Icelandic Horses: Learning to Ride Video

Tolting is fun... once you've learned how to do it!

by Darley Newman

To start my Iceland riding adventure, I first wanted a lesson in how exactly to get these furry Icelandic horses to tölt. Our crew headed to a riding ceter and tour operator right outside of Reykjavik.  My instructor Einar had a fun time watching me break to a trot during our learning session. I rode a horse who name means Black Beauty in English, who was a good tolter, but whose trot was insanely jarring. It was all the more reason to stay in the tolt.


The tolt, a four beat gait, similar to the running walk, is a smooth gait. It has helped the Iclandic people get around their rough, terrain for centuries. Icelandic horses, in addition to the walk, trot and canter, may also tölt and pace. I wasn’t getting to the pace right away, as it is very fast, but was happy to learn the tölt for my riding adventures.

After a few spins in the ring, Einar took me out for a ride through lava fields and by a nearby lake, where there was an area of trees. This is unusual in Iceland.

I was doing pretty well in the tölt out on the trails and really enjoying it. The Icelandic horses are strong and seemingly unafraid of the gusty wind and wild terrain in Iceland. Not bad qualities for riders who are looking to explore the wilds of Iceland.

Learn about equestrian vacations in Iceland and book a horseback riding vacation at