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Saddle sore and more in Iceland
From LAX, connecting service with Icelandair (change of planes) is available to Keflavik on Northwest, Continental, Air France, United, American, British Airways and Virgin Atlantic. Restricted round-trip fares begin at $1,232.
To call numbers below from the U.S., dial 011 (the international dialing code), 354 (country code for Iceland) and the local number.
Riding tour operators
Hestheimar, Asahreppi, 851 Hella; 487-6666, http://www.hestheimar.is/default_eng.htm . (For reservations, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.) Gisli and Asta Begga, the husband and wife who own this 250-acre farm, can customize a riding tour at any time of year based on your interest and level of experience. Accommodations are shared with other guests in a guesthouse in Hella. Per-person rates are about $162 a day for a single, $135 a day for a family of three or more, depending on the season, and include home-cooked meals and guided rides.
Eldhestar, Vellir, Box 90, 810 Hveragerdi; 480-4800, fax 480-4801; http://www.eldhestar.is . Eldhestar offers a range of riding tours with leaner accommodations than Hestheimar. Gear, horses and meals are provided; for many of their tours, you will need to bring a sleeping bag for use in rustic mountain huts. Tours take you through mountains, past glacier lakes and across beaches. They last from a few hours to more than a week, at prices from $590 to $1,650 — though one of the longer tours takes a day of rest from the tiny horses to explore the nearby Westman Islands.
Ishestar, Sorlaskeid 26, IS-220 Hafnarfjordur; 555-7000, fax 555-7001, http://www.ishestar.com . If you book a riding tour package through Icelandair, it's organized by Ishestar. But you can also book separately. Ishestar's longer tours will put you up at Hestheimar in the south, or in mountain huts in the northern rocky highlands. Shorter tours depart from the Ishestar Riding Center, which provides gear, guide and transfer to and from hotels. The advantage of Ishestar, especially when booked as a package deal with Icelandair, is that everything's taken care of: food, lodging, transportation. The disadvantage: You have no car, and some days may be too rainy to ride.
To learn more
Iceland Tourist Board, P.O. Box 4649, Grand Central Station, New York, NY 10163; (212) 885-9700, fax (212) 885-9710, http://www.goiceland.org .
Iceland Naturally, promoting Icelandic products and outdoor recreation, http://www.icelandnaturally.com .