Eyrún, Steingrímur and Family
Eyrún & Steingrímur and Eyrún´s brother Ísleifur together with their families belong to one of the most prominent „Horse families“ in Iceland. Eyrún and Ísleifur are siblings and live with their spouses and kids next door to their parents at their family farm, situated near Hella in South Iceland. To visit them it takes about an one hour drive from Reykjavík through the fertile farmland of the South, which has become the „horse mekka“ of South Iceland. It is not easy to find a family in Iceland that has „more horse-mad“ members than this amazing family. Visiting them at their beautiful farm with breathtaking views to the great glaciers of the south, it seems like „horse talk“ is the only relevant subject! But there is more to them – as we found out!
Eyrún was born in 1968 at Kálfholt farm as first daughter to her parents Jónas and Sigrún, who started breeding and training Iceland horses as early as in 1965. So it is safe to say that Eyrún´s upbringing from the cradle was influenced by horses! She started riding just 4 years old and received her first „own saddle“ at confirmation age (around 14 yrs), a common confirmation gift in Iceland. And as she told us, this saddle is still being used by her! At 14 she was also allowed for the first time to follow the sheep gatherers in autumn. Around September the Icelandic sheep farmers go on horseback into the highland to round-up the sheep which have been grazing there unsupervised for three months. Eyrún told us that during this tour, called „fjallferð“ in Icelandic, her interest and love of mountain riding started to stir. As a youngster she also started to attend proper riding classes when she was only 14 but was not too keen on competing to start with. It was not until later as an adult when she enjoyed taking part in competitions for pleasure. In 2012 she won the famous „Reynisbikar“ award at the final tournament after a two year course called „Reiðmaðurinn“ at the Hvanneyri Agricultural University. Before we let her go, we asked her about the horse she remembered most! After some thought she said:“ It must be Glaður, the best mountain horse I ever had. He was small but extremely strong, a four-gaited horse and absolutely fearless! There was no canyon, river or anything else that stopped him. Although he wouldn´t be called a great competition horse by modern standards, he was willing, soft to sit and always with me!“
Eyrún is married to Steingrímur, who was born in 1970 in Reykjavík but was allowed to spend his summer vacation (3 months in Iceland!) on a farm in Borgarfjörður when he was just 6 years old. After that summer, he always knew that he wanted to live in the countryside! Without much support from his family he managed to buy and keep his first horse when he was only 12 years old. At 16 he joined the famous trainer Benny Lindal (known by many from Benny´s Harmony tack) and started working for him – both as a trainer and as a guide on mountain tours with foreign guests. He finished his courses at Hvanneyri Agricultural University in 1990 and in 1994 he received his FT certification (Félag Tamningamanna – Icelandic Horse Trainers Assocciation). He and Eyrún met in 1991 when he worked with training young horses. Training young horses during wintertime and organizing mountain rides for Icelandic and foreign guests has been their vocation ever since – clearly a job they do well and still enjoy wholeheartedly!
Ísleifur, Eyrún´s „little“ brother, was born in 1975 and is probably the most „famous“ rider out of the family. From early childhood on horses were his absolute passion and he started training horses already as a young teenager! In 1990 he qualified for the first time to ride on the Landsmót, the bi-annual National Icelandic Horse Competition, the largest outdoor sporting event in Iceland showcasing Iceland’s best horses and riders. And he has qualified for every Landsmót ever since!!! In 2007 he became a certified riding instructor from Hólar Equine University and has since become a very, very popular riding instructor both at Hvanneyri University and as a private teacher. Together with his wife Ingileif Guðjónsdóttir, they run their own training facilities at Kálfholt farm. After training so many horses, does he still have a favorite one? „It can only be Röðull frá Kálfholti, we won the B-Finals at Landsmót 2008!“ he admits!
With sooo much horse talk, is there anything else than horses that these wonderful people enjoy?
Well, Eyrún and Ísleifur are both highly talented musicians! Eyrún works as an music instructor and a choir leader and Ísleifur sings in no less than three choirs! So travelling with them on a tour will guarantee you some wonderful singing! Steingrímur admits that reading is his passion – whenever there is any time left! And then there is their common love of good food! Be it wild salmon fished by Ísleifur or any other Icelandic delicacies! With no doubt we can assure you that going on a riding tour with this warm and lovely family you will be taken care of by expert horsemen and will enjoy super singing and excellent Icelandic home cooked meals in addition!
Eyrun and her family are our much beloved riding instructors in the countryside:
Riding Lessons South Iceland
Northern Lights Riding tour for small private groups with choice of lessons and trail rides