Kat Spencer has been a horse lover her whole life, and she recently embarked on her very first horse riding holiday. Not one to do things by halves, Kat signed up for our exploratory ride in Iceland, an epic adventure that saw her ride with a herd of horses across Iceland’s dramatic and changeable wilderness. Read on to learn more about Kat and her Globetrotting adventure!
What is your day job?
I have been a paramedic working on a double-crewed ambulance for ten years. I cover an area that is both urban and rural, so I see a wide variety of problems.
How have horses influenced or changed your life?
Horses have influenced my whole life. I started riding lessons when I was five, then from about the age of nine I helped out at a riding school on weekends. Every weekend was spent at the stables and as soon as I could drive I would also spend free college days and evenings there. At university I was in the riding team and after university, to ‘rest my brain’, I worked every hour imaginable at a point-to-point yard. After that, although I lived rurally, I only had occasional rides on a friend’s horse. Seven years ago my whole life changed when I got a husband, two horses and our own place with land.
What is your earliest memory of horses?
I was a toddler. We lived on a farm and friends used to send their ponies on holidays to us. I was allowed to sit on them.
What was your childhood pony called?
Despite begging every birthday, Christmas and pretty much every other day too, I did not get my own horse until I was 30! He is Spud, an accident prone off-the-track Thoroughbred.
What does riding or being with horses mean to you?
Being with horses is my happy place. Any problems or worries I have leave my mind when I’m with horses, whether it’s riding, shovelling muck or anything in between!
What have horses taught you the most?
They have taught me so much from a very early age – how to work hard: I used to muck out all day in return for a one hour ride. Patience, trust, responsibility, the list is endless. More recently, I am on a journey learning a new way to train and understand the horse. I am learning that what you see in the horse is often a reflection of yourself.
Was this your first Globetrotting ride?
What made you take the plunge and sign up for a Globetrotting holiday?
My sister talked me into it. She lives in New Zealand and I live in the UK. The ride in Iceland seemed a perfect way to spend time together. I actually just missed out on a rider spot as there was a flurry of bookings at the same time I did mine. I was gutted, then three weeks before the ride, Kate contacted me to say there had been a cancellation. Well that was three weeks of craziness trying to organise everything!
Was this Globetrotting ride celebrating or marking a significant moment/milestone/achievement in your life? And if so, would you mind sharing?
It wasn’t for any special occasion, just a good way to spend time with my sister.
What Globetrotting rides have you since completed/planned/dreamed about?
I’m not in a position to be doing any more globetrotting for a while, so for the time being I’m dreaming of the Big Horn Cattle Drive and the Maasai Mara!
What is your most memorable Globetrotting moment?
Moment, singular? The whole ride was full of memorable moments. Traversing a near-vertical valley side with my heart in my mouth but the amazing Icelandic horse just clambering over anything in his way without even breaking stride. Incredible views that just got better and better. Putting complete trust in the brave little horse as he battled his way across a raging glacial river. The blissful scene of the herd completely relaxed after a hard day of travel. The landscape was so big it made you feel so small and insignificant, both in size and time. The whole trip will stay with me forever.
Why choose this type of travel? As in exploring a new country from the back of a horse?
You are so close to nature, you see so much detail, from the tiny crowberries growing where nothing else can to the enormous skies that go on and on. If you were zooming along in a car I don’t think you could appreciate it in the same way.
Who is your favourite safari horse of all time and why?
I didn’t really have a favourite. We rode so many, and they were all special.
A tip that every globetrotter should know before going on a ride…
You don’t need as much stuff as you think. Pack as light as possible.
Finish this sentence: Don’t leave home without…
Lip salve and sun cream!
Find out more about our rides in Iceland here!