Saturday, September 10, 2011

Rounding up the horses

These images are from two different years and two different locations, all from my scanned photos.

I am lucky enough that my parents live near the corrals where the two biggest horse round-ups in the country take place: Skrapatungurétt and Laufskálarétt. Both boast of being the biggest, but the numbers speak plainly: Skrapatunga is the winner with 800-1000 horses to Laufskáli's 6-800, but Laufskáli is the most popular, with around 3000 people in attendance, which can make it difficult to actually approach the corral itself. This is why I recommend Skrapatunga to visitors who want to experience this spectacle.

Both places are tourist destinations, with foreign and local horse enthusiasts paying to join in the round-ups and tourists arriving by bus to watch the spectacle when hundreds of horses flow across the landscape like a massive river before being driven into the corral in smaller groups.

From Laufskálarétt:
Penned horses waiting to be driven into the corral, or possibly the steeds of the people who took part in the round-up:

The campsite:

A cameraman filming the horses in the corral:

Horses in the waiting pen:

I never even got close to the corral due to the number of people who had arrived ahead of me and packed themselves around it.

From Skrapatungurétt:

Here the former headmaster of my elementary school helps herd horses towards the right compartment in the corral:

This guy has clearly immersed himself in the local cowboy culture (nearby Skagaströnd is sometimes called - tongue in cheek - the country culture capital of Iceland):

A young horse awaits its fate. Most of the summer foals are sold for slaughter, only the most promising being kept for taming and/or breeding:

Sniffing the unfamiliar smells of strange horses:

Imprisoned in a compartment:

This one doesn't quite know what to think:

Nodding off:

Resigned to their fate:

A frightened young horse being pushed/pulled towards a compartment:

Looking for a friend in the crowd?

This one was clearly annoyed, and started to bite and kick moments after I snapped this:

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