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A No-Jolt Tolt

Editor's note: News courtesy of the Kentucky Horse Park

LEXINGTON, KY -- What the heck is a tolt?  It’s defined as “a very smooth four-beat gait which, while reaching speeds similar to fast trotting, is much less jolting to the rider.”  The tolt is unique to Icelandic Horses who will be competing at the Kentucky Horse Park in the Kentucky Icelandic Horse Show, Nov 17-18.

With plush toy looks and Viking spirit, the Icelandics will strut their cuddly stuff for the public beginning at
8 am in the Indoor Arena at the park both days.  Saturday evening will also feature a stallion showcase.

About the time of year when most of us want to burrow-in for the winter, these dependable little Icelandics start feeling their oats and get ready to go to work.  They are bred to carry adults at a fast pace over long distances, along the stunning, temperate coastlines and frigid mountains of

The hardy Icelandic Horses first arrived on the shores of
Iceland in the 9th century with Viking settlers from Norway and the British Isles.  For the past 1,000 years, importing horses to Iceland has been forbidden by law, so the Icelandic breed has remained pure since that time. 

Currently there are approximately 70,000 Icelandic Horses outside of Iceland, and about 60-80 of those will be competing in the Kentucky Icelandic Horse Show, in a variety of classes set to show off their natural abilities. 

According to the United States Iceland Horse Congress (USIHC), the breed is “renowned for being hardy, athletic, independent, spirited, friendly, adaptable and sure-footed, with five natural gaits.”  The Icelandic averages 13-14 hands tall and is distinctive for its thick and often double-sided mane and long tail, and remarkable for its wide range of colors.

For more information on the Kentucky Icelandic Horse Show, Nov 17-18, contact Gudmar Petursson at
(502) 243-9996 or e-mail  For more information on the Icelandic breed, go to

Park Hours and Rates: From November 1-March 14, the park is open Tuesday through Saturday.  Admission is $9 for adults, $6 for children 7-12.  From March 15-October 31, the park is open seven days a week.  Admission is $15 for adults, $9 for children 7-12.  Children six and under are always admitted free of charge.  Admission includes the Icelandic Horse Show and the
American Saddlebred Museum.


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