The mastering of horse riding techniques by novice equestrians begins with an acquaintance with the main way of running horses - the gait. Sitting in the saddle, each rider makes an attempt to move forward and immediately feels the many movements that the horse is making at that moment.

general information

All four legs of the animal begin to move simultaneously with their own beat, which is called the horse's gait. The literal translation from French of the word gait means "way of movement".

Note. In order for the actions of the horse and rider when riding to be harmonious and harmonious, knowledge of all types of horse running is required.

Running technique and characteristics reflect the gait of an animal with which it can run forward. During the movement, due to the push of the legs, an alternating displacement and restoration of the horse's center of gravity occurs, which is a powerful impulse to advance.

Horse running way

The horse's running method is characterized by the following indicators:

  • Rhythm. This concept means the amount of time spent on pinpoint hits of the horse's hooves on the support.
  • Tempo indicates the number of strokes that the horse takes while running. According to this characteristic, they distinguish between running at two, three and four rates.
  • A way of unlocking the hooves while running. While running, the horse can support all four hooves, three, two or one.
  • Step length. This refers to the distance between the impression of the front hoof of a horse. This indicator has a significant impact on the performance of the horse's running speed.
  • Frequency indicates how many steps a horse can take per minute.
  • Shortened gait. This term refers to the type of running in which the rear horseshoe is removed from the front footprint.
  • Long run - this indicator shows the position of the horse when the print of the hind leg is in front of the trace of the right limb.
  • The low stroke indicates the position of the running horse, in which the height of the raised hoof does not reach the down joint of the horse's adjacent leg.
  • High running. In this position, the running horse moves in such a way that its hoof rises slightly higher than the downy knee joint.

The paces of horses are in direct proportion to the functioning of the animal's nervous system. If the horse is too nervous and agitated, then his run will be unproductive and with a high speed. Prolonged training promotes proper dressage, which is about the horse's controllability, efficient use of energy and the development of motor reflexes.

Note! Running can be different, inborn by nature or developed as a result of long training sessions. There are several types of racehorses: walk, trot, gallop, amble.


This type of horse movement is considered the slowest gait. The horse's step is made in the following order: first, the horse takes out his right front leg forward, then the back left leg, after that the front left moves forward, the movement of the back right ends. When walking, the horse can stand on two or three limbs. During the movement, the legs of the animal seem to create an oblique line, and clear blows of all four horseshoes are heard.

With a slow gait, the horse's speed per hour is only 5 to 7 km.

Step movement is divided into the following types:

  1. The collected step is determined by a clear and high rise of the limbs, the horse is ready to switch to another type of running at any time.
  2. Shortened.Performing a shortened step, the animal with its neck extended parallel to the ground moves freely at a leisurely pace.
  3. Added. During the movement with an extended step, four hoof strokes are clearly distinguished, the horse in turn rearranges its legs and moves quickly forward.
  4. Paso Fino. During the run, the horse moves with a small step and quickly moves his hooves. This special kind of step is characteristic only of the horse breed of the same name.

The slowest gait is used for training, which allows you to tidy up the muscles of the animal. Horseback riding is performed at a step.



A leisurely and short trot run is usually used when moving horse teams. If running horses have been well trained, they can run rhythmically for quite some time. During the trotting gait, the horse hovers above the ground for a moment, the trajectory of movement of the limbs resembles an oblique line. A trotter while running can reach speeds from 45 to 50 km / h, a record speed of 55 km / h is considered.

The variety of trotting is divided into types:

  1. Trot. Moving on the trot, the horse moves while running at a slow and shortened trot with a stride length of up to 2 meters. Quiet pace of movement, during which there is no tearing of the trotter from the surface. The speed is 1 km in 4 minutes. This type of running is used to warm up. During a short trot, there is a sagging phase of the horse's body in motion, and it can run 1 km in just 3 minutes.
  2. Sweep. A calm form of easy trot, allowing you to reach a speed of 1 km in 2 minutes.
  3. Mach. Running horses, swinging, make clear and sweeping movements and cover a distance of 1 km in just 2 minutes.
  4. Frisky. This is the fastest trot used during intense training, competition and racing. A frisky trot horse runs 1 km in 1.15 minutes.

If you look closely at how horses run at a trot, you will notice that ordinary horses cannot trot for a long time. They start to run at a gallop or move to a step. Only a special breed of horse called trotter prefers trotting gait. One of the criteria for evaluating horses is their ability to trot for a long time and not change the type of movement.



The fastest type of gait is the gallop. If you look at how a horse gallops, you get the impression that the horse moves by leaps and, once hitting with a hoof, hangs in space for a while. First, the horse carries out one limb from behind, then the second and along an oblique path performs a sharp push with the front leg. Having made a small jump, the horse first lowers the front leg, which is located diagonally from the hind leg that first went forward. The gallop movement evenly distributes the load on all four legs of the animal.

A gallop is distinguished by which leg after the jump the horse touches the ground: right or left. Usually the horse runs with its left foot.

This type of gait is divided into the following types:

  1. Manezhny. This is a short and unhurried form of canter, during which frequent turns are made.
  2. Canter, another name - "field". Fast basic gait with medium speed, mainly used during training runs.
  3. Career. This is a swift and high-spirited type of gallop, during which the horse develops great speed. During the movement, the horse makes a full swing and captures the space in front to the maximum. For better control of the horse, the rider is advised to use shortened stirrups, which allow him to raise himself slightly above the saddle. The animal quickly spends its strength, begins to get tired, therefore, the gait is used in a career in equestrian competitions or in preparation for them.

The gallop stride is three times the length of the horse's body. If we compare the speed of a canter running with a trot, then in the first case it will be twice as high.During the races, the speed of the horse reaches 60 km per hour. To understand how to lift a horse into a canter, it is important to control the horse correctly, to know the peculiarities of galloping. In order to teach a young and untrained horse to gallop, the rider will have to be patient and teach the animal the correct technique for this type of running.


A pacer is a horse that moves with the rarest and most original type of gait - the amble. This type of movement is typical only for a small group of horses and is highly appreciated by riders. Amble is a bit like a trot, but this is only at first glance. The difference lies in the fact that the horse carries out the limbs only on one side, and not diagonally, as during the trot. During the run, amble horses, due to swaying of the body and an unstable gait, while turning, can stumble over uneven terrain. The rider, letting the pacer gallop, feels very comfortable.


A pacer horse, in comparison with a trotter, has a shorter stride length, although it moves its hooves with a greater frequency. Therefore, such a horse develops high speed: it runs a distance of one kilometer in 2 minutes. With a rider, a pacer can cover a distance of 100-120 km per day. It is rather difficult to switch from one type of gait to another horse. They are born horses, so pacers are not used to transport goods.

Artificial gaits

Artificial gaits mean the use of running patterns developed as a result of long training sessions. These beautiful movements are the riding art of horseback riding.

There are different types of artificial gaits:

  • Passage is a kind of quiet trot, when horses bring their legs and limbs forward a little, knees slowly and beautifully rise to the top, and hind legs are brought under the body.
  • Piaffe. This type of gait is considered the most difficult of all artificial gaits and is a passage that the horse performs while standing still, often in combination with a turn.
  • Gallop on three limbs. The difficulty of this gait lies in the fact that the horse has to occupy a very uncomfortable position: one leg must always be in an extended position and not touch the support.
  • Reverse gallop. This type of gait is performed during various tricks.
  • Shortened gait (Spanish step). With this movement, the horse walks with its front limb and brings the leg parallel to the support. While teaching the animal this movement, the rider, holding a long whip in his left hand, picks up the reins, thereby providing a shortened gait.

In conclusion, I would like to note that the movement of a running horse, regardless of the chosen gait, is always plastic and looks graceful.