Here is a short description about the affect of  the pacy tolt on the Icelandic Horse.
 
Tölt IV  
 Cleaning Pacy Tölt 
 
By Arnthrudur Heimisd
 
What can cause pacy tölt in an icelandic: 

Tension in the horse.  If the horse is either tense and stiff because of 
nervousness, or simply stiff because of lack of being athletic and 
trained, it tends to go in pacy tölt.  Also if the horse is ridden by a 
rider that is making it tense and stiff. 

Faults in the conformation of the horse.  If the horse has a short neck, 
that is set low on the withers, has straight (vertical) shoulders, a 
stiff (straight) back, low withers and tall croup, a very sloping croup, 
all these things increase the tendency of pacy tölt or piggy-pace and 
make it more difficult to clean the tölt. 

Dullness in the horse.  If the horse is either very lazy, or ridden so 
very relaxed that it is halfway falling asleep, it has a tendency to go 
pacy tölt.  The horse has to be a bit energetic, not sloppy, to tölt in 
perfect 4-beat. 

The saddle.  If the saddle pinches the horse, or lies on it's wither, 
thereby inhibiting total freedom in movement in the shoulder blades, the 
tölt has a tendency to get pacy. 

Hard mouth.  If the horse is unresponsive to the reins, it is more 
difficult to aid the horse with the reins.  Do exercises to soften the 
mouth and the neck of the horse before starting tölt-training.  Also if 
a horse puts its tongue over the bit, it can avoid the clues from the 
rider. 

Starting.  A trotty horse that is learning to tölt can often become pacy 
for a while, maybe for a month or so.  Correct the horse if it does that 
for long distances.  But if it is just for a few steps, remember that 
this is just a phase, and the horse will get more balance later, and 
more relaxation, and then tölt better. 

What can be done to clean pacy tölt in icelandics, or teach piggy-pacers 
to tölt?  The first things we usually need are time and patience.  If 
the horse has been ridden in pacy tölt for a long time, it has to be 
retrained.  Sometimes you find that by riding the horse right, you can 
fix this in a few rides, but more often you need longer time.  The horse 
might be a natural tölter, but if it has been ridden pacy for a long 
time, the muscles and the mind of the horse are used to the pacy tölt, 
and need to be retrained to tölt clean again.  Do not allow a young 
horse you are starting to pig-pace, teach it immediately to trot and 
walk, or it can get stuck in the pig-pace. 

Collection.  Teach the horse to walk collected.  When it does that, with 
a soft mouth, try encouraging more speed (voice and legs), until the 
horse can carry the collection up to the tölt.  You even have to train 
this separately, just the transition from walk to tölt in collection. 
Remember that collection in tölt does not mean the same as collection in 
dressage, look at pictures of a good tölter, the horse is moving freely 
and keeping it's balance, carrying it's head itself (you shouldn't be be 
carrying the head with the reins).  The head should not be vertical, 
that is too much collection.  You collect the horse to engage it's hind 
end, and get it to power itself forward and upwards.   The horse should 
be on the bit.  If you loose the collection, sometimes it is enough just 
to do fluffy movements with the legs and the hands, to engage the horse 
into proper carriage again.  Sometimes you have to stop and do the 
collection at the walk again.  Teaching the horse to back, and then walk 
collected and then go directly up to tölt also helps.  Seek for true 
collection, so that the horse is subtle to your aids. 

Trot.  If possible, a horse that does pacy tölt all the time, needs 
first to learn to trot.  Then their movements become more relaxed and 
free.  When they are getting rather secure in the trot, and easy to 
trot, they can learn to tölt.  Trotting them for months on end does not 
help them though, in the end the horse starts to stiffen in the back and 
carry it's neck very low, and get so overly relaxed and dull that it 
looses all animation.  So teach the horse to trot for a few rides, then 
start tölttraining, trotting them a bit every ride. 

Ride tölt for short distances at the beginning of tölt-training a pacy 
horse.   Sometimes, even just a few meters at a time.  It is far, far 
better that the horse goes in clean tölt for 10 meters in a whole ride, 
rather than 5 miles in pacy tölt, if you are training it to tölt 
properly. 

Exercises.  A pacy horse is like an unathletic person, it's muscles are 
often stiff and need softening exercises.  Ride the horse in circles, 
both at walk and later tölt, and in figure eights.  Also ride slaloms at 
walk and later tölt.  Teach your horse to sidepass, do haunces out and 
other exercises you know to soften the body of the horse.  Stopping the 
horse collected also improves the engagement of the hind end of the 
horse. 

Ride downhill.  Most pacy tölters clean the tölt going slightly 
downhill.  A pigpacer going down a rather steep hill has to go over to 
tölt, or he will simply stumble, so that can be used as a last resort. 
Take care, think of the feet of the horses, use all available hills you 
ride, but not steep hills.  Few pacy tölters get better going uphill, 
some of them even get more sloppy in the movements (they do not have to 
lift their front feet as high to go uphill).  So, again, do not tölt 
uphill if you want to improve the tölt. 

Speed.  Try many speeds in the tölt, and when the tölt is cleanest. 
Train your horse to begin with at the speed that is best for it.  When 
the tölt is secure and satisfying at that speed, try going a bit faster 
and a bit slower, to teach the horse to tölt in a wider range.  Train 
the whole range that the horse can manage, but not where the horse 
starts to fail.  You want to teach the horse success, not failure. 
Medium speed is usually easiest for pacy tölters. 

Training youngsters.  Do not start tölttraining in a youngster you are 
starting until it knows the most important aids (reins, legs, voice 
etc.) and has gotten good balance in walk, trot and canter.  It is a big 
change for a youngster to carry a man, and it needs a month or two to 
develop muscles to carry the man in good balance.  And it needs good 
balance to be able to tölt.  Ride the youngster only for short distances 
in tölt (even just a few meters at a time) while it is learning, tölting 
is straining while the youngster doesn't have balance. 

Force.  Never use force, that will just result in a tense and stiff and 
hard-mouthed horse.  To ride in a soft tölt, you have to be soft 
yourself. 

Shoes.  If nothing else works, you can use 10 mm thick shoes or 3-8 
ounce boots to help you and the horse for a short while.  It is a last 
resort, and should be avoided. 

                                            Happy trails. 
                                                          Lukka 
 

 
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