California Horse Owner Goes Full "Tolt" for the Icelandic Horse

Updated: Nov 20, 2021

by Rob Olason Bellingham, WA


Not everyone who visits Iceland and takes a one-hour ride on an Icelandic horse will dream about one day owning one themselves. However, when Carrie Kozubal made such a ride, she left Iceland with that very dream.


Carrie Kozubal talked about how her one-hour Icelandic horse ride in 2016 affected her future relationship with the Icelandic horse in the November 15, 2021, Icelandic Roots Samtal Hour, hosted by IR volunteer, Judy Dickson.


Carrie Kozubal comes naturally to horse riding as a competitive quarter horse rider in her early days and she has owned and worked with horses ever since. But there was something about riding that Icelandic horse that she couldn’t shake.

Her 2016 visit to Iceland was followed by another which included a two-hour ride. And yet another visit in 2019 with an even longer ride. In her talk, she admits to becoming a bit obsessed with the Icelandic horse.


And with each visit, an idea that had been formed from that 2016 ride grew and grew. Could she have an Icelandic horse in her Northern California region? Acting on that dream that wouldn’t leave her, she began researching the possibility of owning her own Icelandic horse in California. And, during this process, she found the owner of three Icelandic horses in her region.


This discovery led to more research, taking riding and handling lessons for the specific requirements of the Icelandic horse, and learning how to keep these horses going in everyday life in her California setting.


Her big break came in 2020 when she located a breeder who had an Icelandic horse that had been living in North America for a decade. She eventually acquired the horse, named “Tigull,” which is Icelandic and describes the white diamond-shaped patch of white on the horse’s forehead.


Kozubal said Tigull is a wonderful all-around horse, great for riding, jumping, herding, and trail riding. Like all Icelandic horses, Tigull is very athletic and intelligent. She said her daughter and son have also taken up horse riding, preferring the smaller size of the Icelandic horse compared to the much larger quarter horses.


Icelandic horses have a unique fourth gait called the “tolt,” which Kozubal describes as a very fast walking gait, which makes for a very smooth, comfortable ride for the person mounted on the horse.


She said she would like to get more Icelandic horses in the future, joking that once you own an Icelandic horse it is like the refrain in the potato chip commercials, “you can’t have just one.”


In answer to a question from the audience, she said the best place in the world to ride an Icelandic horse is in Iceland. In fact, she is planning on returning to Iceland in the not-too-distant future for another month-long visit—which will include a multiple-day horse trip. She said she can’t imagine going to Iceland and not riding, it is such an ideal way to see the country. She said horse riding tours are available for riding in all parts of the country.

As the Samtal Hour drew to a close, host Judy Dickson told the participants that the next Samtal Hour on November 29 will be an “open mic” discussion where participants can share stories of their families' Icelandic holiday traditions. The following Samtal Hour on December 13 will focus on the Icelandic foods and dishes families serve around the Christmas holidays.


The Samtal Hour is a live online video production of Icelandic Roots, providing Icelandic Roots members the opportunity to learn more about Icelandic topics. Announcements about all Samtal Hour events are emailed to Icelandic Roots members with the event times for each time zone in North America and Iceland. The Samtal Hour is a free program produced by IR volunteers for the benefit of Icelandic Roots members.

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