When I started my horsemanship in 1980, Skagafjörður was the mecca of horse breeding in Iceland. If you were looking for a competition or breeding horse, Skagafjörður was the place to go to. Farms like Kolkuós, Vatnsleysa, Miðsitja, Varmilækur, Flugumýri, Svaðastaðir, Skörðugil and many more were renowned for great horses. Sveinn Guðmundsson from Sauðárkrókur was probably one of the pioneers of breeding talented horses and when thinking back, he might have been the most famous breeder at that time in Iceland.
When I was a last Landsmót, 2016 at Hólar, the winners in A and B class were both from horse breeding farms in Skagafjörður. Hrannar frá Flugumýri (A-class) and Nökkvi frá Syðra-Skörðugili (B-class). The University of Hólar offers a university level course in Equine studies covering horse breeding, horse training, horsemanship as well as riding instructions. So Skagafjörður and Hólar are still very important for Icelandic horsemanship.
Hágangur frá Narfastöðum is one of the famous stallions in Skagafjörður. He got first prize for offsprings at Landsmót 2008 and honorary prize at Landsmót 2011. His owner, Ingunn Ingólfsdóttir, rode him for the crowd at Landsmót 2008, only 8 years old! They were also in the finals in children´s class at Landsmót 2010. I did not know Ingunn at that time but I was touched by her great riding skills and by coincidence (?) two youngsters of my own breed have Hágangur as their grandfather.
Next summer Exploring Iceland offers a very exciting 4 days riding tour to Skagafjörður where we focus on horse breeding and especially the old breeding lines. We will be travelling in the traditional way with a herd of loose spare horses running along. We will visit the old breeding farms of the North and learn about the stories of Horses & Men behind the old breeding lines. Our partner for this tour is the lovely family at Dýrfinnustaðir, Ingólfur and Unnur and their three children, one being Ingunn, the owner of Hágangur. Ingunn is now 16 years old and Hágangur 19. Still today they have a very special relationship and hopefully you will be as inspired and touched as I was when I first met them!
See you on a riding tour next summer!