What is TöLting?

The flag of Iceland, where the Icelandic horse was developed.

Tölting is a unique form of riding for the Icelandic horse, a small breed of horse that was developed in Iceland to brave the harsh winters and rugged terrain of this northern nation. As this gait is different from walking, trotting, cantering and galloping, Icelanders are known as “walking horses”, reflecting their extra skills. In addition to tölting, Icelanders are also able to display flugskeið or “flight speed”. Almost all Icelanders are able to walk naturally, although some horses prefer to trot, and this gait can also be refined through additional training.

This gait is a four-beat side gait, which means that both legs on one side move forward together. It is very similar to racking, a gait found on some American horses, but tölting is a little different from classic racking. Icelandic owners tend to be particularly defensive about the difference between the easel and the tolt, but there are actually differences between the two gaits that are often visible even to people who have no experience with marching horses.

When a horse swings, it keeps its back level, head up, neck arched, and raises its front and hind legs high. At least one foot is on the ground at all times in the tölt, and the gait is extremely smooth. Icelanders can also move very quickly; the speed of a tölt can approach a gallop, unless the horse is also capable of flight, in which case it tends to walk a little slower.

The best Icelanders tölt so smoothly that the rider barely moves in the saddle. Some riders like to show off with a glass full of liquid, demonstrating how no liquid is spilled during an especially smooth training session. This gait is also very fluid and showy to look at, especially on a well-groomed horse, and like other horse gaits, it is highly energy efficient, meaning the horse can maintain the gait for an extended period of time.

See also  What causes warts in cows?

Many Icelandic horses start riding very young; foals and fillies in play, for example, can be on the field before they are even mounted. The gait may not require any further development from a rider or trainer, although some riders teach their horses to step especially high into the ring. In other cases, an Icelander may need to be taught tölt, because he prefers to trot or walk.

Leave a Comment