Martina Gates is the brain behind- and founder of Tölt News. She, along with Andrea Barber, started the magazine in 1999. She felt that there was a need for a different kind of Icelandic horse publication in the US. She was the publisher, designer, etc. of the magazine until late 2010, when she passed the (leather, non-slip) reins onto her business partner, and fellow horse nut, Thorunn Kristjansdottir. However, Martina remains a contributing writer and photographer, proofer, and much more. The magazine wouldn’t be the same without her!
Martina is a renowned equine photographer. Her photos can be seen all over the world and more specifically on WorldFengur, in The StudBook and it’s website, in Tölt News and this website, and numerous other locations – to name just a few.
Martina, a German national, started riding ‘big horses’ at age nine. She was introduced to Icelandics in the mid 90s, and was hooked. She now has close to a dozen Icelandics, including the likes of Stígandi frá Leysingjastöðum II, the highest judged domestic born mare in the US, Ósk from Helms Hill, as well as a number of other exciting young horses and breeding mares. After Martina bought Stígandi in 2004, she “really got into breeding.” Breeding has now become her passion. Go ahead; ask Martina about her stallion’s semen count - I dare you!
Martina hangs her hat in Lloyd Harbor, NY where she resides with her husband, children, horses, dogs, and Chubby the cat.
Thorunn Kristjansdottir is the new publisher and designer of Tölt News, officially taking it over in January of 2011. She aims to continue Martina’s good work and legacy. She and Martina also own and publish The Icelandic StudBook, which is the stallion book of North America. Thorunn's graphic design firm and the official Tolt News and StudBook headquarters are located on Main Street in Millerton New York - which was recently voted one of America's favorite small towns. Feel free to stop by and say hello.
Thorunn, an Icelandic national, has always been heavily involved in the horses, coming from generations of horse men and women in Iceland. Her family, primarily her grandfather (Kristján Guðmundsson), her father (Kristján Kristjánsson) and she, have bred the Hrafnhólar line of horses for over 40 years. She moved with her family to New York in 1989 to promote and market the Icelandic horse. In 2007, her parents, brother and she started their own farm, Thor Icelandics in Claverack, NY. There she breeds, trains and sells her own horses, alongside her parents. Thorunn still has horses in Iceland, too, where she continues to breed on a smaller scale. She has about a dozen horses – a number that she finds hard to fluctuate . . . except up.
Thorunn parks her boots with her boyfriend in Ancramdale, NY with their two “Meows” and a growing herd of horses.
Cindy Wescott is the director of advertising – among other things. She also directs the Tölt News staffers in the direction of the Blue Moon.
In 2001 Cindy and Brian Wescott purchased Boulder Ridge Farm in Limington, Maine. Shortly thereafter, accompanied by their daughter Krista, they took a trip to Iceland where they went horse trekking. They returned from Iceland with three pregnant Icelandic mares and never looked Boulder Ridge is now home to eleven of their own horses, including their new stallion, Eidur fra Oddholi, plus four or five boarders usually. They are a busy family. Brian and Cindy both work in their family owned equipment business, Wescott and Sons, while Krista runs the barn, holds riding camps, and gives lessons. In their spare time, the three of them ride and compete…often against each other.
Cindy is possibly the busiest as he also works to promote the breed. She has served on the board of USIHC and for several years she has organized the breed participation at the Equine Affaire in Massachusetts and sometimes the one in Ohio. With Cindy’s strong sense of dedication and organization, Boulder Ridge Farm has become a center in southern Maine for clinics with the best international instructors. Now she is excited to bring that dedication to Tolt News.