ridecamp@endurance.net: [endurance] Pacing and other Lateral Gaits

[endurance] Pacing and other Lateral Gaits

Tue, 23 Jan 1996 13:08:45 +0600

Original To (Oracle): internet:endurance@moscow.com

> I've only ever seen a pacer once, so I know nothing about them.
> Is pacing more comfortable, and what about the relative stresses
> put on the horses? Also how do speeds compare, and finally can
> a non-pacing horse actually be taught to pace at all?

> Just curious,

> Sue

Pacing uses the muscles in a different way than trotting. That is why a dog
that normally trots will often switch to a pace when it is fatigued. As was
pointed out some time back, it is hard - near impossible - to make a good
judgement of soundness of an animal doing a lateral gait so distance ride vets
can have trouble with it at checks. Dog judges ask that a dog show his way of
going at a trot because of this, also, and will fault a one that paces. (I
don't know
of a dog breed that has pacing as a standard way of travel in its breed
standard -
but there may be some).

As for teaching a horse to pace, it can be done. I personally observed how a
horse with a very strong trot and no observeable tendency to pace was 'taught'

to rack - a distinct, even, 4 beat gait where one foot strikes the ground at a
time and sort of midway between a trot and a pace. The trainer added weight
to the rear shoes with no other changes until the horse actually began pacing.
After working a while to develop the muscling in the new way the weight was
gradually taken away and the horse was able to do the rack. Later, he was
returned to work at a trot as well after he was settled into using the new
gait. I think this particular horse had the ability to amble or pace in his
ancestral background but had been worked at the trot a lot and that accounted
for it's being so strong. BTW, I'm not advocating that anyone try this trick
at home - just pointing out that it can be done.

I've seen the story of the post boys giving posting it's name. Also, the
rough-riding, trotting horses were used as harness horses or ridden by the
common folk. The easy-gaited amblers and pacers were ridden by the gentry.

Not sure what it says about me, but I personally prefer to ride at a trot most
of the time....

Dave Bennett
e-mail: idj3q@mhs-tva.attmail.com