All services are performed or overseen personally by Laura Benson. Valkyrie Icelandic is based in Palo Alto, California and operates in San Mateo / Santa Clara County (San Francisco Bay Area). For services in another county ,country or state, please contact us.

Our riding philosophy

At Valkyrie Icelandic, the horse always comes first! Everything in our training program is tailored to fit each individuals needs so that we can bring out the best in each horse . We use classical dressage as our core training, while still maintaining the freedom and spirit of the Icelandic Horse. We focus on the art of flow in our daily riding and having the practical tools of dressage training which allow us to improvise in the moment with our horses. To learn more about our Gæðinga Dressage training method click here:

Gæðinga Dressage
'Since time is a continuum, the moment is always different, so the music is always different.' - Herbie Hancock

Stallions At Stud

Introductory lesson

A lesson to introduce you to Icelandic horses, horsemanship, and rider assessment to find suitable horse and riding program tailored to your needs.

Private lessons generally last 45 minutes but may range from 30-60 minutes depending on the needs of the individual horse and rider combination. Youth or beginner riders may have some lesson time learning basic skills such as getting the horse, leading, and tacking up. Wear riding shoes with heels and pants that are snuggly fitting. No baggy clothing, scarves or hanging jewelry. Helmet can be provided in some cases if we have one to fit your size.


Private lesson

Private riding lesson with Laura Benson, customized to your level of experience and horse training. You can ride your horse or we have lesson horses available to lease.

Private lessons generally last 45 minutes but may range from 30-60 minutes depending on the needs of the individual horse and rider combination. Youth or beginner riders may have some lesson time learning basic skills such as getting the horse, leading, and tacking up. Experienced riders should be ready with horse tacked up at lesson start time unless they are still in the beginner level.
Please give at least 24 hours notice for cancellations. Make-up lessons must be scheduled separately from normal lesson times.

Packages of 10 lessons can be purchased upon request, and must be used within 60 days of purchase date.

Horse training

Your horse is boarded at Valkyrie Icelandic for a custom training program. 2 month minimum

Horses in full training are generally ridden 4-5 days/week but this is not guaranteed. This is because a long weekend or a day off may occasionally be a necessity and an important part of training especially when timed correctly. However if a horse is not ridden due to trainer unavailability those days will be prorated at $25/day and the owner’s bill will be discounted. We keep records on how often a horse is trained. A minimum of 16 rides per month is guaranteed.

Horse assessment

An in-depth evaluation of your horses gaits, ground manners, responsiveness to rider's aids, body condition and overall health. Evaluation form included.

For riders that want a starting point for their horse or maybe are having some issues with a horse that they would like assessed. I do an in depth session with the horse evaluating everything from his general health and character to his ground work and work under saddle.

Show coaching

Show coaching includes one lesson or ride on the track and weekend of coaching advice and support.

With a show coaching package you will get one track practice session and Lala´s feedback and guidance throughout the show weekend. If you have someone videotape your performance Lala can even help you review and make corrections for finals day. A warm-up routine will be created and Lala will help IF AVAILABLE at the time of your warm-up.

Competition showing

Have your horse gain show experience by being ridden by Laura Benson or other Valkyrie Icelandic trainer.

If you would like to have your horse presented professionally either to gain some experience or to get them ridden at the highest level possible, we can create a program to have Lala or other Valkyrie Icelandic Trainer show your horse in a competition.

Buying or Educational Trips to Iceland

Find the horse of your dreams or brush up on your riding skills in Iceland

Lala does custom trips for her clients to Iceland. If you would like to buy a horse, go for an educational trip or even just go for a relaxing riding holiday, contact Lala for more details to customize the trip of your dreams.


Experience how to use dressage to balance the horse through classical exercises while maintaining the spirit and freedom that characterizes Icelandic horsemanship.

Host a Clinic with Lala or a Gæðinga Dressage Clinic with Lala and Carrie. Clinics must be scheduled at least a month in advance. 8 hours max. Maximum of 8 riders for standard clinic. 12 riders max for Gæðinga Dressage Clinic. Our training concepts are rooted in the idea of gæðingafimi, meaning “dressage for the great horse” where you flow between exercises in a way that brings out the best possible gaits and movement in your equine partner.

Breeding evaluation training

Laura Benson will train your horse for breeding evaluation

Contact Lala if you would like to have your horse evaluated for breeding evaluations. 6 months training minimum required.

We have known Laura Benson for over 5 years now and have worked with her in a clinic setting and have taken lessons from her for competition and pleasure riding. We find her teaching to be easy for a novice rider to understand and for an advanced rider to be just as valuable.
Brian & Cindy Wescott
Best Icelandic Horse trainer in the United States. Professional, graduated with honors at the most prestigious institution in Iceland, and fun teacher.
Veronica Picciafuoco