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Keywords:

  • horse;
  • Icelandic horse;
  • toelt;
  • motion analysis;
  • kinematics;
  • motion pattern

Summary

The toelt of the Icelandic horse is a symmetric 4-beat gait, with alternating single and double support phases. By definition, the duration of the diagonal and ipsilateral stance phases should be similar. The aim of this study was to investigate the stride characteristics of horses ridden at toelt, and to compare these to previous descriptions of this gait. The kinematics of 23 Icelandic horses was measured using the Expert Vision System. Mature and sound horses, used for pleasure riding and/or competitions, were ridden at toelt at 3 different speeds. For each horse, 10 strides were measured at toelting speeds of 2.9 m/s (s.d. 0.28), 3.7 m/s (s.d. 0.29) and 4.7 m/s (s.d. 0.53). Seven horses showed true toelt pattern at one or 2 speeds. At the highest speed, 60% of all motion cycles showed the pattern of 4-beat pace. This investigation shows that the previously described toelt pattern is present only over a narrow speed range, and toelt at extended speed is, in fact, a 4-beat pace or rarely a 4-beat trot.