 of us experienced) and 2 guides left the stables, single file at a slow walk.

After about 20 minutes in the saddle following in line through a field, my d-i-l was experiencing a great deal of pain in one of her hips and, shortly after, when the group increased the pace to the tolt, the pain was so excruciating she had to abandon the tour and one of our guides escorted her back to the stables. At her instruction, my son and I carried on with the rest of the group, by which time the rain had begun to fall in earnest, and was soon pelting down so hard and the wind drove the slanting now sleet so forcefully it was difficult to see where we were going (although we had slowed to a walk again, and the horses mechanically followed in line with grim determination without requiring [and in many cases, apparently without responding to] any direction from their inexperienced riders.) We crossed a small stream (which must have been frightfully cold for the wading horses, particularly the shorter ones and a few which were sweating) and continued along our route following a paved road with only a few brief tolts on the trail to encourage visitors that there WAS hope of making it to the turn-around point, let alone back to the stable in time to meet our bus (the prospect of which, being warm and dry, became increasingly appealling to my son and me [and many other riders, too, judging from their increasingly disheartened postures and occasional regrouping/conspiratorial discussions].) The arrival of the guide who'd earlier had to leave the group helped increase the pace a little, which everyone seemed to welcome.

Fortunately, the weather did break shortly before we stopped beside a closed hut of some sort, which made the lack of refreshment we all could have done with less disappointing. (Our party had brought water, snacks, and a camera, but we were required to leave our knapsack in the stable; besides which, the group really needed a warm beverage in that weather!) Our genial guides ably assisted a few of the riders who needed to dismount to stretch their legs, rest their seats, and seek relief behind the shed, and took photographs of those who'd managed to bring cellphones or other small cameras. We would have paid for a picture of our experience, had there been an option to, as there'd been no time to snap one before we left as the group was moved quickly from the shuttlebus to tackroom, to the riding ring where we were given our mounts and (little did we know then) as soon as we arrived back at the farm we would be told to quickly dismount, move directly to the stable to remove the borrowed gear and collect our own, pay or hand in our vouchers, and rush straight to the shuttle which was idling and overdue to leave.

The final ½ hour or so, when we (and --more importantly!--the horses) could see we were making our way back the farm made the morning's experience a very good one, as the newbies no longer had to work at urging their mounts onwards (an exhausting and exasperating effort for a few) and, as the rain had cleared, we were able to enjoy looking around us at the impressive landscape.

As well as being hardy troopers, all the horses were well cared for, very calm, and well-tacked, and both our guides were extremely competent, friendly, and helpful. Highly recommend choosing a fair weather day, if at all possible, and suggest experienced riders enquire about more advanced tours which likely offer the ability to experience various gaits and see more of the area's incredible natural surroundings.

My son and I both enjoyed our rides, and we recommend this tour for inexperienced riders.

Visited September 2012
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24 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Japanese first
  • Swedish first
  • Any
English first
Guildford, England, United Kingdom
Contributor
18 reviews 18 reviews
8 attraction reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
“Lava Tour”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 25, 2012

We had rented a car for the day and so drove ourselves to the Lava Tour. Both my husband and I are intermediate riders. The instruction video we watched on arrival was helpful and clear, then they gave us helmets and boots and our horses were matched to our riding abilities. About 15 people were in our group with two instructors, a few were experienced (5 of us) and about 10 had never ridden before (I felt that these people were really taken good care of too). We walked and trotted together for some time, then stopped and split into two groups. The five of us in the experienced group got to canter and gallop and the instructor made sure that we were all happy with the speed we were going and it was a fantastic experience. The horses really were lovely and different to ride. When we go back to Iceland in a couple of years, we will take our kids on this tour too.

Visited September 2012
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Canada
Senior Contributor
25 reviews 25 reviews
3 attraction reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
“A nice trip for beginners”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 3, 2012

We took the half-day Heritage Tour today, and as two novice riders, were happy with the experience from start to finish. We were picked up on time from our Reykjavik hotel, provided with helmet and a brief training session before mounting our docile horses. We travelled through a local meadow, across a 15 foot wide stream, through a lava field and completed a wide circle on roads and paths back to the corral. There were five in the group and one guide. We did manage a few tolt gaits for short distances which was enough for us to experience, and then finished off the tour with coffee and cake at the hotel. After a short wait we were then driven back to our Reykjavik hotel. A nice afternoon in the countryside for a couple of city slickers.

Visited June 2012
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Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“The Heritage Tour - Novice Rider”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed May 8, 2012

We went to this having no idea what to expect. I had never ridden a horse outside of a zoo, and my girlfriend had only been on one a few more times than that.

My experience: Painful. I wore jeans which badly chaffed my legs, and being the only male there meant that I got to experience a uniquely painful bumpy ride. It only chaffed and bruised during the trot, and unfortunately that was the pace we mostly stayed at.

Their biggest mistake was not splitting up the group based on skill level. Because of this, the experienced riders were very bored, and the inexperienced riders were terrified and wounded.

If you come to this expecting a slow walking tour of Icelandic scenery, you'll be in for a surprise. And if you're skilled and expecting a bit of a challenge, you'll want to book the full day tour which goes much further at a much faster pace without any novice riders.

I don't want to make this sound too bad, however. I did enjoy it, and riding a horse was a good experience. The staff were friendly, and the horses were very, very, very docile and well trained. I suggest you wear better riding clothes than me, however.

Visited May 2012
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Arlington, Virginia
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
3 attraction reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
“Had potential but not what we expected”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed September 12, 2011

We did a riding tour on our first day in Iceland. This has become a bit of a standard on our vacations, a great way to gain a different view of the surroundings and get off the beaten path. We chose the Hot Springs Tour which was 5-6 hours and included visiting a "Hot springs" area.
Some of the issues we encountered were similar to ones the other reviewer mentioned.
First off, it took more than an hour to get our group together and get us out on the trails. There were multiple tours going out that day and we appeared to be the last ones out.
There were 8 people in our group plus the guide. Two people had never been on horses another 2 had only been on once or twice, then there was us who have a couple dozen rides and a couple of people who own horses. The problem with the ride is that there's one guide way up front and nobody to help the people who had never ridden before. The poor girl could never get her horse to trot and when it picked up the pace even a little bit she was terrified. I found myself trying to help her and hanging in the back b/c there was a big gap between the first 4 following the guide and the last 4 (my boyfriend and I with this couple who never rode) and she would have been left behind. We didn't even speak the same language as the other couple was German-at least they knew a little bit of English. I mentioned it to the guide when we got off the horse to cross a street and she showed her where to kick the horse to make it trot and that was about it. I could have understood if we were all together or all of the same experience but with that much variety in experience levels, there should have been another guide or the group should have been split up.
The next issue came with this steep hill we had to go up and down. I'm not sure if it is normal or if it was because of the rainy conditions but we had to dismount our horses and walk up this really steep hill, then do the same when we came back to that point. I have a bit of a bum knee which made this effort quite difficult. The hill alone was a tough climb for me, especially with the slippery, muddy slope but trying to grab a horse up and down it with me was ridiculous. My boyfriend ended up having to take it down for me after I almost got bumped off the path a couple times when the horse was trying to get some grass.
There were some really nice views and we passed some natural "hot tub" areas that people were soaking in along the way. At the beginning we were told, no photos would be allowed as you had to keep both hands on the reigns. While I get the safety concern, it would have been nice to stop along the way and take some photos in one of the scenic areas but that didn't happen. You can't even bring a nice camera with you, only small hand held ones or phones to take pictures when you stop for lunch.
When we finally stopped for lunch after a few hours of riding, it was at the base of the mountain and adjacent to a river. We were given our lunch and told if we wanted to go in the river, we should walk back along the path we had come in on and then down to the water (path wasn't directly adjacent to the water) and find a spot where the water was not too hot. It was nothing like what was pictured in the brochure or what we had passed along the way where other people were soaking in "natural hot tubs". There were only 3 of us who were interested and after hiking up the path and then down to the water's edge to find the water wasn't very warm, we decided against going in. The idea of taking off all of our layers (long johns, pants, ski pants, bright orange wind/water proof pants they gave us and about the same amount of layers on top) to try out the water, only to have to put it all back on and ride another few hours on the horses had lost its appeal. One guy tried it and said it was ok but he had visited other much better places.
Our return trip was the same path for the most part (we had expected more of a circle) with a slightly different end.
In the end, we wished we had done a much shorter scenic route and scratched the idea of the hot tubs. So if you are going to do a trip, dress warm and look into a shorter trip. It was a tough introduction to Iceland but our trip improved from here.
I flip-flopped between a 1 and a 2 on my overall rating. There was just so much wrong, but the views were still nice and riding through the rivers and the forest at the end were nice and the lunch (a sandwich and water) was ok so it wasn't completly bad.
We wanted more.

Visited September 2011
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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