Gait Education, gait analysis
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The Singlefoot– a broad term used by old time horsemen to describe any gait other than a two beat gait. A single foot hits the ground at a time. MSFHA has adopted the term ‘Single-Foot” as an umbrella term to describe the continuum.
The Square Gaits
The Walk-each leg moves forward separately, no bobbing of the tail, and the head and neck will be moving up and down naturally with the body movement..it is a four even beat pickup and footfall.
Flat Footed Walk or Flat Walk-basically the same as a walk only faster with more intent.
Running Walk-here again, the same footfall as a walk but even faster than the flatfoot walk.
The Lateral Gaits
Pace– both legs on the same side move together at the same time, lifting up and setting down at the exact same time with the head and neck moving side to side, as well as the tail.
Stepping Pace – very similar to the true pace with the difference being mostly in the footfall where the back sets down just before the front in the same pair of legs. Tail, head and legs will move somewhat side to side.
Saddle Rack– here’s another gait where the legs move forward separately, but the lift off on the same side is close in timing. The easily spotted sign of a rack is the up and down tail bob of the tail/croup and the head remains still.
True Rack-Same basic description as the Saddle Rack but can be much faster. A great gait for getting on down the road quickly.
The Diagonal Gaits
Trot-this is a diagonal gait. The front left and right rear will move together and the right front and left rear move together, head and neck swing side to side as well as the tail.
Fox Trot-a diagonal gait, meaning for example the right front and left hind move forward at about the same time but the right front hoof will land just before the left hind, same on the other side, and the head, neck and tail have a very distinctive up and down bobbing.
Note: Bear in mind that there can be variations to any of these gaits in the way they are executed. Factors that affect the gait can be conformation of the horse, frame of horse, speed of horse, saddle, bit, rider, seat position, balance or weight of rider, shoes, condition of the horse, terrain and even nutrition.
Interesting links about gait
- Gait Scale
- Origins of Gait.
- Understanding the rack.
- The Running Walk.
- The Foxtrot.
- The Pace.
- A Perspective on the Middle Gaits – Eldon Eadie
- Gait Illustration and Description by Nya Bates (5mb PDF file – opens in a new window)
Training and Riding Gaited Horses
- How to ride a gaited horse.
- Working with a trotty horse courtesy of www.davidlichman.com .
- Liz Graves on how to bring out gait in trotty and pacey horses .
- Coaching Gait – Mel Frandsen
- Saddle fitting for gaited horses.
- Making a Rope Halter with Fiador Knot- Video 1 – Video 2 – Video 3
Conformation and GaitFRIENDS OF SOUND HORSES SOUND ADVOCATE MAGAZINE a publication with gaited horse articles and news in the gaited horse industry
If you know of a link to a great video on gaited horses, send us the link!