In the 35 years that Eldhestar has operated, hundreds of horses have been used in the company’s varied tours. Many visitors and employees have found their favorite horses during these years. Some horses make a lasting impression, others don’t. “Lýsingur in Memoriam” is a prime example of a horse that had great influence and was unique in many ways. Stefán Erlendsson has been a guide at Eldhestar since 2001. He has mostly guided Tour 12, Thingvellir and Around Lake Thingvallavatn, as he will this summer. Lýsingur became his horse. Earlier here Stefán has almost always focused on philosophy, but today he talks mostly about horses and philosophy! We think it’s a sign of maturity!
For all non-Icelandic speaking participants on my Thingvellir tours
Lýsingur in Memoriam!
Lately I have been thinking a lot about a horse that recently passed on. This was an old competition horse, a creamy golden thoroughbred who had all the qualities of a top-flight traveling horse: strong-willed, durable and resilient, with flowing and elegant gaits, fast paced tölt and a soft gallop, and so enormously powerful that he could be really difficult to hold down …
My first ride on him is vivid in my memory. Hróðmar, Eldhestar’s manager and a childhood friend of mine, said to me at the beginning of a Thingvellir tour: I have a good horse for you. He is not used to go with hand horses or being on a leash but try him out. Nonni [Hróðmar’s brother and co-owner of Eldhestar] has been using him on the Sprengisandur tours (the longest and toughest of Eldhestar’s tours) but he has started stumbling a bit and is no longer suitable for that purpose.
On the second day of the tour, a bay horse I was attaching to him bolted (I usually ride with two hand horses, one attached to the other on the outside). Luckily, I hadn’t completed fastening them together because they broke loose and eventually separated from each other. The bay horse raged for a while in the immediate vicinity and soon calmed down, but Lýsingur rushed off up Engidalur valley (on the western side of Hengill volcano). I speedily mounted the horse I had been riding and chased after him as fast as I could, but to no avail. He simply disappeared. Eventually I spotted him high up in the valley where he had hidden behind a rocky outcrop that runs across the valley. He stood there and waited. When my group caught up with me I sneaked around the back of the outcrop and approached the horse from behind in the hope that he would rejoin the group – which he did. The fun was over.
From that moment on I grew very fond of the horse who served me well on many tours.
Several years later it happened once that the horses shied when we cornered them in the fence by Kringlumýri hut (midway between Thingvellir and Laugarvatn village) and unfortunately the shoe on Lýsingur’s one front leg got stuck in the fence. I called for the shoeing bag while holding the horse. Despite being slightly wild by nature he was totally calm as I removed the wire from his shoe – I talked to him the whole time and the horse did not move.
Some curiously asked me what on earth I had been saying to the horse and I replied: I was just telling him about Habermas and my PhD thesis. I have never ever had a better audience when expressing myself about that subject.
The Icelandic horse is an amazing creature – divinelike – and my love for it grows with each passing year.
Thank you so much for the companionship Lýsingur!
– Stefán Erlendsson
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The Eldhestar Team