An Icelandic Horse breeder / trainer has this on their website in regard to describing the tolt:
"The horse moves its feet in the same order as the walk. The hind legs move well under the body, the back rises, and the horse becomes light on the front, generally with high front leg action and head and neck elevated but collected and on the bit. If you see a tolting Icelandic who is hollow in the back, his neck vertical and ewed, and with his nose in the air, it is a sign of improper collection and bad riding, and is unnecessary for the performance of this magnificent gait."
Let's take a look at this to see what it all means. Let's also consider whether the points are "natural" or not.
 "horse moves its feet in the same order as the walk": Yes, good.
 "hind legs move well under the body": Does the horse do this naturally or has it been intimidated by the whip? Let's see how the horse moves at liberty.
 "the back rises": In tolt, the back is in ventroflexion. There are varying degrees, from the horse's natural frame for the gait, to the forced frame by the rider, but tolt requires some ventroflexion to be able to do the gait.
 "horse becomes light on the front": It may "feel" like the front feet are light, but the vector of the horse is earthbound, easily seen by the eye. Another thing to consider in this area is whether the horse is heavy on the bit and how much pull the rider is exerting on the reins.
 "generally with high front leg action": Does the horse have high front leg action naturally? Check the horse moving at liberty without appliances. (This is also how you'd want to chose your breeding stock, at liberty, natural gaits.) Action can be created by the weight of the shoes, the boots, the terrain, the frame.
 "head and neck elevated": How does the horse hold his head and neck at liberty? Should the head and neck be held up by the rider?
 "collected": The tolt is not a collected movement. Everything about it is anti-collection, the hollow frame required, the speed.
 "on the bit": The horse's neck is not in a frame to be "on the bit".
 "tolting Icelandic who is hollow in the back, his neck vertical and ewed, and with his nose in the air, it is a sign of improper collection and bad riding, and is unnecessary": It may be a matter of degrees as to whether the tolt is slightly hollow or very hollow, but it's not collection either way.
 "magnificent gait": Tolt can be a magnificent gait, but in it's "natural" state. What is magnificent about putting weight on the horse's distal limbs, having a rider hanging full weight on it's mouth, which is tied shut, rider sitting on the cantle of the saddle to dig into the horse's loins, pulling it's head into an unnatural position, constricting it's breathing by the forced neck frame and the tight noseband, and being intimidated by a whip.
Teaching a Horse to Talk - Listen very carefully to hear the horses "talking". As they learn, they will get louder; this is just the start.
6 years ago