Last Updated on February 22, 2022 by Allison Price
Horses can move in four different gaits. However, some horses have a unique movement. So what does it mean to be gaited? Each horse can walk, trot and canter. However, certain breeds gait.
Table of Contents
- How Many Horses Move
- What Does a Gaited Horse Mean
- What is a Gaited Horse Breed
- The Benefits of Riding a Gaited Horse
How Many Horses Move
It is easier to take a look at the trot when comparing a horse who gaits to one that moves like most horses. A horse that doesn’t gait has a trot of two beats. This trot is characterized by diagonal pairs of legs.
The horse’s front leg is moving forward when the hind leg is in the back. The ground is the opposite diagonal pair. This movement creates the bounce you experience when riding at the trot.
What Does a Gaited Horse Mean
Gaited horses move differently from other horses. The gaited horse does not trot in diagonal pairs and therefore there is no bounce. Horses can move each leg independently when they gait, so that one foot is always on ground.
A trotting horse will use four beats rather than one when gaiting. Some gaited horses can pace. When they move two legs at once, called pacing. They move their legs diagonally instead of on opposite sides during the trot.
If you closely observe a gaited horse’s pace, you will see that one leg is slightly ahead of the other. This is unlike a non-gaited horse who has both legs landing at the same moment. Although all gaited horses can trot, it can be a bit choppy at times and requires some training techniques.
What is a Gaited Horse Breed
Many horse breeds can be naturally gaited. The Tennessee Walking Horse is perhaps the most well-known of these horses. The Icelandic Horse is the most fascinating gaiter horse. The Icelandic Horse is unique because it has five instead of four gaits.
The tolt is the fifth gait of Icelandic Horses. The tolt is similar to a trotting gaited horse, except that only one foot touches the ground. It takes four beats. It’s faster than a trot, and it is smoother than a trot.
The tolt can go as fast as the gallop, with a maximum speed of 20 miles per hour. The flying pace is also a characteristic of this breed. Flying pace is a two beat gait that is faster than the traditional tolt. This gait involves the horse moving both his legs forward and backward simultaneously.
The following gaited horse breeds are also available.
- American Saddlebred
- Paso Fino
- American Standardbred
- Peruvian Paso
- Missouri Fox Trotter
- Old Kentucky Saddler
- Racking Horse
- Rocky Mountain Horse
- Smokey Valley Horse
The Benefits of Riding a Gaited Horse
Gaited horses are able to conserve energy due to their movement. They are great mounts for long-distance riding. The gaited horse is a great trail horse because of its comfort and stamina.
It can be easier to ride a gaiting horse because of the smooth feeling it gives. This is a great ride for anyone who suffers from back pain. However, it can be more difficult to ride a non-gaited horse. It is important to remember that learning to ride on gaited horses can make it more difficult to improve your riding. The ease of riding allows you to neglect your riding.
The gaited horse has a calm, gentle temperament. They are great for novice or timid riders. This makes them appealing to inexperienced or timid riders.
This is a misconception that comes from looking at a gaiting mare from above, where it appears to have a temperament not suitable for novice riders. This is false.
The history of the gaited horse is long. The Icelandic Horse was born in Iceland during the Viking settlement. It is one of the most pure horse breeds in the entire world. American gaited horses were first developed in the 1600s.
These American gaited horses are descendants of Hobbie and Galloway horses, which were imported from Ireland and Scotland. The modern gaited horse breeds have evolved through selective breeding.
A gaiting horse, as the name suggests, is a horse that moves differently than other breeds. This horse is great for riding many activities.