More than just Walk, Trot, and Canter

When shopping for a horse, we all spend time looking at the quality of the horse’s gaits.  Does the walk have a clear four beat rhythm?  Does the horse track up at the trot?  Is there range in each of the gaits?  Can I ride each of the gaits including sitting the trot?  (I could not even find a decent rising trot on one horse I rode when looking…I knew I’d never be able to sit that trot.)  Ike has rideable gaits and I’m finding that the trot is very comfortable to sit now that he has the beginnings of a topline.  But, I have discovered that there are additional movements within each of the gaits that are like finding an extra prize in the cereal box.  Ike’s gaits also include:

Crab Walk – Usually seen on centerline when we are supposed to be absolutely straight.  The body is held in a crescent shape as we attempt to stay on centerline.  Ike’s brother perfected this walk and added the tail swish and boot biting options for extra flair.  Advanced horses will also perform this at the trot while biting the rider’s boot (note: judges are not impressed.)

Hunchback Walk – a stilted walk with the back held very tightly, the croup high and tail raised.  This walk typically precedes a 20 pound poo.

Stiff as a Board Walk – not to be confused with the preteen sleepover game of Light as a feather, Stiff as a board.  This walk comes out when Ike decides he does not want to work and listen to my leg, seat, hands, or voice.  Usually accompanied by jerking of the reins from my hands.

Scooby Doo Scramble – can be performed at the trot or canter.  Legs are swiftly moving, but there is no forward motion.

Race Horse Jig – a rudimentary attempt at a collected trot.  To date only seen at the one horse show Ike’s attended.

Giraffe Trot – Fairly rhythmic trot, but neck is stretched long and tall, and attention is given to something invisible on the horizon.

Eventer Gallop – never experienced under saddle, but the boy can cover his paddock in about three strides…talk about a lengthening.

Great Dane Canter – All four legs are moving in an attempt at a three beat motion, but there is no communication between the legs that splay in any and all directions.  Not sure what the usefulness of this canter is except in auditioning for the role of Marmaduke’s big brother.

I doubt any of these gaits will make it into any textbook, but I know they are real.  Productive ride today.  Ike was back to his normal, willing self,  Practiced Intro B and Intro C for Sunday (reminder!!!  Intro C, final halt at G.  I’d better not mess that up again.)  Ike was a star with the trailer…let us hope Sunday goes as well.


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