Better Avoid Brennivín at Horse Roundup

Farmer Haraldur Þór Jóhannsson, a.k.a. Halli í Enni, busy at …

Farmer Haraldur Þór Jóhannsson, a.k.a. Halli í Enni, busy at the roundup.ður Aðalsteinsson

Vala Hafstað

The roundup of horses in Iceland is now in full swing. Among the best known of the corrals is Laufskálarétt , in Hjaltadalur valley, Skagafjörður, North Iceland, the roundup of which is scheduled for tomorrow.

To the residents of Skagafjörður, a district famous for its horses, this is a major celebration, in which about 3,000 people are expected to participate. Companies in the tourism industry offer visitors to participate in herding the horses today and tomorrow, Morgunblaðið reports.

“Participating in this is extremely enjoyable,” farmer Haraldur Þór Jóhannsson states. “Many people participate.”

From Laufskálarétt, last year.

From Laufskálarétt, last year.

Horse breeders will host an open house at their farms today, and tonight, there will be entertainment at the Svaðastaðir riding hall. A horse show is planned, in addition to musical acts.

Saturday morning, participants will ride to Kolbeinsdalur valley toward farmers, coming from the highlands, and help them herd the horses to the corral.

At Laufskálarétt, the horses will be sorted, starting at 1 pm, Saturday, each going to their owner’s corral. The celebrations culminate in the evening, when people get together at several locations around Skagafjörður to party and celebrate. These include the Svaðastaðir riding hall, where a dance is planned, Mælifell in Sauðárkrókur, Miðgarður and Hótel Varmahlíð.

Haraldur stresses the importance of this weekend for breeders. This is where they need to sell their horses. Deals are oftentimes sealed during the roundup, while some buyers visit the farms to take a closer look at the horses.

“This is the day when we, the horse breeders, should not touch brennivín,” he stresses, referring to Icelandic aquavit. “We’re serving people, who come here, and networking. When offered brennivín at the corral, I sometimes respond, ‘If you were buying a car, would you buy it from a drunken car salesman?’ We can drink our brennivín at another time and even go out with our friends in the evening.”

There are roundups of horses in other parts of North Iceland today and tomorrow, and the Víðidalstungurétt roundup in Northwest Iceland is scheduled a week from now.


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