Virtual Ride FAQ & History
Photo by Gundula Sharman
It all started with yet another invitation to the relay ride, carrying the baton from one World Championship to the next. For some Icelandic horse riders participation (ideally on your own horse) will forever remain a dream. It just is not practical. So the next best thing is to undertake the journey virtually. Furthermore, if the ride is virtual, then nothing can stop me riding my horses all the way to Iceland in a Landsmót year. Since for most participants the distance from home to the most important gathering in the Icelandic horse calendar will take more than a few weeks, the ride to the next event starts immediately after the end of the last one.
These are the rides accomplished so far:
- The long ride to Berlin, DE, 2013
- Up to Hella, IS, 2014
- From here to Herning, DK, 2015
- Home to Hólar, IS, 2016
- Out to Oirschot, NL, 2017
- Ride to Reykjavík, IS, 2018
- Back to Berlin, DE, 2019
- Hello Hella, IS, 2020
- Returning to Herning, DK, 2021
- Heading for Hella, IS, 2022
Frequently Asked Questions
When the weather is bad, can I convert and use the rounds I have ridden indoors, or on the oval track? – No! The whole point of this initiative is to reward riders who ride out from A to B (or from A via B, back to A.) Bad weather happens everywhere! Good training is the foundation for all riding, whether that be on the oval track, in the dressage square or endurance riding. So of course, we all need to continue with schooling. But this particular initiative is about riding out with all its facets. Apart from enjoyment, sharing with friends and getting some wind into our horses’ manes – in many countries riding out also has a political dimension and is about social awareness. Exploring new routes, co-operating with other road users, whether they be car drivers, dog sledders or mountain bikers, keeping access to nature open – and sometimes just providing an alternative entertainment to the duck feeders in the park. All of this makes riding out important in its own right. And it is better not to mix things up. Happy tölting – wind and all!
Does riding with a hand horse (ponying) count? – Yes, if you ride with one (or more) handhorse(s), the following applies: each handhorse counts for half the distance again, so if you ride 10 km, plus taking a hand horse you can submit 15km, with two handhorses it would be 20km, etc.
I have to lead the horse, rather than ride it, do the kms count? – Yes, if you take you horse for a proper walk and not just to and from the field (young horse, recovering from injury, the weather is very bad, or any other circumstances), the walked km count.
Can the teams be international, and with members from more than one country? Yes – of course! Apart from the beloved horse itself, international friendship is one of the best aspects of the Icelandic horse world. Average distances for any team are calculated from the individual distances from home to the final destination. Members of any one team should use the same principle for calculating the average distance for all team members, and no rider may be a member of more than one group. Additional riders can join in at any time. Also remember, our horses are social creatures, they love good company. Team work is half the work, and shared fun is double the fun!
I have / my team has reached the destination months / weeks / days in advanced of the of opening of the event. Is that the end? – No, teams who have reached their target before the beginning of the event should continue riding and recording their distance. The ridden km can then be used to support groups from further afield, particularly from North America, Australia and New Zealand.
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