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A special trip to Iceland for the year 2005

Buy your "dream horses" in Iceland

We are going to make a special horse trek in Iceland 2005. You can buy your dream horse if you like.  We will help you to find the best one.

We will start the trek Sept 27th.  We will take part in a great horse round up.  If you are interested, please contact our at: mao@centrum.is

Bed and breakfast, dinner every night and almost everything in Iceland will be including in the price. You will have a lot of fun and you can make many good contacts in Iceland. You will test a lot of horses and see part of our beautiful country.

This is a good idea for you. You can take a good brake, have a lot of fun and maybe find your dream horse.

Some of you would not travel alone and want to be in a small group where somebody takes care of almost everything. I am ready to do it for you as I have done for many others last years.

pitcure2 pitcure3   


 We will ride over lakes and mountains.  You can get riding lessons if you want to and you will be able to test many different horses, which are for sale.  We will show you nice family horses as well as good breeding mares or competitions horses.  

 We look forward to see you. 


The plan for the horse roundup trip is like this:   If someone do not have time to take part in so long trip is possible to start in day THREE 


DAY ONE: Sept. 27th you will visit my farm and we start riding and get a riding lesson if you want too.

DAY TWO: We will take part in a long ride across the country side. This ride will take up most of the day. We will pack a box lunch and carry it with us over lakes and mountains  

We willl pass an old church. This is a beautiful stone building made by a farmer at Thingeyrar 1850 - 1874.

Many tourists visit this church every year. In the afternoon we'll also visit a museum at **Blonduos, where we'll see some interesting handmade items from the people of Iceland from many years ago. There will also be an opportunity for us to purchase some hand made items made by the people in that Northern area of Iceland. Many of the farmers in the area make sweaters, blankets and jewelery.

Dinner provided this day will offer some of Icelands famous ethnic food topped off with a test of brennivin.


DAY THREE:  This will be another day riding in a nice valley, cross a river and see some beautiful places.

If we have many people who is interested to buy a horse and we have not be able to show them any interested horses this day, maybe we would have a horse show in the riding hall at Blonduos this night.

We will have a good rest in a hot pot in the afternoon


DAY FOUR:  Round Up Day. We will get a very early start today to drive to the highlands to meet the round up coming down from the mountains. We will mount our horses and ride for about 2 or 3 hours with a large group of local farmers who are taking part in the horse roundup. We will stop to rest and eat a barbeque meal before heading further down to the valley driving the wild horses to their destination.. For those who have had enough riding for the day, there will be a car available for them to meet us at that final destination. This time of year is always greatly anticipated by the local farmers and the traditional festivities will include a lot of good riding, singing and fun.

Dinner will be another traditional meal of Icelandic lamp prepared in a few different ways.

DAY FIVE: **We will return to the round up destination. This area is
designated with a special round penning area where the farmers will separate
the horses. Each farmer will have an area in the pen and he must find his
horses in the large herd and get them to his section of the pen. Often
times there will be an auction where some of the young horses will be for
sale. The horse round ups have been a long time tradition of the farms in
Iceland and it is an opportunity of a life time to be included in these
festivities. We will return to our Guest House to clean up and prepar for
the local dance to be held in a hall near Hvammstangi in the evening.
(**additional ticket purchase required for the dance.)

DAY SIX: After two days of herding, riding and activities, we will set this
day aside sleep in and rest a bit. Some light riding will be available to
those interest. We can enjoy the country side of Sveinstaddir taking photos
and maybe a drive into town for a burger or ice cream.

DAY SEVEN: We'll pack and head back to **Reykjavik very early starting
about 8:00 in the morning. We hope to spend part of the day shopping in Reykjavik at the
larger tack stores. After shopping we will be driven back to the Keflavik
**Items not included in the price: Personal items purchased. Meals
during the shopping trip to Blonduos and Saudarkrokur and Reykjavik and
during the Day Five festivities. The dance ticket is an additional expense.
Beer and liquor is very expensive in Iceland and it might be a good idea to
bring some from home or buy that at the duty free shop at the airport in

I am going to offer this 7 days trek to Iceland in a low price.

Include: Bed and breakfast, dinner every night, riding different horses, and a lot of fun.
Conditions: Personal insurance are not included. Lunch or something else to eat in the midday are not include every day. Also if you want something else to drink than water, milk, tea or coffee.

A trip such as this would make it possible for a person to buy a horse directly from the breeder, and it is possible to make good contact to horse breeders and trainers in Iceland.

It also makes it possible to try many different horses and compare them with each other to try to find the best one.

I will have a good guest house for the visitors. If you or somebody you know would like to take part in this trip please contact me at:

Magnus Olafsson
541 Blonduos

tel. ++ 354 452 4495
Fax: ++ 354 452 4029

An interview from Eidfaxi internationl

-An interview with Magnus Olafsson and Bjorg Thorgilsdottir

Herdis Reynisdottir

During the last few months the topic of marketing in America has been very popular as well as discussions on whether Icelandic horses really stand a chance there in competition with various other breeds that are both taller and more elegant than our little Icelandic horses, and are even gaited in some instances. A few years ago, people held great hopes and had ambitious expectations that the American market was opening up. But it seems people are now discussing this a bit more realistically as they see that the States was not built in a day, any more than ancient Rome. Even though some people are pessimistic, most agree that there are lots of opportunities for the Icelandic horse in America, which we should try to exploit.
But even though many people really believe in these opportunities, not many have actually gone and tried their luck in marketing Icelandic horses in the States. Most people turn to those already in the business, who are professionals and know their stuff, because they think these people are in the best position, and perhaps the only ones who know how to do the job. Fortunately, more and more people are entering this market under various conditions. One of the people who recently started exporting horses to the "promised land" is Magnus Olafsson, a farmer in Hunavatnssysla, who in a short time has managed to make contacts with many interested Americans. He has been successful in selling horses for himself as well for his neighbours. Since May 1999 he has exported 30 horses to America.

Magnus Olafsson and Bjorg Thorgilsdottir are by now well known among many Americans interested in Icelandic horses. They have four children and live at Sveinsstadir, in Eastern Hunavatnssysla County, where Magnus' family has lived for more than 150 years making a living off farming. As a child and youngster, Magnus rode quite a lot, but when he became an adult he rode less and less. However, during the last few years he has become much more active again.
Bjorg was raised in Reykjavik, but for a while she lived in Borgarfjordur. She brought one mare from Hestur in Borgafjordur when she moved to Sveinsstadir. Magnus and Bjorg say that their breeding is still very young. They have had one or two foals yearly until a few years ago when they started to increase their herd. Last winter, they cooperated with two of their neighbours and hired professional trainers.
Their sons have been interested in horses as well, and the oldest of them worked for a while in Germany, but the youngest one wanted to go to a country where English was spoken, so his father started looking on the Internet to see if he could find some information. Magnus made contact with people in the Midwest of the US who offered the boy the opportunity to come and stay. As it turned out, these people first came to Iceland to look at horses, and on their return home they took the boy and five horses with them.

-But how did it happen that Magnus started to surf the Net?
"We have been connected to the Internet for two years now, but in the beginning I could not write any English to speak of; I only managed to communicate in some sort of babble, like so many other Icelanders. In the autumn of 1998 I went to a language school in England for three weeks, and when I came home it became clear that all this learning would not be much use if I did not maintain it. What better way to do this than chatting on the Net?
"When my son wanted to go abroad, I thought I would check the opportunities myself, since it is necessary to know something about the people before you send your son all the way over the ocean into something you are not familiar with. And then things started to develop. A personal contact was made and we started to write to people, and little by little I made contact with more and more people. Perhaps there are not many farmers of my generation who realise what kind of a revolution the Internet is. Actually, the Net changes a lot for us who live out in the country, because on the Net distances do not matter."

-What, in your opinion, is the position of horsemanship in the States?
"It is clear that a lot of education is needed there, and it is very important that we try to help out with that. It is very useful to send youngsters who can ride abroad, because they can assist a bit and train the horses that are already there, especially those that have become worse riding horses due to a lack of knowledge. If our boy had not gone abroad we would not have achieved as much as we have in introducing our business and us out there. Diligent and positive youngsters can help a lot, even though they cannot replace experienced teachers, plus they can also learn a lot themselves. After our son had been there for three months, we sent two other youngsters to the same place. Now our son is going again, and we have also hired another young man out there to train the horses and help the people.
"It is also necessary that riders from the States come to Iceland, so we can kindle their interest and show them how things are done here. Often, lack of knowledge leads to misunderstanding and the only thing needed to correct it is more knowledge. Many American buyers are complete beginners and they need reliable and well behaving horses. Usually they know far too little about Icelandic horses and not much about other horses either, so they need information about grooming, feeding and, not least, riding.
"My wife and I went over to America last April and it was a great experience. We went to a big horse show where 50,000 people gathered during a weekend. This trip confirmed my belief that it is important for people over there to understand how things are done in Iceland. It is such a different world, and the way of thinking in horsemanship is completely different too. It is not enough that Icelanders go abroad and teach people how to do things, understanding comes best with the American's own experience with Icelandic horses in Icelandic surroundings. Such knowledge is also quite a trump in marketing. Horses that are born and raised in Iceland are and will be special, so it is a good idea to advertise that. It is also very important to draw the attention of long-time horsemen to Icelandic horses. The best talents of our horses are not really used properly in the hands of beginners."

-How do you think we can best market Icelandic horses in the United States?
"Personal contact is in my opinion very important, and we should give that great priority. If you keep in touch regularly via the Net, it is easy to follow up and provide assistance and advice, at least up to a certain point. We think it is best when people who plan to buy horses come over here and stay for a few days. People then get the chance to view some horses at ease, pick the ones they like best and try them out for a few days. In that way we think you can better ensure that the right horses go to the right owners. It is very important that you do not sell horses thinking that once they have gone abroad you never need to think about them again. On the contrary, we must realise that bad horses can destroy our chances and that the people who get them may never buy Icelandic horses again. That is very negative marketing.
While it is not wise to sell bad horses, the effect can be just as negative when a new owner has trouble with good horses. The horses need to be reliable, they must have good gaits and they must be well schooled. It is best if they have been ridden for two or three years, as such horses do not often get relapses due to the different circumstances and riding techniques. Of course a seller can make a bigger profit by selling young horses, but in the long run it is not suitable. We must think a bit further than only to the next month. We may not jeopardise future business possibilities by being shortsighted. We must take very good care of the buyers and follow up on each and every horse, for if we do this well there will be plenty of future opportunities.
In order to follow up on the horses we have sold to the States, my wife and I took another trip to the States last autumn. Some other people from Hunavatnssysla, whom we have assisted in selling horses, came along with us. We went to the first breeding show of Icelandic horses that has been held in America. Five of the judged horses were exported with our assistance, which is quite a good percentage of the 32 horses in total that were judged at this show.
We were pleased that all "our" horses scored over 7.50, the old limit for entry in the studbook. In order to make most of our trip for introduction and marketing purposes, we also brought Icelandic food and we invited everybody who was there for a meal after the show, together with our local partners. This party was held in a stable and we managed to create a wonderful atmosphere, eating smoked lamb, dried fish, grilled trout and Icelandic cheeses, which we all washed down with Icelandic brennivin (schnapps). Our partners provided bread, ham, drinks and other things. It was a great party that lasted far into the night."

"America is bigger than most people comprehend, and there is massive horse culture there along with enormous interest. Many millions of people might end up buying an Icelandic horse in the future, but that doesn't happen in one day. People have talked a lot about opening the American market, just as if it would be the same as setting free the Icelandic farmers, as if the market would be limitless and you could send all kinds of horses over there for years to come.
We must not forget that there are already many horse breeds of all sizes and types in the States, and that most of them are cheaper than Icelandic horses. We must decide which market we want to work on because America is not just one market. We know that it is hopeless to compete with the prices of the many breeds that are for sale as leisure horses. We need to set ourselves a goal and decide what an Icelandic horse is, and whom it suits.
I think we should build up a certain image and focus on quality, as was done with the salmon rivers. We have the best salmon rivers in the world, and also the best horses in the world. In our marketing of the salmon rivers abroad, we have put emphasis on offering first and foremost the best rivers, with first-class service and good guides. Some people have tried to sell poor rivers in this market, but that has very soon proven to be a mistake. People do not return there, while the same people return year after year to the best rivers.
We also need to very carefully select the horses that we sell to the States. Horses that do not suit their buyers destroy marketing potential, in the same way that a good horse in good hands can bring us many new customers. The Icelandic horse is a unique riding breed, but it also costs a lot to produce and start them if they are to suit this market well, and we must not forget that.
In any case, we do not have any chance of getting a big slice of the American market because our horse stock simply is not large enough to produce the numbers we would need. The advantage that salmon fishing has over our horses is that salmon fishing is international. Our salmon is no different from that in other countries, they can be caught on the same beautiful fly. Knowledge about the product "The Icelandic horse" is not available out there, a fact we need to change. We must teach people to enjoy their unique qualities, and we must help them to set up an educational as well as social system. That is one of the most important aspects of our marketing work."

"It is very important to get the Americans to visit Iceland. The travel business and the marketing of horses are related items that support each other. It could be practical to market many things at the same time, such as salmon fishing, trout fishing, riding tours, glacier tours and whale watching. In this respect we who live in the countryside have the advantage. Usually, we know our own area well and can guide the people who visit us. Since I am the chairman of the local fishing club, I have some insight into fishing. People have come to visit, viewed horses for a while, fished for a day or so and then even gone on a jeep tour as well. In this way we could probably reach a larger group of people who like adventure, or of families where each member has his own interest to pursue on the same holiday."

"Many people think that marketing should not cost much. If you think like that you achieve nothing. Powerful marketing is the basis on which horse breeding could become a profitable career. It does not do to sit around and wait for other people to open up the market for us horse breeders. What is valid elsewhere is valid here, if you do not do things yourself, nothing will happen, and there is no reason to expect otherwise. We should use all the energy possible in introducing our horses there: if we want to do it right it is a time consuming and complicated job that demands the input of idealists. As the situation is today, you need to put a lot of work in the selling of each and every horse. The Americans simply are not in a hurry. They need a long time to contemplate, gather information, chat and speculate, and finally view, before they possibly buy a horse."

"It costs over ,000 to transport a horse from Iceland to New York. After that you have to add a lot more to get the horse to the Midwest where I most of my customers are located. Almost half of this is the cost of quarantine as there are no import taxes in the States. It is a lot of money, which often makes up a large percentage of the final price of the horse. Often, people want to buy the cheapest horses and simply do not understand the great difference in price. This is understandable since people have nothing to compare the horses to; they do not know how a good horse differs from a hag, until they have tried it for themselves. At the courses that are held abroad, where people bring their own horses, they sometimes notice the difference in quality, and little by little they start to long for a better horse. That is why I usually try to explain to the people that it is better to buy a horse that is a bit more expensive, and thereby be assured that you will be pleased with the horse. The cost of exporting a horse worth half a million or an untrained young horse that costs 50,000 is the same.
The development is the same as what we do with our children in Iceland. If we give them a good children's horse to begin with, a horse they can trust, yet also does everything well and makes them happy then in the end they want a better horse with greater willingness and an even better one after that. If, on the other hand, we give our children a bad horse, or a horse that frightens them, it is quite likely that they will loose interest and stop riding. In the same way, we must work together and inform new buyers of Icelandic horses as honourably and carefully as we can, so that everything goes well. If we take good care, I think we can achieve a lot, and the American market will bring considerable profitability."

this was an interview from Eidfaxi

We went to the US.

My wife and I went to the U.S. on the 1st of November 2000. We had a great time at the Evaluation at Tulsa, Oklahoma. We met many new friends and we had a lot of fun. After the Evaluation we went with our friends to Chicago and then to Milwaukee. The trip was 11 days. When I was at home, again I wrote an article in the DV, a big newspaper in Iceland. I wrote about the Icelandic horses in the U.S. and I included information from 4 interviews from the Evaluation.

For my part I was happy about the result of "my horses" at the Evaluation. It is only 17 month since I started exporting Icelandic horses to the US and I have not exported so many yet. At the evaluation in Tulsa 32 horses was full evaluated, (both conformation and riding) I had exported 5 of them and all of them get over 7,50. I hope I can find a lot of buyer in the US who like very good horses. It cost so lot of money to export a horse, it is much better to buy a good horse in Iceland.