Everybody was really excited for this day to come. On the fourth day of the Icelandic Horse Expo we were going to the traditional Laufskálarétt where the horses are gathered in the mountains and brought to the corrals in Hjaltadal.
Every year the Laufskálarétt is organized in the last weekend of September. The Laufskálarétt in Hjaltadalur is the largest and most popular in Iceland. Every year thousands of people from around the world come to see this spectacular view.
Saturday morning around 500 riders leave with their horses in the mountains to drive the herd of around 600 horses to the corrals.
Around noon time all riders and horses arrived back in the valley. The weather was pretty good so we saw the horses coming down the mountain long before. Last year it seemed to have been very foggy, so we were lucky!
Around 3000 people from all over the world have come to experience this fantastic view. A large group of singing men, horses and the smell of dried fish give you this special Icelandic feeling.
At 13.00 the selection of the more than the 600 horses started. The large round collar is divided into 12 sections. The breeder Brimnes is one of the breeders with most horses to collect. Brimnes had more than 80 horses in the mountains this summer.
In groups of about 50 horses they are brought into the middle of the collar and they are sloped towards their owners. This made sorting much easier and faster. Two hours later, around three o'clock, all horses were divided. Because some horses are always changed unconsciously, the horses can only leave the collar until everyone has their own horses.
Every chip on the horses were read to ensure that all horses were in the right place. Around four o'clock the horses were ready to go home. Most of them were driven home in the herd and a small part of the horses was picked up with a trailer or truck.
On many of the farms a party is organized and from midnight most of them gather in Varmahlíð and Sauðárkrókur to celebrate this successful day until late at night.
It was fantastic to be a part of this tradition in the Northern part of Iceland. If you ever have the chance - do it!