Røros loves its horses. The stout Icelandic ponies used in the region are intelligent, friendly, and just a bit stubborn, and one of the best ways to trek through the Norwegian mountains. And for an amazing primer on riding in Røros, we went on a mountain trek with Ole Martin Nymoen of Os Turridning.
Martin is a class act. He’s a man of many trades: when he’s not on horseback, he’s a farmer, teacher, farrier, and even a judge for herding dog competitions with a way behind the whistle that would put the cast of Babe to tears. (If there’s time after your ride, maybe you’ll luck out and get a demonstration. He’s fantastic with his dogs.) And his riding options match: starting at 450 NOK ($74 USD) per person for a two hour trek, you can do anything from short explorations to multi-day adventures in the country.
We started out on flat roads, with Martin first making sure we were comfortable with our horses. Chris and I have very different backgrounds on horseback: I took lessons, and ride whenever I can, whereas this was Chris’s first time on a horse. However, if you’re uncertain at all, absolutely tell Martin – he can build a ride around your needs.
Next Martin tried to teach us the Icelandic gait, a controlled gait similar to a Tennessee Walker trot, with the reins held in close. We never quite got it right, but it was so much fun trying.
After a few minutes on level road, trekking between hills, we turned up a trail and started to gain altitude. And as you climb, the scenery from pastoral countryside to primeval forest. Tyttebaer, or lingonberries, cover the hills, with tarred pines spotting the landscape. Imagine a forest full of dark barked pines and truly lush with 6” tall dense shrubs, and you have a small idea of how beautiful it really was. All I wanted to do was take a moment just to breathe, but we were out for adventure, and we kept riding. (I wish I had pictures of this; my camera failed me at this point.)
Martin kept us at a leisurely pace, slow enough to both work with our horses and appreciate the beauty around us. At one point we were on the slimmest of ridges, a pond on either side, steam rising in slow wafts. And as we rode back, we passed some of his sheep, returning home for the day, and farmers working the fields. And the whole time we were generally alone with our horses.
After our ride, he showed us just how well he ran his dogs, putting one through her paces with two sheep and the tiniest tweets from his whistle. I didn’t feel like a Norwegian, but I felt a bit more like I understood why everyone braved the snow each year.
If you have two days or more in Røros, going horseback riding must be on your list. You won’t find hills like these anywhere else.