When we went tilting yesterday it was only a ten-minute drive from our house, but it was all uphill.  In the foreground below is an Icelandic horse.


We went in fact to an Icelandic-horse farm:


where there’s an oldish Norwegian guy who teaches tilting.  Here he is, check his foot-long knife for getting stones out of horses’ hooves:


Actually it’s just Alma who is learning to tilt properly, not me.  So, when they rode off …


I was supposed to sit and eat waffles on the steps outside the stabbur:


but I didn’t do that.  I followed them on foot, taking pictures of things I passed.  All over Norway are massive volcanic boulders striated with different stone and moss, and I love them:


In the winter a lot of skiing goes on here.  This cabin by the side of the path belongs to the skiers; ‘fiskbein’ — I suppose we’d call it ‘herringbone’ — is how you go uphill without slipping backwards.  I think ‘slalam’ is originally a Norwegian word, but no doubt somebody can put me right about that.


Never mind skiing, WHAT IS TILTING???  I can hear your frustration at this shaggy-dog story.

Icelandic horses have five gaits;  they can walk, trot, canter and gallop like other horses, but in addition they can do this extraordinary additional movement that is best seen in a moving picture. In Norwegian it’s called tølt, in Icelandic it’s tölt and in English it’s ‘tolt’ or ’tilt’.  There’s a Wikipedia article here, on gaited horses, that includes a discussion of it from Chambers’ 1728 Cyclopedia.

Here is Alma practising:


It really is quite difficult, a knack.  You have to relax your legs, but still indicate to the horse that she should be going forwards, ‘full tilt’, so to speak:


I guess the old Norwegian guy — we’ll call him Einar, because that’s his name — was doing it correctly here:


Einar was very friendly despite the enormous knife.  He can tilt like a pro.  It is one of those walking and chewing gum things that I know I’m never going to be able to master.