Europe, Iceland, travel
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Living and working in Iceland – questions

How do you have found that job?

It’s really easy just search on the internet or Facebook, there are many companies who are searching for helping hands and tour guides.

Which age is required?

The most people need workers over 18 years because of the driver license.

How much do you get paid?

I can tell you that it is definitely not as much as an architect. I have enough to life and for my surprise I can save some money. (Off course I need to pay my horses stable at home otherwise it would be more but still I am really surprised)

What are the main differences between Icelandic horse riding and western riding?

There are a ton. I am a western rider but for my luck I have ridden also English what makes it for me easier. The Icelandic horses are used to have contact with the rider over the rains. Yes you can let them hang loose when you just walk but when you want to tölt no way with the most horses without contact. One hand riding, like the normal western rider is used to, is not really working here. You definitely need 2 Hands at the horse. I know now the horses know pretty well and which one I can ride and tölt with one hand and which one I can’t. That is pretty handy for my working life.

Are the horses treated well?

Yes I must say my company is really looking that every horse is treated very well. Sometimes I think some riding schools from Germany should have a look here. Our horses are coming only for a few months to us working and then going to another farm or to the mountains where they have a few months off. I can tell you that we have no dump horse here. They have also 2 stone pastures where they are going out every day and 1 grassland. The horses are getting 3-4 times food and if someone doesn’t look to good we are contacting straight our boss.

How much does one tour cost and what can I see?

Depends on the tour. I make 1 and 2 hour tours only because it is still winter season here. I ride with the people threw a lava field and a forest, it is stunning. The hole landscape is changing every day especially with the weather you have always different experiences.

Why do you have changed your job?

That’s easy I was sick of sitting in the office and I have had the feeling that I need to see and do something else. I was traveling last year a lot, so I need to get some money in and just can’t afford to only travel. This experience is for me both traveling and working. In my free days I can make some tours or do whatever I want. Till now, I have seen a lot of Reykjavik and off course we are doing after the work the fun rides where I see and learn a ton.

What’s the difference from America and Iceland to “break” a horse?

It is a really different thing. In America I was getting trained that groundwork is everything. You don’t sit on a horse who bucks or what you can’t stop anymore. In Iceland, they are starting the horses with 3.5 years. Then they just take them as mounting horse with them on ride. Maybe they take a saddle on them but it’s not getting ridden. With 4.5 -5 it is time to start riding them. The normal training is saddle on top ok now the rider. They don’t do groundwork here. (Off course there are a few people who are doing it)

Do you need a visa?

I need a registration number in Iceland because I am working here. For my luck that’s what my boss is doing for me. But that depends on your home country (union or not union member). Some country’s need straight away a visa. Just look at the website from your country.

What are your working hours?

The first feeding is at 7.30 and the last at 19.30 in between you have free time also for lunch or some extra breaks.

Is the work hard?

It is pretty rough the first week I would say because the body needs to get used to the body work. (I was an office person) after a few weeks you should be used to it and it will be way easier.

Tipps:

Don’t take any unpaid work because that is not legal. In Iceland if you work with horses (and other jobs) you need to get paid.

Working with horses are really special and because of the diseases in other countries you need to get new riding gear. It is not allowed to take old gloves with you or shoes…. Have a look at the Icelandic websites or ask your stable. It is a prevention because these horses have never had some diseases what we have on the “mainland”.

I can recommend to work in Iceland really. When you have a good company and a fun job, then work doesn’t feel like work at all.

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