This post is long overdue. I wanted to understand a little more about the stars (people and horses) behind the show, and thus, its has taken much longer than expected. Sooner, the better…so that you can add this attraction to your itinerary. We are sure you would enjoy an evening at the Fakasel Horse Park. Thumbs up from our side!
The Icelandic horses are amazingly gentle and friendly. Summer or winter, you will find them out in the open, soaking the Sun or facing the snow. Just stand at a little distance from them, and they will walk up to nuzzle you. First the friendliest one, followed by his/her buddies, until you just cannot decide which one to pet first! Obviously, this was super duper fun for the animal loving soul that lives in my body. Ankur, would probably not agree to the ‘fun’ part of it! You remember that he isn’t too much of an animal person, don’t you? He was happier being the ‘camera person’, taking my pictures as I gave names to every horse and mare that walked upto me!
The Icelandic horse is supposed to be a ‘pure breed’. No horse can be imported into the country. An Icelandic horse cannot return back to the island after having left its shores….is this the reason that each one them continues to have the ‘friendly gene’ active?
Five Gaits of the Icelandic Horse
Here is why the Icelandic horse deserves five stars:
Typically, horses have the following gaits: walk, trot and canter (or gallop).
The Walk is a slow and natural gait, during which two of the horses hooves always touch the ground.
The Trot is faster than a walk. While trotting, the horse lifts a hind leg and a front leg simultaneously, and in mid-stride has all four of its hooves suspended off the ground.
The Canter has an easy, three-beat rhythm. Instead of moving directly forward, the horse “canters” slightly diagonal to one side. Because the four hooves lift from and touch the ground in odd-numbered sequence, two legs must simultaneously bear the entire weight of the horse.
The Icelandic horse has the above three gaits, plus two more… the tölt and the flying pace.
The Tölt is a natural, fluid gait of the Icelandic Horse, during which at least one foot always touches the ground. The tölt is an extraordinarily smooth gait, which allows the rider an almost bounce-free ride, even at a speed of ~30 kmh. The footfall is the same pattern as the walk, but is much faster, almost as fast as a gallop. It is said a rider can drink a beer while riding, without spilling a drop.
The Flying Pace is a fast, high speed gait in which the horse can reach a speed of ~ 45 kmph. During the flying pace, both legs on one side of the horse simultaneously touch the ground. The gait is used for short distances, and is the primary gait used for racing. Being a two-beat gait, at one interval all four hooves of the Icelandic Horse are suspended off the ground during a flying pace. This is supposed to be a difficult gait to master for a rider… hats off to those who can do it!
The Fakasel Horse Park lets you appreciate the above gaits and the unique bond that the horse shares with its riders along with some theatrical effects.
The show Legends of Sleipnir is a 50 minute long multimedia theatre with Icelandic horses and actors, bringing to life the story of the Icelandic horse and its unique relationship with humans by weaving together theatre, history, mythology and music.
We would hate to give away the story and take away the surprise element… it would be best for you to be there to witness it. After the performance, one can visit the stables and pet the horses.
I loved the dogs as much as I loved the horses, well behaved and playful!
We were throughly impressed by the riding skills of young teenage riders, who efficiently manage their time between school and play, to work at the horse park.
The young lady, in her early teen, could make the horse sit down… and then lie down during the show! Clap! Clap! Clap!
If you do decide to visit the attraction during winter and are lucky to have a clear sky, aurora hunting would be on the cards as well. The night we were there, it was cloudy and it snowed and snowed and snowed! No chance of sighting the lights, but we didn’t despair. We had seen them on very night, for the past three nights! Lucky us!
After the performance, you are served traditional Icelandic meat soup with bread. Vegetarians, do not fret. They have a vegetarian option as well. Just let the staff know that you prefer the vegetarian option, and they will do the needful. You can take multiple servings until you are happy full. The cafe also has some drinks and snacks on offer, if you wish to buy any.
We loved the steaming hot soup. It was perfect for a chilly winter night. The fresh, warm bread with butter turned into a simple, but delicious comfort meal.
It costs ISK 11,900 per adult in order to visit the attraction. The price for kids aged 6-12 is 50% and kids below 5 are allowed at no cost. Bookings can be made online. Alternately, connect with the staff at your hostel/hotel.
The price includes:
- Pick up/Drop from/to your hotel in Reykjavik
- Traditional soup in the cafe
- Theatre performance
- Interaction with horses and staff at Fakasel
There is also a boutique to let you shop and pick up some souvenirs. I loved the lopapayesas there, the traditional off-white and grey ones.
We picked up a key chain, that Ankur values dearly. He carries it around almost always with his car keys.
The Fakasel Horse Park is a great way to spend an evening, especially if you are an animal lover or have kids who enjoy being with the gentle four legged beings.