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The Gaits of Horses

  by Robert N. Oglesby DVM


Introduction » Foot Fall Sequence » Stance and Swing Phase » Stride length and frequency: Speed, Collection, Extension » Gait Selection » Gait Transitions » Summary » More Info 

Horsemen talk about a horse's "way of going." What he is talking about is how a horse moves. Horses have a number of different ways of getting around and these different methods are called the horse's gaits. The gait a horse chooses depends not only on the speed, his breed (genetics), but his load, the terrain, and the horse's training. This article discusses the various gaits that horses do and characteristics of these gaits.

No matter what gaits we are talking about there are certain characteristics they all share. Most characteristically there will be a foot fall sequence. The gait will have a stance and swing phase done at a particular speed and frequency which translates into whether the gait is collected or extended. Finally there are the transition elements where a horse changes from one gait to another. If all this seems like Greek, read on and it will be explained.
      ~Word Count: 1966 words (The average magazine page contains about 600 words);
      ~Last Updated: July 10, 2015;
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