Gaited Horses (The Ultimate Guide)

Even if you have been around horses for years, there are still new words relating to horses that you are yet to find out. It is not uncommon to hear the term “a horse with a gait” in the world of horses. It is fine if you do not understand what this connotes. In this article, everything about horses with gaits will be fully discussed.

What is a horse with a gait? A horse with a gait is one that carries each of its hoofs one after the other. When the horse does this, one of its hooves stays on the ground, which gives the horse more strength, unlike if they were trotting. For this reason, horse lovers prefer to use horses that gait for long journeys, as they are better suited for such tasks.

What are the advantages of having a horse with a gait? What are the shortcomings of horses with a gait? In this article, you will find out this special feature that different types of horses have.

How Can You Tell if a Horse is Gaited?

Gaited horses are typically seen in English or Western riding. The gait of a horse can be determined by the way in which its foot falls.

Gaited horses typically have an even and rhythmic gait that is comfortable for long-distance riding, yet they are not used to all terrain. A gaited horse is one which has four different paces of walking and running: the walk, trot, canter and gallop. This means it moves differently than other horses with just the walk and trot.

Even though there is a unique distinction between horses with a gait and the one whose movements have been affected by a circumstance, it is still a bit difficult to spot the difference immediately. The question then becomes, how can you tell a horse with a gait? All you have to do is study how they move.

Usually, a horse with a gait has a four-legged pattern. When they walk, they bring each of their legs individually to form a precise arrangement. Usually, horses with a gait walk with a gait of left front-leg, right rear, right front-leg, left rear, and vice versa. If you study this carefully, you will notice this arrangement.

Furthermore, if you observe the walk of a horse with a gait from its side, you will see that its legs on one side move at the same time. The front foot comes after the hind foot.

Different Types of Horses with a Gait

The different types of horses with a gait include:

  • The Appaloosa Horse
  • The American Standardbred Horse
  • The Icelandic Horse
  • The Paso Fino Horse
  • The American Saddlebred Horse
  • The Peruvian Paso Horse
  • The Tennessee Walking Horse
  • The Rocky Mountain Horse
  • The Kentucky Mountain Saddle Horse

Since the 19th century, horses with gait have been used by humans to move from one place to another. Horses with a gait have the unique distinction of their strength and ability to endure which makes them suitable for long rides. Because horses with a gait do not lift themselves up in the air, they reserve more strength than regular horses.

A horse with a gait has this characteristic in them. Horses with a natural gait are often composed and gentle which makes them stand out when it is time for experienced or newbie riders to pick them.

What are gaited horses good for?

Gaited horses are a type of horse that is known for its smooth, comfortable gait. They are often used as riding horses because they provide the rider with an easier ride than other types of horses do.

Gaited horses are known for their smooth, easy gait and ability to cover ground more quickly than most other breeds. These traits make them a great choice for those looking to do trail riding or compete in endurance events.

Below are some other distinct benefits to gaited horses to their riders.

Gaited Horses are More Comfortable To Ride

If you are a newbie at horse riding, you find it more comfortable to ride horses with a gait. Horses with a gait provide a rough-free ride and reduced gallops, which means that newbies can ride them on their own.

Now, while this comes off as a great advantage, it may also present some drawbacks to newbie riders who want to get better at their horse riding.

Gaited Horses Are Perfect For Long Journeys

If you want to take a horse ride on a long journey without worrying about your horse getting fatigued, then you should go for horses with a gait.

This unique feature about them as well as the limited gallops on the ride makes riders consider them for long rides. If you want a steed for a long journey, then you should ride a horse with a gait.

Gaited Horses Are Usually Calmer

Horses with a gait are usually composed and collected in the way they conduct themselves. This makes it easy for them to get along with riders including newbie riders. Still, every horse has their peculiarities and a horse with a gait does not mean they are perfect for you. So, check well before you buy one.

How do Gaited Horses Move?

Gaited horses are known for their unique, smooth trot. What is the secret to this gait? The answer lies in how the horse lands on its hooves. Gaited horses have a different way of landing that involves leaving one or more feet off the ground. When you watch these special mounts prance around, it’s easy to see why gaiting has become so popular with riders.

Watching a gaited horse can be an eye opening experience for anyone who has never seen them before – it truly is something special. They are able to move at a much smoother pace than other breeds and can cover great distances without tiring themselves out too quickly.

Can a gaited horse do barrels?

Horses who naturally walk in a lateral gait, known as an amble or rack, can do barrels.

Gaited horses are known for their smooth, rhythmic gait that provides riders with an enjoyable ride. Barrel racing is one of the many equine events where gaited horses excel.

They need to be trained for this event though and not all horses want to barrel race. This is because they often feel constrained when racing around the barrels vs trotting on a flat surface where they have more freedom of motion.

For those unfamiliar with barrel racing, this event requires a horse to run around four barrels in the fastest time possible (typically set by the judge). It’s important for both horse and rider to have impeccable balance during this high-speed event; however, it’s also important for both partners to be able to stay calm and collected under pressure as well as maintain good communication throughout the race.

If you’re looking for an equine athlete that can do both events then gaited breeds (such as Tennessee Walkers) might be perfect for you.

Do gaited horses lope/canter?

The gaited horse has a smoother, more comfortable gait that typically is an easy lope or canter. Gaited horses are known for being the best of both worlds: they have the smoothness and convenience of a trot while also having the speed of a gallop.

Different gaits in horses are often misunderstood. Gaiting breeds will usually exhibit one or two of these basic gaits as their primary gait while some other breeds only use them as stepping-stones to move into another faster gait such as a canter or gallop.

A lope is also a two beat gait but the time between each step is shorter than in a trot and it’s considered to be faster because the horse moves its legs much quicker when running at this pace. The canter is another variation of the gallop where three feet land on the ground with every step instead of four like in other variations of this gait cycle.

Is it safe to ride gaited horses

One of the many perceptions about gaited horses is that it is not safe to ride them because they are not sure-footed. Fortunately, this is not true. For centuries, riders have used horses with a gait to travel the most rugged trails.

Gaited horses also require less work from the rider because they don’t need much leg pressure to maintain their pace and balance.

Gaited horses are composed and collected in the way they conduct themselves, they can walk or run on the most rugged trails, taking one hurdle one at a time.

How Do You Train a Horse with a Gait?

No matter how the God-given talent of a horse’s gait is, it still needs to be trained for it to master a perfect gait. Take, for example, if you were riding a horse and then lost balance, the horse will have to find a way to regain its own balance.

Now, you must never forget that for your horse to master a perfect gait, it must be constantly trained, just as you would teach it in other areas. You must also make sure to be patient during the training as this will help you and the horse form a bond that will develop into a strong relationship. Having a strong relationship with your horse is definitely something that is advised.

Should You Use Unique Saddles For Horses With A Gait?

When you read up on horses with a gait, it may surprise you to come across unique saddles that are specifically made for them. Now, you must know that this is only a way for the advertisers to make money.

Now, while these unique saddles are indeed good for horses with a gait, you can get any type of saddle for your horse with a gait, as long as it is their perfect fit.

The decision to invest in a horse with a gait is solely yours. However, it is advisable that you read up on horses with a gait and generally, any horse before you purchase them and become responsible for them. Also remember, that before you buy a horse with a gait, you should do a test run on other types of horses so you can pick the one whose gait is perfect for you.

Frequently Asked Questions

What type of steeds is perfect for riding on trails?

Usually, horses with a gait are the perfect option when it comes to considering which steeds to ride. You can try the Tennessee Walking Horse, or the Appaloosa Horse, or the Quarter Horse, or the Morgan Horse, or the Arabian horse.

These types of steeds are composed and collected, which makes it easy for you to ride them. Yet, each horse has their peculiarities and may or may not be compliant in going on long journeys.

What do I bring along when I want to ride my first trail?

Riding the first trail is new and should be an enjoyable experience for both you and your horse. However, there are some things you must put at the back of your mind before you decide to take that ride. First of all, make sure you ride along with someone else. Trail riding is basically new to you and so, it is necessary that you ride along with someone who is an expert at it. This way, they can help you navigate the trails and give relevant advice from time to time.

Another thing you should do is take your phone along with you in case a situation arises when you may need help. Still, as you make the trail ride, you may discover that network reception is unstable on your cell phone. This only solidifies the reason for you to have a travel buddy as it becomes safer for you and your horse.

Furthermore, you should be fully packed. Pack any item that will be essential to you or the horse on the ride. Now, you must pack lightly as packing too much will weigh down your horse and make your ride uncomfortable.

What saddle is recommended for riding trails?

The right saddle is essential for a comfortable trail ride. If you ride in the wrong saddle, you may end up having a miserable journey. The Western saddle is one of the most recommended saddles for a trail ride. This will ensure that both you and the horse have a comfortable journey. No matter what you do, do not use the wrong saddle for your trail ride. Your horse may get cranky and upset and this would spoil the experience of your trail ride such that you may be forced to end the ride.