Teaching the Tolt under saddle....
My mom has an Icelandic Horse that she has sent to me for some 'tuning up' while she is trying to sell him. He has not been advertised as professionally trained, and the ad mentions that he tolts freely in the field, but is just beginning to work on it under saddle. I am not a professional trainer, but do have good results with refining cues and getting a horse to be more responsive, so I'm spending some time on him. His halt is coming along nicely, and his walk, trot and canter are quite good, right lead needs a little work, but we're working on it. His tolt, however, I can only get for a few strides.
I had spoken with the owner of a large icelandic breeding/training facility a few years ago when we were having trouble keepimg his weight up, and she told me to push him forward with seat and legs from the walk while holding him in tightly with the reins and not allowing him to trot. It is gradually seeming to work, however I am not sure that this is really the best way to go about it. I feel like I'm having to hold him much too tightly to keep him from trotting, and sometimes he just goes into a very slow lope instead of tolting or trotting.:? I am currently riding him in an eggbutt snaffle, as I am most concerned with improving his stop, and would like to use as little bit as possible to achieve this. Is it possible that I'd have better results getting the tolt with a stronger bit (he was regularly ridden in a Kimberwicke with a jointed moutpiece until I started working with him)? Is there some other method that will be more clear to him?
He is a fantastic trail horse who will go anywhere, and do anything you ask, and that's what we're selling him as, but the tolt is important and we know he can do it.... There are several people interested in him, so it may be a moot point if someone snaps him up right away, but if not, I'd like to see him make some progress.
The tolt is the same gait as the rack.
A mild bit other than a snaffle would be a good idea. I use this as a starter bit:
toklat #89-20015 S.S. HBT 5" Shank w/5" S.I. 01 C.I. Mouth
To start them gaiting raise the head as far as you can. They'd drown if they get caught in the rain. Then push them forward, if they don't gait push them past the rough spot, and by golly, they will fall into gear. Once they have it down pat, then you can start slowing them down a bit at a time and bring the head back down.
And, until he has the gait down pat, and will do it on cue, forget the trot and canter. Don't want to confuse him.
Don't know if you still need info, but that kind of sounds like my mom's Icelandic, except he prefers to canter than tolt, and he hardly trots. She's been working with him on holding his tolt too, because he'll take a few strides, then he'll brake into an easy, slow canter which is comfortable, but not a tolt. My mom just kept pushing him so he wouldn't brake into a walk, but when he cantered she would bring him back to the tolt and when he took several strides, she would let him walk. He's gotten a lot better.
That is so odd-the OP's situation sounds very similar to mine! Almost exact in fact lol I think it all depends on the horse. Hagar, the Icelandic I ride, would rather pace or trot then tolt. However, it seems if you speed him up (for example, canter) and then bring him back down with collection he will tolt for a few strides. It seems like consistancy and trying to find what is right for the particular horse is the key.
Thanks everyone! I actually found that riding him bareback made a HUGE difference, so I'm suspecting the saddle fit is an issue....
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