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RE: [RC] conformation dogs/horses - heidi

If I remember properly from an article about gaits and animals in
Scientific American a decade or so ago, while the feet move similarly
dogs and horses do many gaits differently.  At the dog equivalent of the
gallop, they bend their backs to lengthen their stride.  Horses can not
do that.  The reason was that dogs weigh ~100 lbs or less while horses
weigh ~600 lbs or more.  The extra weight forces horses to have a much
less flexible back.

Well, it isn't a matter of the weight FORCING the heavier animal to have a
less flexible back.  It is a matter of anatomy.  Elk, deer, etc. are
smaller than horses but bigger than dogs, and have far less back
flexibility than horses, because they do not have the unique
counterbalance system that horses do with their heads and necks.  Dogs
don't have that either.  Large cats are far more flexible than small dogs,
or any sort of ungulates.  Cows, goats, sheep, etc. have very little flex.

It is how the skeleton is built in proportion, how it is articulated, and
how its ligamentous structures hook it all together that determines
flexibility or the lack of it.  It is the horse's unique arrangement that
determines their ability to bear weight and still move effectively. 
That's why we don't ride cows, or lions, or caribou.  (A cow has so little
flex that many cattle can't even canter on the same lead front and

Although many of the basics of gait are the same from one quadruped to the
next, the fine details are determined not by size but by how the species
is built.



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RE: [RC] conformation dogs/horses, ranch