A local yard recently advertised a sponsored ride in aid of horses for horses, the initiative has been picked up across the world and riders from a number of countries have supported the scheme.
The ride gave a few of us a great excuse to up our miles towards the Ride to Berlin as well as a great chance to catch up with other Icelandic riders. Our arrival was met with some astonishment and a few smiles from other horse owners on the yard, however some of the participants on big horses who we had met at other rideouts nodded in our direction with some respect and advised these onlookers, “they travel in packs  at speed!”
And so off we set the Icelandic Horde, in beautiful sun to cover 10 miles around the outskirts of Aberdeen, through forests, across busy roads, alongside a football match and a golf course. The site of the pack certainly turned heads and grabbed the attention of those we met. The ride reminded me of why I love the Icelandic, the thrill of the speed and in great company which included a son of Iceland who also enjoyed the reminder of home, albeit in more suburban surroundings!  The day was rounded off with a BBQ, content we have travelled a bit closer to Berlin. 

The picture shows Shona and her mare Skák

Have you heard of www.onhorsesforhorses.org, a very "simple" (and very hard working!) fundraising initiative, started in 2011, that has now gone international? I have a confession to make: last year's Long Ride and the current initiative Ride to Berlin 2013 took their inspiration right from this idea. As they say on the website: 

"Here at 'On Horses for Horses' there is no office, no money and no 'hunners of staff' but plenty of passion for horses in general and this event in particular. The plan and most of the work, has come from my kitchen table in stolen minutes & sleepless nights. However, nothing would have worked, or will work in the future, without the help of other passionate enthusiasts. 

Well pretty much the same in my kitchen... Yesterday was "pay back" time, and 4 icey riders went on a wonderful, sunny autumn ride in aid of WHW. Thanks Loes, for the inspiration, and the ride. 

Fjölnir holding his own...
...and conquering Edinburgh High Street.
But why the posh clothes? Well this ride has been done before, and before, and before... to find out more, here is an extract from the history of the event in Edinburgh: 


The first record of a Riding Of The Marches in Edinburgh was on All Hallows (Halloween), 31st October 1579. On this date, a group of towns’ people gathered at the Provost’s house at 11am, from where they embarked on an inspection of the Marches of the Common Land led by the Captain of the Trained Band (Town Guard), Provost, Baillies and Burgesses. “Intimatioun” (intimation) of the event was given to the “nichtbouris” (towns people) and anyone who regularly made use of the Common Land, possessed a horse and failed to take part in the inspection was liable to be fined.

You find out more here.

Thank you Helen for the fabulous pictures. What an event! And it took you both one step closer to Berlin! 

Harpa and I managed 87 km during August, and are currently staying near the Nethy Bridge Hotel. We set off on a sunny day, waved bye bye to our lovely view over Fort George and the Moray Firth – Harpa does like to keep an eye on things!
We set off up the field and then cut through a friend’s farm to get off road.
We took a back route to get to Roseavoch estate and went cross country until we reach the Kessock Bridge – we timed crossing the Kessock Bridge early in the morning and just went down the cycle path.
From then on it was lovely paths and fields – we made sure we closed any gates that we opened and didn’t ride through any fields that contained livestock.
The food at the Nethy Bridge Hotel is great and we’ve spent the last weekend here in August there before moving on.
We’re planning to do quite a bit off road so will have some forestry track pics for you at end of September.
Bye for now
Laura and Harpa
... another 13 kms at the weekend, and as with any ride, there is always something new to discover about oneself, the horse, and the environment. 

"We have only been together for a couple of months so we're just starting to ride out and look at the kent countryside - Ari moved here from Wales and is an expert at getting into position to open gates while we are out: ))  Brodie the Samoyed sometimes joins us for the journey...."  - Ari Snari