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“A nice trip for beginners” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Eld Hestar Horseback Tours

Eld Hestar Horseback Tours
Ranked #6 of 13 things to do in Hveragerdi
Certificate of Excellence
Attraction details
Canada
Level Contributor
34 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“A nice trip for beginners”
5 of 5 bubbles 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
Helpful?
1 Thank MicheleCanada
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“The Heritage Tour - Novice Rider”
3 of 5 bubbles 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
Helpful?
3 Thank David H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Arlington, Virginia
Level Contributor
12 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
“Had potential but not what we expected”
2 of 5 bubbles 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
Helpful?
8 Thank scblions
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Solvang, California
Level Contributor
19 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
“Disappointing”
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 17, 2011

I'd ridden with another riding outfit earlier this month, but chose Eld Hestar for a change of scenery and a different experience. This stable is a 35-minute drive from Reykjavik, but because several other people scattered around the city had to be picked up, the vehicle ride took well over an hour. Upon arrival at the stables, we were given decent instructions about riding Icelandic Horses, and I was given a horse fairly well matched to my riding abilities (I'm an intermediate rider).

But the group of riders was large (about 25 people), and we had to all ride together in a line behind the guide. This was most disappointing, as those of us who wanted to ride faster in the Tolt (the wonderful special gait the Icelandic Horse is known for), were all forced to start and stop behind the beginners who felt safer walking. It would have been MUCH better if our group was split up according to skill levels!

In addition, the ride I took, called "The Heritage Tour" was over flat & rather boring terrain. Much of it was within sight & earshot of the highway, and along dirt vehicle roads, not horse trails. The guides we rode with weren't particularly interested in enhancing our riding experience, although they did offer to take photos of us with our cameras during a stop.

The snack described as "coffee and a home-baked Icelandic specialty," which I was charged extra for, turned out to be a rushed gulp of coffee and a bit of stale cake. Overall, I was disappointed.

Visited July 2011
Helpful?
2 Thank chrisbsquared
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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