Connecting with Horses through Yoga

Hörður Bender.

Hörður Bender.

Vala Hafstað

Entrepreneur Hörður Bender has succeeded in combining his interest in yoga and horses. After living abroad for more than two decades, he returned to Iceland in 2010.

“I loved reconnecting with Icelandic nature and the energy it gives you,” he tells mbl.is . “Through experiencing nature again, fishing and riding horses, I felt this strong connection to my country. My wife and I bought a piece of land in Mosfellsdalur valley and resumed horseback riding after a long break.”

He began hiking in the mountains in the vicinity and practicing yoga. “I soon discovered it would be fun to bring other people along, so I began offering tourists to join me,” he states. “We hiked up the mountain and practiced yoga at the top. It’s a good start to the day, I find.”

Later on, this evolved into establishing the travel business Sólir, which offers tourists riding lessons, riding tours and lunch. Gradually, those taking yoga lessons began taking part in the riding lessons as well. Eventually, Hörður started applying yoga methods, such as breathing and relaxing, to the riding lessons.

“Now, I’ve reached a new level in riding,” he explains. “The riding trails are no longer what matters most. What does matter is building a bridge between yourself and the horse and reaching a deep level of connection with the horse through mindfulness.”

Hörður believes horses have a lot to teach us.

“Every day, the horse reminds me that patience is a virtue,” he explains. “The horse does not think in terms of past or future; it is just here in the present.”

Hörður emphasizes the importance of mutual trust between the rider and the horse. The rider is in a leadership role which, he states, is good for one’s self-confidence and self image.

For more information about Sólir, see here.

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