While days are getting longer quickly and half of the winter is already over it is quite busy at Eldhestar, with many day visitors, guests on tour packages and groups of horses arriving and leaving for vacation. South Iceland has been covered with a white blanket of snow for most of the winter with beautiful cold, sunny days with powder snow and stunning Northern Lights in between.
In January, when horse life is getting interesting with most riders taking their horses in the stable, we always fill our stable with new horses, training horses and young ones. Unlike our furry herd outside they easily get too warm, so we shave them under the mane to give them some air condition. Besides the regular riding they spend some hours a day outside in the paddock and we often let them run a few kilometer to strengthen them and give them the opportunity to move freely, just like we do to prepare our tour horses. The herd enjoys the outdoors, either playing in the snow or cuddling tight together close to the solid wind shelter, with piles of hey.
Ida continues the training of Eldhestar’s really promising youngsters “frá Völlum”, perhaps a soon to be well known breeding name…? The youngest group went off to almost one year in freedom with the large herd, now she’s working with the horses which had their basic training last autumn. We are very happy with the offspring, some of them you might meet on tours while other will do well in competition or further breeding.
The new shape of Hotel Eldhestar is starting to look nice with construction work going very well despite of the long period of heavy snowfall. The interior work will soon be started and the first guests are scheduled to move in on May 1.
At the office, we have started preparing next season as bookings for summer are floating in. Many of our multi-day tours are already fully booked, but we still have spots available, in particular on the tours with many departures such as Tour 20 Kjölur, Tour 13 Golden Highlights of the South, and Tour 15 Volcano Hekla.
As for now, we are looking forward to welcoming participants of the Winter Riding Course, who will enjoy a nice week with us and our horses and visit one of the highlights of this season, the four gait competition of “Meistaradeild”. We still have a few spots available on the departures in February, March and April (either 3 or 4 days).
Your Eldhestar Team
In October and November three of our popular winter riding courses took place at Eldhestar. Participants had a great time with lessons in the spacious, bright riding hall and during rides in the beautiful scenery surrounding our farm. Considering some valuable feedback and inquiries regarding riding courses we have decided to offer the Winter Riding Course not only as a 3-days program but also a longer version including 5 days.
This will enable us to create a new, interesting program for the Winter Riding Course, and we will also improve the short version. We would like to be flexible with regard to the schedule, to be able to create an individual program for each course depending on the season and number of participants.
The new program will include the following:
- Riding / training demonstration by a qualified trainer (attended Hólar University of Equine Sciences)
- Lesson in working horses from the ground
- Riding with a herd of free running horses
- Riding tour to a breeding farm in the neighborhood and breeder´s lecture
- Theoretical instruction and film
- Optional: Visit to the Horse Theater at Fákasel
- Optional: Excursion to Geysir, Gullfoss waterfall and Thingvellir national park instead of half a day riding on the last day
As an additional highlight, participants on all dates (except for March 23) will have the opportunity to see the best horses and riders competing on the Meistaradeild Champions League in Horse Sports. Another great horse event, the famous “Ice-Tölt” competition, can be visited on March 26.
More information about the program and the price will be available in the beginning of January.
The dates for the Winter Riding Course 2016 are the following:
January 27-30 or January 27 – February 1
(28. January: Four gait competition, see Video Fourgait Meistaradeild)
February 10-13 or February 10-15
(11. February: “Gæðingafimi” Icelandic dressage, see
Video Gæðingafimi Meistaradeild)
February 24-27 or February 25-29
(25. February: Tölt T2 competition, see Video Tölt T2 Meistaradeild)
March 9-12 or March 9-14
(10. March: Five gait competition, see Video Fivegait Meistaradeild)
March 23-26 or March 23-28
(26. March: Ice Tölt Competition, see Video Icetölt)
The dates for autumn 2016 will be announced next spring.
Please contact us if you would like further information or book the Winter Riding Course!
Only about two months ago we started with construction work, now the wooden structure is already finished and the walls are up. The roof will follow soon, hopefully before the first heavy snow. In May 2016, the new part of Hotel Eldhestar will be opened with 10 more comfortable rooms.
Right now the first snowflakes are already dancing in the wind and the mountains look like sugar-coated, but the sun is shining in between so the real Icelandic winter might not arrive within the next few days. The horses don´t mind the cold, they prefer to be outside playing with some wind shelter and good hey. Our riding guests don´t mind the cold either, they usually come back with a smile from rides between light and dark, well equipped with warm overalls.
While it is getting dark and cold outside the most enjoyable time of the year has started inside, with nice Christmas decoration, candle light and cozy evenings in front of the fire place. In the end of November and beginning of December it is tradition in Iceland to attend at least one Christmas buffet, and companies often invite their employees. Of course Hotel Eldhestar also offers a nice, traditional Christmas dinner and we welcome many Icelandic guests who would like to spend a relaxed weekend in the countryside before the hustle and bustle of Christmas preparation is starting.
Every spring some foals are born at our farm Vellir, and in September we take the young horses into the stable for their basic training. They are trained for about 6 weeks before they get to spend another year in freedom with the large herd.
Ida has been training Hilmar, Sónata, Sýr, Bliki and Fengur, and last Friday it was time for the first ride! All five youngsters were very well prepared and were amazing the first time with a rider on their back, we look forward to continue their training next year!
At Eldhestar we breed high quality horses both for trail riding and also for competition and only use mares with good, easy to ride tölt and a nice character together with first prize stallions. The horses we train now all have quite famous fathers such as Héðinn frá Feti, Hraunar frá Flugumýri, Kappi frá Kommu, Kjarni frá Þjóðólfshaga and Glóðar frá Reykjavík. In the past years our breeding mares also went to Lukku-Láki frá Stóra-Vatnsskarði, Álfur frá Selfossi, Eldur frá Torfunesi, Þröstur frá Hvammi, Seiður frá Flugumýri II, Gaumur frá Auðholtshjáleigu, Fróði frá Staðartungu, Þeyr frá Akranesi, Korgur frá Ingólfshvoli and Kiljan frá Steinnesi. You will meet some of these nice horses on our tours later, and some of them are also for sale.
Eldhestars new brochure for 2016 can now be downloaded on the website, please click here!
For the Danish brochure please click here!
In summer 2016 we will offer a new day tour for experienced riders, Tour 6b Volcano Hengill & Hot Spring Valley. This tour is an extended version of the popular Hot Springs Tour Reykjadalur Valley, including more of the fascinating area of Volcano Hengill and of course the opportunity of taking a relaxing bath in the warm stream.
There will be a new version of Tour 15 Volcano Hekla, now including 5 days on horseback. The idea was to offer a tour with all features of a Long Tour such as a free running herd most of the time, riding distances up to 40 km a day and great environment but partly also at a leisurely pace and within a total travelling time of 7 days.
Tour 2b which was known as “The Pot Luck Tour” will be slightly changed and operated under the new name “The Siggi Tour”, named after our well known neighbor, the very original Icelandic farmer and horseman Siggi :).
The winter program has already started with the first Northern Lights Tour, and even in mid September we could observe this extraordinary natural phenomena dancing in the sky above our farm. We will adjust some of the winter tours around popular horse events in South Iceland, such as the Meistaradeild Champions League in Horse Sports and will inform you on the website and our facebook site.
Hotel Eldhestar now offers 27 rooms, including a new, large family room with five high quality beds from the Swedish manufacturer Hästens of and private facilities. The new spacious, bright dining- and conference room was opened in May and until next spring Hotel Eldhestar will be enlarged, offering 10 new, comfortable rooms.
Please note that we will change our morning pick up time from October 1 to 8:00-8:30!
Last but not least: Eldhestar was founded in the year 1986 and will be celebrating the 30. anniversary in the upcoming season!
The long tour season has started with the first tour “Golden Highlights of the South” departing on June 7. The tour Volcano Hekla is going on at the moment and today the first highland tour Kjölur has left. It has become quite busy at our farm with summer staff arriving and up to about 200 horses in our paddocks and fields while always some of our 350 horses are out on long tours or relaxing between tours.
We are having a bit of a tough start this season as summer is several weeks delayed. There were still hardly any signs of spring in late May, which was the coldest since 1979. Early foals had to be taken inside for their first days, we had to take food for the horses on our tours and feed them hay much longer than we are used to.
Last winter was unusually hard with extreme weather conditions and heavy snow storms from November to May which caused roads to be closed many times. Highland roads open later this year than usual as most of them are still covered in snow, which was “more than in living memory” in the highlands, according to the Iceland Touring Association.
As a result, some areas we are riding in on our multi day tours cannot be passed at the moment, either because there is still some snow or because of melting water. We therefore had to adjust or first “Golden” tour, riding in beautiful Thjórsárdalur valley and at the Beach instead of in the highlands. The first Wilderness tours might be affected as well, but the weather forecast looks favorable and we always find great riding trails instead of the ones that might be impassable.
After some warm, sunny days we could almost see the grass growing and now, when the days are the longest with stunning light conditions, summer has finally arrived!
On the pictures you see some impressions from the “Golden” tour.
The second Eldhestar Local tölt staff competition took place in our riding hall on May 7th. This event which was held for the first time last year is a great opportunity for our staff to show their training horses and get some feedback from two judges. Besides, it was a lot of fun to take part in a competition, for some of the 18 participants for the first time, and end the day with BBQ together.
Like last year each participant had to ride individually the T1 program: Slow tölt, then changing direction and ride slow tölt on the short sides and fast tölt on the long sides and finally one round in fast tölt. In the finals, this programm had to be shown in both directions.
We congratulate the winner Anna Kronhed with Skörungur frá Kánastöðum!
The results were the following:
1. Anna Kronhed, Sweden / Skörungur frá Kánastöðum
F. Garpur frá Auðholtshjáleigu, M. Kolskör frá Viðborðsseli
2. Corinna Frahm, Germany / Suðri frá Reykjavik
F. Suðri frá Holtsmúla, M. Blika frá Syðra-Skörðugili
3. Jóhanna Bettý Durhuus, Iceland / Steini frá Jórvík
F. Gnýr frá Árgerði, M. Geirlaug frá Voðmúlastöðum
Owner Jóhanna Bettý Durhuus
4. Simone Scherl, Germany / Skjóni frá Gunnlaugsstöðum
F. Blær frá Torfunesi, M. Fóstra frá Reykjavík
5. Nina Blåsvær Rasmussen, Denmark / Birna frá Ásbrú
F. Ás frá Ármóti, M. Dögun frá Feti
6. Marianne Irina Giesswein, Austria / Sörli frá Sauðanesi
F. Kjarkur frá Sauðanesi, M. Fluga frá Hafnarnesi
Owner: Irina Fjóla Jónsdóttir
7. Mirjam Wolfschlag, Germany / Faldur frá Hellu
8. Marieke Huurenkamp, Netherlands / Mar frá Grásteini
F: Ægir frá Litlalandi, M: Sara frá Hvammi
9. Lina Jakobsson, Sweden /Vakur frá Völlum
F. Þokki frá Kýrholti, M. Gunnvör frá Hvítarholti
Owner: Lina Jakobsson
10. Atli Már Atlasson, Iceland / Roði frá Strönd
F. Roði frá Strönd II, M. Halta-Blesa frá Strönd II
11. Lea Wiesendanger, Germany / Víðir frá Flagbjarnarholti
F. Tónn frá Torfunesi, M. Glóð frá Frostastöðum
12. Nicolas Gadanyi, Germany / Bara-Golíat,
F. Toppur frá Eyjólfsstöðum, M. Stygga-Skjóna frá Uxahrygg
13. Ida Thorborg, Denmark / Hrist frá Völlum
F. Þröstur frá Hvammi, M. Gunnvör frá Hvítárholti
Owner: Hróðmar Bjarnason
14. Yngve Söderstrand, Sweden / Breki frá Brún
F. Ægir frá Móbergi
15. Hlöðver Ólafur Ólafsson, Iceland / Laufa frá Minni-Borg
F. Samúel frá Þjótanda, M. Lady frá Reykjavík
Owner: Hlöðver Ólafur Ólafsson
15. Daniel Liptak, Hungary / Hljómur frá Litlu-Gröf
F. Hreimur frá Flugumýri II, M. Álfdís frá Litlu-Gröf
17. Lisa Thelin, Sweden / Ísabella frá Miðkoti
F: Orri frá Þúfu, M. Mánadís frá Miðkoti
18. Lina Herrmann, Germany / Stjarni frá Fljótshólum
F. Ás frá Breiðholti í Flóa, M. Þula frá Fljótshólum