Iceland Mag

15 Reykjavik

Iceland Mag

Travel

Local farmer frustrated his horses are treated as a tourist attraction

By Staff

  • Clear message Despite the sign travellers and tour operators continue to stop by the fence to pet and feed the horses. Photo/Margeir Ingólfsson

A farmer who owns land adjacent to the road between Gullfoss waterfall and the Geysir geothermal area in South Iceland has just about had enough of travellers and tour-operators treating his horses as a tourist attraction. A sign he put up warning people not to pet or feed his horses seems not to have had any effect.

Margeir Ingólfsson, who owns a herd of 40 horses which he keeps in a pasture in South Iceland, told Iceland Magazine earlier this year that he has nothing against people admiring the horses. However, he is not happy with tour operators using his herd as a tourist attraction or throngs of people petting and feeding the horses bread. Margeir told us that his horses are "riding horses, not pets", and that horses who are fed bread and are treated as pets pick up bad habits which can make them difficult to handle.

Read more: Local farmer fed up with travellers feeding his horses bread, teaching them bad habits

Earlier this month Margeir put up a sign instructing people not to feed or pet his horses. But according to a post on Facebook, the sign has had very limited effect, as throngs of travellers have flocked to the gate to the pasture, blocking his access to his own horses:

"Today we had to get two foals from the herd but to get to the horses we first had to herd 10 travellers from the gate, where they stood petting the horses. ... We got the mare with the foals, but to get back out to the road we had to chase the travellers again from the gate. By that time there were even more travellers there. Including a small bus with 9 passengers from a local tour company, and the guide stood there, right next to the sign, feeding horses bread from a bag he had with him."

Margeir argues that the sign seems to have had very little if any effect, as the road by his pasture gets blocked time and again by groups of travellers who stop there to photograph his horses, pet them and feed them.

We at Iceland Magazine would like to remind travellers to respect the land, the animals and locals alike. Please follow instructions: If the signs warn you that a road is closed, or private property don't venture onto that road, and if a sign asks you to leave the animals alone, please respect that! And don't feed bread to the horses!

Read more: Foreign travellers causing accidents by parking their cars in the middle of the highway to take photos

Also: don't cause danger to other motorists by stopping your car in the middle of the road!

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