Over 5000 tourists attended "A date with the Icelandic horse" - covering the history and showing different gaits which the farmers in Friðheimar....
in Reykhold host a few months each year. Knútur Rafn Ármann and Helena Hermundardóttir, moved from Reykjavík to Friðheimar about 16 years ago where they have built up their operation around gardening and horses. Three years ago the opened their place to guests and set up a 15 minute long show called "A date with the Icelandic horse" where the history and origin of the Icelandic horse along with the different gaits is introduced. The attendance of foreign guests to the show has doubled since the first show was held and past summer was a record for Friðheimar. Eiðfaxi was curious to know more about these dates.
Three years ago we decided to open Friðheimar to guests to visit and get to know the Icelandic horse as well as Icelandic greenhouse production. We made a package which included information on the history and shows of gaits where we introduced horses in a 15 minute long show with music and introduction which we have today in fourteen different languages. After the show we offer the guests into the stables where they can get in direct contact with the horse, they are offered refreshments and chat with the riders. The show is being offered from May and through October. Also we offer a guided tour through our gardening facilities where we discuss how it is possible to produce tomatoes throughout the year in our dark and cold country," says Knútur who previously worked as a guide on horse trails for Íshestar.
During these horse trails I witnessed how fascinated people were by the Icelandic horse. I had for a long time dreamed of being able to introduce the Icelandic horse to the common travellr who comes to Iceland in order to get to know more about our culture and nation as well as experiencing fantstic nature. As we know the horse itself possesses a great part of the nation and is interwoven to the culture which has been formed by this majestic nature.
We are so lucky to be located in the so called "Golden Circle" which is thr route to Gullfoss and Geysir where a great many tourists travel to, therefore passing Friðheimar. Therefore we drew up a short but concised introduction about the Icelandic horse and the aim was for the guests to see and experience the horse, get into contact with the horse and when they leave our place they know quite many things about the horse and his specialities.
This program should be short enough so that it was possible to add it into the agenda of groups passing by."
As can be expected this past summer was quite busy for the staff and horses at Friðheimar, there were a total of 15 shows each week. And in order to attend to all these visitors Knútur and Helena hired three persons who only attended to the shows for the summer, and also there were 15 four legged beings who took turns presenting their arts.
"The staff get the horses ready, they clean up and cut the grass. Then the two of us often come along with extra staff for each show. For each show there are always about 4-5 riders and 5-6 horses. We have about 15 horses which we use in the show. These are horses that we have raised or they have been bought elsewhere and additionally we have borrowed some horses. But of course it is most enjoyable to present horses from our own breeding."
The couple at Friðmeimar think in big terms and plan to attract even more tourists to Friðheimar. "Our aim is that within three years we will have about 8.000 to 10.000 guests visit us for the horse show and even more people into the greenhouses, where we can accept guests all year round."