A horse can move in many ways. Proper communication with the animal and a proper sense of its pace is essential in maintaining a good relationship with your mount, so anyone interested in horsemanship should know the basic types of horse gait.
The gait of a horse is the way it moves, not only on the riding track, but also during recreational rides. Distinguishing between the different types of horse gait can be difficult for beginning riders and amateur athletes. This division is fundamental in learning horsemanship because the rider must know how to behave during each of the horse’s runs. The types of gaits of a horse can be divided into natural ones, i.e. those that the animal has mastered on its own, and those that have been implemented by humans during training and coaching. The most frequently used during equestrian competitions is the walk, which is classified as a natural type of gait. The trot is also considered to be the fastest of the runs that a horse can make. In opposition to it is the trot, during which the horse reaches a maximum speed of about 6 km/h.
The most popular kind of walk, which can be classified by people not connected with horse riding permanently. The gallop is a three-beat gait, during which the horse jumps sequentially, changing suspension phases. Most often, the gait begins with one of the front legs corresponding to the direction of travel. If the horse extends the opposite leg to the direction of travel, one can speak of a counter gallop. An exemplary sequence of moving the legs can be the system: left hind, right hind and left foreleg together, right foreleg and detachment of all limbs from the ground. Once the full sequence is completed, the suspension phase will change. The gallop can be divided into working, intermediate, collected and drawn out. The first of these is characterized by great uniformity and rhythmicity of movement. The intermediate gallop consists of extended single jumps, while the neck and head of the animal are slightly bent. In the extended gallop, this movement is more prominent and the neck is significantly lowered. The fastest type of gallop is the collected gallop, during which the horse can reach up to 550 m/min. Riding experts also distinguish between the racing gallop, otherwise known as the gallop.
The four-bar gallop is derived from the extended gallop, but during its execution the horse breaks down the movement into four bars. This means that at no time during the gallop are two legs on the ground at the same time. This is due to the speed he achieves while performing it. The average speed of the gallop is about 60 km/h. The record result is almost 70 km/h. An exemplary order of movement is: left hind, right hind, left front, right front, and a phase of flight, when all legs are in the air. The canter is the fastest of the horse’s gaits and is the most commonly used mode of movement in horse racing. When performing it, the rider should assume a half squat position, relieving as much weight as possible from the horse’s back.
A two-beat gait whose speed is between the trot and gallop. During its execution, the horse’s two opposite legs simultaneously bounce off the ground. The right hind leg joins the left front leg and vice versa. As in the case of the gallop and step, there are four types: intermediate, working, extended and collected, which depend on the position of the neck and head of the animal. In addition, the trot is divided according to the behavior of the rider. Angled trot occurs when the rider jumps up on the saddle every other beat. The practice type is used for precise maneuvers, in which case the rider sits on the saddle. The third type occurs when the rider is in a half-saddle.
The slowest of the horse’s gaits. The trot is a four-beat walk where two legs are in contact with the ground at the same time. The average speed of movement is about 100 m/min. As with other gaits, there are 4 basic types. In the trotting gait there is also the Spanish step, during which the horse raises its front legs high. This type of gait does not increase the physical condition of the horse and is only a rare element in some riding shows. Additionally, it is worth remembering that the trot is extremely tiring for the animal.
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