23. May 2022 · Comments Off on Out Horse your Email · Categories: Around The Campfire


Vacation was an ailing concept before the pandemic; covid finished it off. Oh, we still go places, but we never really leave work behind. Whether canoeing, hiking, snorkeling, spelunking or just suntanning, we’re always saddled with answering emails from the office.

Is this writerly chore really inescapable? Neigh. The good people of a small northern nation have a solution: “Let the horses of Iceland reply to your emails while you are on vacation!”

In a gorgeous (and hilarious) public service announcement posted yesterday, the Icelandic tourist bureau offers the services of three equine secretaries:

  • Litla Stjarna: Types fast, but might take a nap.
  • Hrímnir: Assertive. Efficient. Shiny hair.
  • Hekla: Friendly, trained in corporate buzzwords.

The service – “Outhorse Your Email” – reins in all your correspondence and sends it to a coastal field at the foot of snow-capped mountains. There, majestic horses tap out replies to your emails on a giant keyboard. Or sometimes, they just gallop across the keyboard, which I’ve decided is the way I’m going to start responding to certain people’s messages.

Sigríður Dögg Guðmundsdóttir, the head of Visit Iceland, the country’s tourist information bureau, tells me, “The idea, of course, was a bit out there when we first heard this, but we trust the process.” (How Iceland’s horses learned to type emails.) She and her team were responding to surveys that suggest 65 percent of people look daily at their work email even while on vacation. “So we thought, ‘Okay, here’s a problem. Is there something that Iceland can offer to help?’ And so we employed three Icelandic horses to do just that.”

To be honest, they are not particularly articulate writers, and their spelling is worse than mine, but once the horses have responded to all your email, you can also ride them around the countryside. “That,” Guðmundsdóttir adds, “is actually a wonderful way to experience Iceland.”

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