Horses Used for Work Purposes

While the age of horse-drawn plows and carriages have passed, many horses are still used today for work purposes. Horses can be found working with people and for people in a variety of places.

Therapy Horses

Riding for people with physical, cognitive and emotional disabilities in the United States was established in the early 70s. The movement of riding a horse mimics the three-dimensional motion of actually walking for people who are unable to do so. Riding enhances muscle development …

Cost of Horse Ownership

Horse ownership continues to increase in popularity. While horses are still used for some agriculture enterprises, most horses are used for pleasure riding, breeding or competition such as showing or racing. The horse has played an important part in America’s heritage. The horse continues to play an integral part in providing a recreational outlet and creating income for individuals interested in professional employment with horses. Most horse owners will testify that their passion and love for the horse is why …

Horse Artificial Gaits

Gaits such as the running walk, slow gait, pace and rack are considered artificial gaits, however they are very natural to specific breeds of horses.

Artificial Gaits

Download this video! Artificial Gaits of Horses (23 MB)

Equine Navicular Disease

Navicular disease is an injury of the navicular bone of the front foot. Conformational faults or injury are the most common causes of navicular disease. A straight pastern and shoulder or small hoof will increase the concussion on the navicular bone, causing increased friction between it and the flexor tendon, resulting in injury.

Horses worked on hard surfaces are at greater risk to acquire navicular disease, which usually affects horses in their prime working years (ages 6 to 10). A …

Horse Back

When a horse backs naturally without interference from the rider they perform a two beat diagonal gait. The back has a similar hoof pattern to that of the trot, only backwards. The footfall pattern of the back might be the right front moves with the left hind and the left front moves with the right hind.

 

Horse Gaits

Horse Canter

Ashley Griffin, University of Kentucky

The canter is a three beat gait where one pair of feet strike the ground simultaneously and the other two feet land independently. The canter/lope will either be on what is referred to as a right or left lead. If the horse is on the right lead then the hoof pattern is left hind, right hind and left front simultaneously, then right front. The opposite foot pattern represents the left lead as follows: right …

Horse Gaits – Effects of Balance

Ashley Griffin, University of Kentucky

Contents


Long Stride

The stride is the distance between successive imprints of the same foot. From the side view a horse should place their hind foot in the spot that the front foot left the ground. The more balanced a horse is the more likely that they will travel …

Horse Gallop

Ashley Griffin, University of Kentucky

Although the gallop or run appears to only be a faster canter, it is in fact a different gait containing four beats. Like the canter, the gallop also has a right and left lead. The footfall pattern of the gallop on the left lead is the right hind, left hind, right front, left front. Likewise, the right lead footfall would be left hind, right hind, left front, right front.

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Horse Trot

Ashley Griffin, University of Kentucky

The trot is a two beat diagonal gait where the horse’s legs work in paired diagonals. The pattern of this two beat diagonal gait may be as follows: right hind and left front then left hind and right front or left hind and right front then right hind and left front.

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Trot

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Horse Walk

Ashley Griffin, University of Kentucky

The walk is four beat gait where each foot hits the ground independently. The pattern of this four beat walk may be as follows: right front, left hind, left front, right hind or right hind, right front, left hind, left front.

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Walk

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