Photo Courtesy of Lindsay Blatt / Herd In Iceland

We asked filmmakers Lindsay Blatt and Paul Taggert to share their experience filming their documentary Herd In Iceland. They told us all about the traditions of the herders they encountered, the beauty of the countryside and the rich culture hidden away in the cities and farms of Iceland.

Iceland is an island nation of approximately 300,000 people and 80,000 horses, on a parcel of land about the size of Kentucky.  Our documentary Herd In Iceland began filming in 2010, with a return trip in the fall of 2011.  The film tells the story of the Icelandic herders, whose sheep and semi-wild horses spend their summers grazing in the highlands, free to roam and raise their young.  Every September, farm owners from each county ride into the mountains to collect their herds and bring them home for the winter.  The film documents this historic tradition, and shows the special relationship the people have with their hardy and curious horses.

Photo Courtesy of Paul Taggart / Herd In Iceland

While filming, we lived and worked alongside several families of horse breeders, a farrier of world-class show horses and veterinarians.  The annual round-ups are community-wide events, bringing together people who live in the city and those in the rural farm areas.  After the larger round-ups, which happen on weekends, there is a big party where people eat meat soup, sing traditional Icelandic songs, dance and celebrate the return of their horses.

Photo Courtesy of Paul Taggart / Herd In Iceland

One of our most memorable experiences was being able to ride with the family of Geitaskard farm as they collected their horses during the Skrapatungurétt round-up in northwest Iceland.  We rode with a very small group of herders to fetch the horses that had separated from the herd and climbed high into the mountains.  As many people have said to us, there is nothing better than riding a good horse with good weather.  Both of those elements lined up for an amazing day of filming, getting to see both the subtle and not-so-subtle techniques that are used to direct horses across vast landscapes.

The countryside is visually stunning and hard to escape but we did make the occasional drive to the more urban cities of Akureyri in the north and Reykjavik in the south.  These sojourns into the city for supplies were met with a rich artistic community and the occasional indulgence in Iceland’s unique shopping.

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Herd In Iceland is scheduled to premiere at the Reykjavik International Film Festival in September 2012.  Visit HerdInIceland.com to view clips from the film and browse the gallery of photographs.  You can contact Lindsay and Paul at ahoy@lanternfishmedia.com.

Learn more about the enigmatic country of Iceland with our Reykjavik photo gallery and videos of the volcanic Lake Myvatn and Iceland’s Blue Lagoon.

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Amanda DiGiondomenicoAmanda is an Interactive Producer for TravelChannel.com and considers herself a resident of both Baltimore and Washington, DC. She loves taking road trips up and down the East Coast, but...

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