From Friesian to Icelandic: Challenge accepted!

Pick an instructor from www.pluvinel.com, choose from 36 different disciplines and get a free lesson? I’m in! I was absolutely on board when the lovely Camilla, founder of Pluvinel, asked me if I wanted to find an instructor from the platform, and get a lesson in a discipline of my own choice. Challenge accepted, and at first, I searched for a clicker/liberty trainer, planning to have a lesson with Batman. But then I decided to try something new instead! Pluvinel is filled with great trainers and instructors from all over the world in 36 different disciplines. That’s pretty much amazing! I mean, to have everything from pleasure driving to skill at arms on one single platform?! Awesome!

I decided to challenge myself a little and try something completely different .. But:

  • I would have to borrow a horse, because I could not ride Batman at the moment. The horse had to be super cold headed and easy to handle
  • If I fell off, I wanted to be as close to the planet Earth as possible
  • A little bit of action is more than enough! (I am currently suffering from the “speed is scary because my seat is completely out of balance-disease”. I am still searching for a cure)

I had barely been riding Batman the past year, and could only go for short walks with him. Because of my long break from riding, I did not feel completely comfortable with trying a new horse. Jumping? Too scary! Dressage? I have doing that for a decade. Reining maybe? Polo? I would fall of after two minutes. Working equitation? Would love to, but only with Batman.

And then I suddenly realized what I was looking for … Right in front of my nose – ICELANDIC OF COURSE! I would love to try tölt with guidance from an experienced instructor!

I used to ride Icelandic horses as a child, and remember the feeling of comfort and power at the same time. They are truly amazing horses!

A couple of weeks later I suddenly found myself on the back of the gorgeous Icelandic horse Edall, in tölt on loose reins, deep in the woods outside of Kongsberg.

We were greeted by the talented rider and instructor Kristina Madsen, at her beautiful farm a morning in August. She introduced us to my horse for the day, a gelding called Eðall frá Bræðratungu, owned by Laila Merethe. (Thank you so much Laila Merethe, for letting me ride him!) Or just Edall, for us without fancy Icelandic letters on our keyboards. Edall was stunning – a palomino with one blue eye and mane like silk. He was tall for an Icelandic, lucky for me with my 184 cm!

And finally my lesson began. I warmed up in walk on loose reins to get to know him a little bit before we started, and he felt much bigger than he looked like. He was sensitive and forward-thinking and after a few minutes I got used to his movements, which was, obviously, a bit different from Batman’s! I felt one hundred percent safe on his back from the first moment – I could really relax with him. Such a wonderful feeling!

Then Kristina started to give me some tips on how to collect him a little bit more through half halts. I got a good response from my palomino partner in crime, and it felt nice with more self-carriage. He moved elegantly between my aids. We worked in walk to prepare from trot, and Kristina described in detail how I could ask him to tölt, and how it was supposed to feel like. I had tried something tölt-ish two times before, but only by trying and failing on my own out in the woods. Kristina focused a lot on the transition itself. When I got to try, I actually got it right on the first attempt! It felt completely different from everything else I have tried, so much movement, yet so easy to sit on! After a couple of meters, I got a feeling of Edalls also comfortable trot. Back in walk again, we tried a couple of more times, and I managed to keep him in the gait on a circle. With small adjustments in my seat and legs, I got a great response from him right away it felt awesome! Kristina guided me safely through the experience, and for every step Edall took, I understood more and more of Kristina’s explanation from the beginning of the lesson. It was really helpful to combine her words with trying it on my own, and Edall did a great job!

After working a little on a circle on both hands, we went out on the oval track. With more space, I got to try tölt in an even higher tempo! It was really fun to use my seat to ask him to move faster, without losing the collection. We managed to get a couple of okay rounds around the track, and towards the end, I tried without reins too! Of course I had to try .. Haha! It was difficult to keep the balance without reins, and we ended up in trot at least ten times before we got it right. But we managed to get some steps in handsfree tölt. Mission accomplished.

Kristina was a truly wonderful instructor and lovely person with great knowledge, and I had the best day ever. All I wanted after the lesson was to do it again and again, haha!

Thank you so much to Pluvinel and Kristina from Hestelykke for this amazing opportunity!

Want to try something new, or find a great instrcutor in your area? Check out www.pluvinel.com! If you are an insctructor yourself, I highly recommend you to register today.

Afterwards, we did a short video interview with me about the experience. I am absolutely not that comfortable on video compared to photos, I just found out! Christ. And of course I wanted to do it in English, just to make it even worse for myself. I was like “Hi I’m Matilde andourhgjk holy banana let’s try again” a thousand times. Haha! I must admit that I have not even seen more than a few seconds of it myself … Maybe in ten years. A special thanks to Camilla for being the most patient person ever.

Scroll down for video! We should definitely do a “bloopers” video too, haha my very first video “interview”! 😂

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4 thoughts on “From Friesian to Icelandic: Challenge accepted!

  1. Hi, first of all, great horse, great fotos, great video, but…. what the hell is tölt? is it between walk and trot? or after trot and before gallop? Please explain it to those of us less fortunate that live on the southern parts of Europe. Thanks and keep up the good work, I love to read your blog.

    PS: What are those things on his hoofs? are they a kind of overreach boots? they seem to be made of wood.

  2. Bra jobba! :D Jeg prøvde islandshestridning med tølt og greier på klassetur for noen år siden, det var mye kulere enn jeg hadde forventet. ^^, Forøvrig synes jeg du klarte deg bra i den videoen!

  3. Hello Matilde,
    This sounds like an amazing experience!
    I would love to ride an Islandic horse at least once in my life too! Especially tölt seems to be very comfortable! And I really had to laugh when you wrote about the bloopers, I would love to see such a video

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