Home Current News News Archive Shop/Advertise Ridecamp Classified Events Learn/AERC
Endurance.Net Home Ridecamp Archives
[Archives Index]   [Date Index]   [Thread Index]   [Author Index]   [Subject Index]

Re: [RC] [RC] Riding with Gaited Horses for 3 days - Karen Sullivan

What?  nobody answered this yet?  I am no expert but will throw out a few things and you gaited experts can correct me....
The gaits all have names, but to confuse things, some of the names are different for the same gait, in different breeds. To also make it more confusing, a Tennessee Walker who is supposed to running walk can also foxtrot, or foxtrot better than running walk, or even rack.
A Missouri Foxtrotter can running walk or rack or step-pace....
A non-gaited breed can also gait, i.e.my Arab used to step or broken pace, as did our Anglo Arab.  My mustang can step pace or even singlefoot.  Gaiting ability is influenced by ,ancestry and also conformation, and structure  NOT gimmicks. The "big lick" in the TWH achieved by the huge, stacked shoes is an abomination in my book.  Even modified shoeing, to weight shoes, or leave longer toes is a total no no in my book!
What kind of gait it is depends on both the sequence of the footfalls, and the timing.  You also have walking steps, running steps and leaped steps.
The following will come from the book, Easy-Gaited hores by Lee Ziegler.
Square gaits:
In a running walk, the hooves leave the ground and set down at even intervals, a 1-2-3-4 beat.The footfall sequence and timing are the same as a ordinary and flat (fast) walk.  Often you see a nice head nod, no tail shake.  Considered one of the smoothest gaits, gentle front to back rock in the saddle, strong feeling of forward thrust from each hind leg.  May look more like walking in back, trotting in front......
Lateral gaits:
The pace is a two-beat gait, totally lateral, in which the legs on the same side of the hores move in unison.  They leave the ground and hit at the same time. May swing head side to side. Typically it is an uncomfortable side to side movement.
The amble, or broken/Stepping pace is a broken lateral gait in which the the hind hoof sets down a fraction before the front hoof.....The sound is a broken 1-2, 3-4 beat.  The broken pace can be very comfortable .Some head swing side to side, maybe a bit up and down, no tail bob.  You can distinguish this from a true pace by watching that hind hoof touch down first.
The singlefoot/Saddle rack  is a square gait, with a 1-2-3-4 beat.  There is often a bit more animation with the front legs.  Typically a higher headset, horse often looks like it's climbing in front and shaking tail....no head nod or side to side.
A Rack is a faster version of a singlefoot, some horses can speed rack up to 25 mph.
Diagonal gaits:
Trot (we all know what that is)
Foxtrot.The only diagonally timed easy gait. The diagonal hooves leave the ground about the same time, but the front hoof hits down slight before the hind.  Sound is an uneven 1-2. 3-4 beat. head can nod up and down a bit and tail and croup can bounce up and down.  Hind legs appear to break  or bend sharply at the hocks.  There is a feeling the shoulders are reaching and pulling, and the hind quarters are moving up and down.....typically not as smooth as a running walk.  May look more like trotting in back,  extended walking in front.   A Foxwalk is a slower version of a Foxtrot.
According to clinician Liz Graves, at a clinic I attended last year, the foxtrot is the most energy efficient gait for endurance; a good foxtrotter can go all day.  She calls the gait "lumpy, not bumpy"
She also mentioned that the rack is a slightly ventroflexed gait (hollow back, high lead), which is harder on a horse. She said you shoud only rack for 20 minutes, then give the horse a break by changing gaits. 
I have a TWH and a Foxtrotter.  I am still working on achieving a good fitness level on the TWH mare; she foaled early January, and will need a good solid year of walking and hills before I really start worrying about the gait.  Right now, I have seen her trot, pace, broken pace, canter, and for a brief few moments, got a running walk up a slight hill!!!
My Foxtrotter is just 3.......hardly started under saddle, and like the mare, needs a year of ponying and loose on the trail to muscle up even before I start to ride him on the trail.but he does foxtrot naturally at liberty, seems very gaited.  He also trots, paces and canters. He is also very surefooted, with a lot of go.....
Probably, if I was looking for a gaited, endurance prospect, I might look toward a Foxtrotter instead of a Walker, but who knows.  both have done well at endurance.  I would also try to find one that was NOT started at age 18 mos in some of the big gaited barns, ridden up and down barn aisles by some big guy named Bubba, and SET IN A GAIT before it was even 2 years old!!!  A lot of those get sold to Calif. for a lot of $ and start breaking down before age 10!!!! 
My big Arab/TWH gelding is just starting to gait regularly.....he can running walk, but has a more consistent foxtrot...in any case, it really covers ground and is smooth.  My former Arab/TWH didn't gait...but had a very fast walk and smooth canter.  Somebody told me the Arab/TWH crosses are more more likely to gait than the Arab/Foxtrotter crosses.....
Okay, we really need Amber Applegait to step in here, or Sue Walz and talk about gaited horses and endurance, they may be laughing at everything I wrote!

On 4/22/08, Roger Rittenhouse <roger@xxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
 We spent 4 days last week at a 'multi-day good-ole-boy yahoo ride'.
Of course there were 95 percent gaited horses, a few qtrs, 4 mules (one an arab-mule and one arab :)
Had a blast.

Question for all the 'gaiters'  - no Truman NOT FL swamp rats

I watched the walkers doing the big walk and lick.
I saw what I think was a MFT
Then there was a SINGLE-FOOTER.

So - what is the difference. They all moved different.

I wanted to look at some videos of the single footer and MFT. It appears  their gaits are different from the Walker - still a 4 beat but it did look different.
Of course some may  have been lame :)

There were some 'racking' horses but they looked like the same gait as the Walkers.

So  are  the foot fall patterns, all the same? Is it just speed differences. The foot falls sounded about the same  but they may have been the same type of horse
Some of these really did move on way faster then a slow canter.

So a new education topic - explain the assorted gaits.. find video to see and HEAR the action.

I 'think' I liked the single footer, or MFT.

Omni and Dixie the arab-mule really did NOT care much for the herds coming up behind them  at speed. By Sat evening they were sort of use to it.

Of course when we had enough high speed rack-on blow buys, we got off the flat trails and hit the single track rocky rooty trails and had them all to ourself :)

Most of the riders looked at us -ex-endurance riders with an 'attitude' and snicker. :) Heck I am on an arab, wear helmets, half chaps, little endurance saddle, TROT-canter, what do you expect.. add to that also one of those damn Yankees.

And NO I did not ride in the tight shinny pants-- I did see the movie :)

Trails were great, food was great, company was interesting, all quite civil and friendly.

For a good ridin time see EAST FORK STABLES.

Roger R


Ridecamp is a service of Endurance Net, http://www.endurance.net.
Information, Policy, Disclaimer: http://www.endurance.net/Ridecamp
Subscribe/Unsubscribe http://www.endurance.net/ridecamp/logon.asp

Ride Long and Ride Safe!!


[RC] Riding with Gaited Horses for 3 days, Roger Rittenhouse