The three farms below offer lessons and short rides as well as multi-day adventures for all ability levels. In September, you can participate in round-ups, retrieving sheep and horses that have run wild in the highlands all summer; all-night parties follow. Dates are posted at www.northwest.is.
Flugumýri (tel. 453-8814; www.flugumyri.com), on Route 76, 3km (2 miles) off the Ring Road, presents exhibitions for groups, showing off the talents of the Icelandic horse; call ahead, and, if an exhibition is scheduled, you can sign up for 2,000kr ($32/£16) per person, including coffee and cake.
Hestasport (tel. 453-8383; www.riding.is), a respected outfit just outside Varmahlíð, has several good route options including the Hólar area, the Kjölur route through the interior to Gullfoss and Geysir, and local sheep round-ups.
Lýtingsstaðir (tel. 453-8064; www.lythorse.com), on Route 752, 20km (12 miles) south of Varmahlíð, has a good range of highland tours, including horse and sheep round-ups, and an economical overnight package that includes two meals and a short ride.
The rivers feeding Skagafjörður provide the best river-rafting in North Iceland. The Eystri-Jökulsá has difficult class III and IV+ rapids, while the Vestari-Jökulsá has easier class II rapids, as well as a cliff-jumping ledge and a hot spring for making cocoa.
Activity Tours (tel. 453-8383; www.rafting.is), affiliated with the horse tour company Hestasport, is the best operator. They also offer super-tame trips on the Blanda River (ages 6 and up), and an exciting 3-day adventure down the Eystri-Jökulsá, starting deep within the desert interior. The Eystri-Jökulsá trip lasts 6 to 7 hours and costs around 8,500kr ($136/£68) all-inclusive, with a minimum age of 18. The Vestari-Jökulsá trip lasts 4 to 5 hours and costs about 5,500kr ($88/£44), minimum age 12. Trips run from May to early October.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.