What Is A Racking Horse? (Origin, Color, Body Structure & Gait)

Last Updated on March 1, 2022 by Allison Price

Do you long to own a strong, beautiful horse? The racking horse breed will meet your needs. We will discuss the history and characteristics of a racking horse, as well as how to train your horse to behave like this breed.

The smooth, single-footed gait (the rack), and calmness are some of the most notable characteristics of this horse. A racking horse is a great choice if you plan to ride long distances.

What does it mean to rack a horse? Let’s start by giving you a brief description of a rack horse.

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What is Racking Horses?

A racking horse breed is known for its strength, gentleness, and beauty. Its unique single-foot gait is what gives it strength that is unmatched by other horse breeds. Because it only steps one foot on the ground, it is a single-foot gait.

 Racking Horse

The racking horse should be able to trot well and has a good gait. It is also known as the RH.

Origin of Racking Horse

In the deeper regions of South America, RHs were very popular. This was before the civil war.

The RH’s gait allowed one to ride it for long distances. This was a benefit that farmers learned. These horses were bred by farmers to preserve their intelligence, strength, and calmness. The horses can be calm and carry people for long periods of time at a natural pace.

RHs were popularized in South American farming shows in the 1800s. They could be found at small horse shows. The RHs did not have any protection group.

Joe D. Bright, a businessman from Alabama, decided to name the horse a new breed in 1960s. The Racking Horse breeders Association of America was formed to register the horse as an American new breed on May 23, 1971.

The group also protects and sells unique horses. The RH Breeders Association grew quickly from 1971 to now, as people fell in love and began working with the horses. USDA has recognized the association until now.

Why the name “racking horse?” At that time, the name “racking horse” meant a single-foot. It didn’t necessarily mean the horse was from a particular place.

What are the Characteristics of a Racking Horse?

This horse is easy to understand, regardless of whether you’re a professional trainer or beginner in horse racing. These features are similar to those of the Tennessee walking horses from Northern America. These are the unique characteristics of the racking horse.


The RHs are as beautiful as they appear. They come in many colors. Expect their coats in black, brown and gray as well as sorrel and pinto (has spots), sorrel. These colors are appealing to many people who place a lot of emphasis on their looks.

You will be able to find racking horses in gray, bay, black and chestnut colors. Horses with sorrel will be seen at some shows, but they are not as common as the black horses.

Palomino is not uncommon, but it is not rare. Mixing of genes can result in racking horses with pinto and spots. The association records RHs of this color as Spotted Saddles.

There are also racking horses with a roan-colored coat. All coat colors are accepted by the Racking Horse Breed Registry.

The Body Structure

Horses that are racked have strong bodies. Their physical fitness makes them easy to ride.

Horses must be at least 15.2 hands tall. The mares are smaller than the stallions who are 16 hands high, while some are larger. Their height is what makes them suitable for the trail and show rings.

These horses are 1000 pounds, or 453.59kgs. You will also notice its graceful appearance from the first time you see it. These horses are stunning.

How about the structure of the bodies? Horses have a longer neck than other breeds. Do their shoulders and croup differ from other horses? They are slopy and have a musculature appearance.

They have strong bones and muscular legs. The hooves are strong and sturdy enough to withstand single-foot steps.


How about the gait? The proper breeding has made their single-foot movement smooth (racking).

Their movement is lateral, with equal set down and four beats, and has good speed. Ragging horses can travel up to 30 miles an hour if they are ridden at maximum speed. They can also move at 8 miles an hour, even though they are moving at a slow pace.

How do they get so fast? The majority of racking horses walk in a brisk manner instead of trotting. They are more concerned with being prompt and accurate than just elevating their legs.


You can expect a horse with good discipline if you have the opportunity to meet one. This breed is friendly, loving, gentle, and affectionate to all. This is what makes them so attractive.

Some horses may be more active depending on their individual features. These horses love your company and riding with them is a lot of fun.

How to Train a Horse to Rack

Many people desire to see racking in their horses. But not all horses are born with the ability to rack.

You can train your horse to rack if it doesn’t already have it. These are some tips to help you train your horse to rack.

  • Even with the best training, not all horses can rack. If you don’t succeed with the steps, your horse won’t be able to rack. Ask a professional breeder if you are unsure if your horse is able to sustain the walking gaits.
  • Your horse should learn to racking when it is young, before it starts riding. It’s not difficult to teach an adult horse how to racking.
  • To train your horse to rack, use the right equipment such as the reins
  • You should ensure that your horse is trained by a qualified trainer. Racking is not an easy skill. Make sure you train your horse properly.

What can you do to get your horse to rack? Follow these steps to get your horse to rack.

1. Pull the Horse Shoes

To create the rack, you will need to use the farrier before getting on the horse. Take the front shoes off the front legs, and the heavier ones should be left behind.

What if you don’t have horseshoes? Don’t worry! Lightweight training chains can be used on the hind legs for your horse.

This step is intended to increase the horse’s posterior weight. This will reduce the horse’s weight and allow it to get into the rack.

2. Get Into Position

Give the horse some time to get used to the saddle. Place your feet in a square position. Your shoulders should be level with your hips and at the same height. Your back should be straight and your elbows and forearms should be close to your hips.

It will be uncomfortable if you don’t balance your horse. What will happen? You will not be able to teach your horse how to rack, and the horse won’t follow any of your commands.

3. Get the Horse into The Rack

To raise your horse’s head, reach your hands up to its chest while you steer it. As you do this, make sure to get into the saddle and keep your legs in the stirrups. Do not place your hands on the horse’s legs.

Slowly cluck your horse to get him moving. You will soon be able to control your horse’s movements. You should repeat this action four to five times until the horse can use its hind legs by itself.

How do you know if your horse is racking? Your horse will only be able to step on one foot at a time because the activity is four beats long. You will also notice a smoother gait and less bouncing when you are in the saddle, as your legs will move faster.

Some horses are quick to get in the rack. Others may take a while. Be patient with your horse.

4. Continue to practice with your horse

You can start to train your horse by practicing with it, even if you’re not sure he is racking. Your horse should have its neck and head straight and relaxed. As it racks, the horse will learn the new position.

What about if you’re using reins to ride your horse. To ensure that the horse’s neck is vertical, you should apply more pressure to the reins.

Remember, practice makes perfect. It can take several months for your horse’s gait to become fully functional. Horses must have the strength and posture to maintain a good gait.

Your horse can be trained for between 15 and 30 minutes per day. You will see a decrease in stress as your horse racks.


You will enjoy riding on a horse that is racking, and you’ll have a great time in the saddle. The horse is beautiful and everyone will notice it. People have fallen in love with this horse since the 1800s because of its behavior and features.

Some horses can be trained to rack. However, not all horses can do this. It is easy to train your horse to rack if you follow these steps.

Do you have questions about racking horses? Reach out to us.

Allison Price
Allison Price

I’m Allison, born and raised in San Diego California, the earliest memory I have with horses was at my grandfather’s farm. I used to sit at the stable as a kid and hang out with my Papa while he was training the horses. When I was invited to watch a horse riding competition, I got so fascinated with riding!