Thursday, April 23, 2009

What Gait / What Breed of Horse

The rider is from Thailand, but it is unknown where the riding and the video took place.

What breed is this horse? What gait is it doing?

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Level 3 Parelli with Gaited Paso Horse

This is a Level 3 Parelli Natural Horsemanship audition with Jackie and Mystic, the Paso Fino gelding.

What Is Gait?

By Eldon Eadie

Ask a hundred different people and you will likely get a hundred different answers: Some will say that gait is mainly over stride, head nod, and evenly timed hoof beats. Others will say that it is termino, brio (fire), and the inability to trot. Some will say that a horse has to be loose moving in order to gait. Others will say that a horse has to be tight.

Some will say that it is mainly the result of training, others will emphasize conformation, or bone structure, or breeding (genetics), or disposition, or shoeing, or hoof angle, or the type of bit used, or the degree of collection, or the conditioning of the horse, or the attitude of the rider, or the skill of the rider, or the brand of scootin' juice (soring), or the type of action devices used, or the number of World Grand Champions on its pedigree.

The one common denominator between all breeds of gaited horses and all types within those breeds is that gait is the ability of the horse to maintain an evenly timed hoofbeat at an increase of speed. Whether you call it the tolt or the running walk is irrelevant.

Gait is the programming in the horse's brain that makes it possible to hold an evenly timed footfall at an increase of speed. All of the above factors contribute to the quality of gait in different ways.

Each breed has a different standard with different definitions of gait that emphasize various aspects of gait, but in all cases a horse that breaks with an increase of speed, in a clear sharp transition from a walk to a trot or pace, is un-gaited.

A horse that holds an even timed footfall (or drifts slightly) is gaited. Take a look at your average Quarter Horse or Thoroughbred. With an increase of speed the horse will shift gears in a very distinct transition from a walk to a trot. When you see this type of activity in a gaited breed, you are not looking at gait. Even if the horse shifts in a clear transition to the pace, it is still not showing gait.

Most well gaited horses are capable of this kind of clear transition at times but what you want to see is a slow drift from a walk to a middle gait somewhere between a trot and a pace or better yet, no drift at all. A strong gaited horse will just continue to walk with any increase in speed. It may not be winging (termino) or it may not be nodding, but if it is doing an even gait at speed, without action devices or scootin' juice, it is strong gaited.

This brings us to the two main aspects of gait. One is the programming of the brain of the horse. This aspect is mainly determined by genetics but can be influenced very significantly by training and some of the other factors mentioned above. This aspect gives the horse the ability to maintain an even gait at speed.

The other aspect of gait is the bone structure of the horse (conformation). This aspect is also mainly determined by genetics but can be very significantly enhanced by action devices and other methods. It is the conformation of the horse that gives it the head nod and over stride that is very much a part of the running walk.

If you are breeding natural gaited horses, you need to be very careful about both aspects of gait. You need the natural ability to maintain an even gait at speed and you need good conformation of movement (bone structure).

Friday, April 10, 2009

Rack and Pace

Smooth transition from rack to pace:

Versus the "yank, yank, yank" of the riders of Icelandic Horses to get pace:

Wednesday, April 8, 2009


It's labeled a "tolt", but it's a saddle rack; how does it look? Is the rider's body still? Are the hands following? Is the horse fluid? how much contact? does it look natural?

Monday, April 6, 2009

Tennessee Walking Horse Cumberland Classic

The TWH Cumberland Classic video is on-line here:

You can register, login, and view the videos for free.

Next live coverage:

Mid-Atlantic Plantation Classic Horse Show
April 17-18, 2009

Old Dominion Gaited Horse Association's Gaited Classic
April 17-18, 2009