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Defintion of Gaited

A horse that performs a foot fall pattern outside the normal walk, trot, jog, canter, or lope is gaited. If a horse single foots, ambles, paces, tolts, or does a running walk or rack it is ‘gaited’.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

The Gaited Horse

Photo by Dagur Brynjólfsson/ Guðmundur Arnarson rides Sævar frá Stangarholti
(Icelandic Horse, grey with sunfading black base) in tölti at five-gait horse championships in Hella, 2008.

Many horse lovers out there are interested in various breeds of horses, but, do not know what a "gaited" horse is. A gaited horse is any breed or “type” of horse that does not usually trot, producing a ride that is very comfortable to the rider, and is also easy on the horse as well. These breeds pass the gait naturally onto their offspring in most cases, but, some breeds have had the gait artificially introduced through the training of the gait from man.

The word “type” generally means that there may not be an “officially recognized” (i.e., by The United States Department of Agriculture) breed registry for a horse, or that it is a “type” within an officially recognized breed, such as the case with the Morgan Single-footing Horse.

Notice that I said that they usually do not trot. Some breeds are considered gaited horses, yet also have the trot as one of their gaits, such as in the case of the sturdy and spectacular Icelandic Horse (which also possesses an amazing "homing" instinct), and some breeds incorporate as many as five different gaits, like the American Saddlebred.

In these posts, you will find information about the various breeds and types, including a history of the breed, size, color(s), and temperament. You will also find information from most of the associations sites, that can lead you to breeders, trainers, shows, and breed affiliated organizations in your area.

I will try to include here links to the home pages of some of the more familiar breed associations, and some that may be "new" or relatively unknown breeds to many folks. Regardless of your interest in gaited horses, I hope that all horse lovers of all ages will find something here to put a smile on their faces.

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