Horse training tips; Horse training methods; Horse Racing betting; Horse riding; horse breeds

ehorse-directory

Breeds of Horses

American Quarter Horse  

American Saddlebred  

Arabian Horse  

Belgian Horse  

Buckskin Horse  

Friesian Horse  

Miniature Horse  

Morgan Horse  

Palomino Horse  

Rocky Mountain Horse  

Standardbred Horse

Thoroughbred

 

Two Arabian  Mares

 

 

No need to wonder 'when'

No need to wonder 'where'

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Thoroughbred   

 

 
Thoroughbred race horses
 
Thoroughbred race horses

The Thoroughbred is a horse breed best known as a race horse. While carefully bred racehorses had existed throughout Europe for centuries prior to this time, the breed as it is known today developed during the 17th century in England when English mares began to be bred to imported Arabian stallions. This addition of verifiable Arabian blood coincided with the creation of the General Stud Book of England and the practice of official registration of horses. All modern Thoroughbreds trace to these imported stallions.

Some individuals refer to a purebred horse of any breed as a "thoroughbred." However, this is incorrect usage in the horse world: the Thoroughbred is a distinct breed of horse. The accepted term for any horse or any other animal that is derived from a single breed line is "purebred." While the term probably came into general use because the General Stud Book was one of the first written breed registries ever created, in modern usage, horse aficionados consider it a sign of utter and complete ignorance to refer to any horse as a "thoroughbred" unless it is a pedigreed Thoroughbred recorded with a recognized breed registry. This distinction is not as widely understood among those who breed other species of purebred animals, who may use the two terms interchangeably. Nonetheless, the term "thoroughbred" is not commonly used to describe purebred animals of other species.

 

Breed characteristics

The Thoroughbred stands typically from as small as 15.2 to as large as 17.0 hands (64 inches/1.63 m) high and is usually bay, "brown" (dark bay), chestnut, black, or gray. Less common colors include roan and palomino. White is very rare, but is a recognized color separate from gray. The face and lower legs may be marked with white, but white will generally not appear on the body (although certain color genes, possibly the rabicano or sabino genes, result in white hairs and white patches in the coat—the study of equine coat color genetics is complex). Good quality Thoroughbreds have a well chiseled head on a long neck, high withers, a deep chest, a short back, good depth of hindquarters, a lean body, and long legs.

Thoroughbreds are often crossed with horses of other breeds to add speed and refinement. Thoroughbreds are classified among the "hot-blooded" breeds, animals bred for agility and speed, generally considered spirited and bold.

Unlike most registered breeds today, a horse cannot be registered as a Thoroughbred (with the Jockey Club registry) unless it is conceived by "live cover;" that is, by the witnessed natural mating of a mare and a stallion. Artificial insemination (AI), though legal and commonly utilized in other horse breeds, cannot be used with Thoroughbreds. Originally this was because blood typing and DNA testing had not yet developed to a degree adequate to verify parentage. Today the reasons may be more economic: a stallion has a limited number of mares who can be serviced by live cover. Thus, the practice prevents an oversupply of Thoroughbreds to some extent. (Though modern management still allows a stallion to live cover more mares in a season than once was thought possible.) By allowing a stallion to only cover a couple hundred mares a year rather than the couple thousand possible with AI, it also preserves the high prices paid for horses of the finest or most popular lineages.

 Origins

All modern Thoroughbreds carry the genetics of three stallions imported to England from the Middle East in the late 17th and early 18th centuries: the Darley Arabian, to whom 95% of today's Thoroughbred pedigrees trace, the Godolphin Arabian, also known as the Godolphin Barb (Because this horse was born in Morocco, there is some dispute among historians whether this horse was a true Arabian or a Barb. However, based on paintings from life, the stallion was clearly Arabian in type; a Barb is built differently), and the Byerly Turk (who may have been a Turkoman Horse rather than an Arabian), together with around 35 mares. There are also other horses of oriental breeding that have been less of an influence but are still noteworthy. One of those is the Alcock Arabian, thought to be largely responsible for the gray coat color in Thoroughbreds] Others include the Unknown Arabian, the Helmsley Turk, the Lister Turk and Darcy's Chestnut.

The first Thoroughbred horse in the American Colonies was Bulle Rock, imported by Samuel Gist of Hanover County, Virginia, in 1730]

Maryland and Virginia were the centers of Colonial Thoroughbred breeding, along with South Carolina and New York.

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Standardbred horse

Standardbred
The Standardbred is best known as a harness racing breed.
The Standardbred is best known as a harness racing breed.
Distinguishing features: Well-muscled, long body, slightly heavier than a Thoroughbred, solid legs and powerful shoulders and hindquarters. Able to trot or pace at speed for racing.
Alternative names: Trotter
Pacer
Country of origin: USA
Breed standards

Standardbreds are a breed of horse best known for their ability to race in harness at a trot or pace instead of under saddle at a gallop. Developed in North America, the breed is now recognized worldwide for its harness racing ability. They are solid, well-built horses with good dispositions that are also used under saddle for a variety of equestrian activities, particularly in the Midwest and eastern United States.

Breed History

Hambletonian 10.
 
Hambletonian 10.

In the 17th century, the first trotting races were held in the Americas, usually in fields on horses under saddle. However, by the mid-18th century, trotting races were held on official courses, with the horses in harness. Breeds that contributing foundation stock to the Standardbred breed included the Narragansett Pacer and the Canadian Pacer, English Thoroughbreds, Norfolk Trotter, the Hackney, and the Morgan. Breeders selected bloodlines that would produce the fastest horses, with one of the most notable sires being the gray English Thoroughbred stallion Messenger, who was exported to the United States in 1788. He produced both runners and trotters.

Messenger's descendant, the legendary Hambletonian 10, also known as Rydysk's Hambletonian, was born in 1849. He was sold, his owners thinking he was worthless, but later became one of the most prolific sires of Standardbreds, today with nearly every trotter or pacer tracing its lineage back to him.

The name "Standardbred" was first used in 1879, due to the fact that, in order to be registered, every Standardbred had to be able to trot a mile within the "standard" of 2 minutes and 30 seconds. Today, many Standardbreds race much faster than this original standard, with several pacing the mile within 1 minute, 50 seconds, and trotters only a few seconds slower than pacers. Slightly different bloodlines are found in trotters than pacers, though both can trace their heritage back to Hambletonian.

The stud book was formed in 1939, with the formation of the United States Trotting Horse Association.

Breed Characteristics

A Standardbred is a bit heavier in build than a Thoroughbred, but still shows quality and refinement
 
A Standardbred is a bit heavier in build than a Thoroughbred, but still shows quality and refinement

Standardbreds tend to be more muscled and longer bodied than the American Thoroughbred. They also are of more placid dispositions, as suits horses whose races involve more strategy and more changes of speed than do Thoroughbred races. Standardbreds are considered people-oriented, easy-to-train horses.

They are generally a bit heavier in build than their Thoroughbred cousins, but have refined, solid legs and powerful shoulders and hindquarters. Standardbreds have a wide range of height, from 14.1 to 17 hands (57"-66"), and most often are bay or the darker variation of bay called "brown," although other colors are not uncommon.

There are two basic types, trotters and pacers. As the name suggests, the trotter's preferred racing gait is the trot, where the horses' legs move in diagonal pairs, when the right foreleg moves forward so does the left hind leg, and vice versa. The pace is a two beat lateral gait; Pacers' forelegs move in unison with the hind legs on the same side.

However, the breed also is able to perform all other horse gaits, including the canter, and pacers can be retrained to trot.

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Belgian (horse)

Belgian

Belgian draft horse from the Maryland State Fair
Belgian draft horse from the Maryland State Fair


Distinguishing features: small head, thick and muscular neck, powerful shoulders and quarters, short legs with small amount of feathering. Chestnut or red roan in colour, they can stand up to 17hh.
Alternative names: Brabant
Belgium Heavy Draft
Country of origin: Belgium
Breed standards


The Belgian horse, Belgian Heavy Horse, or Brabant is a horse breed comes from the West-Brabantian region of Belgium. They are one of the strongest of the heavy breeds. On average the Belgian will grow to be slightly over 1 ton or 2,000 pounds. Colors normally are a type of light chestnut sometimes called a "sorrel," with a flaxen mane. They are considered a draft horse. Historically, though it is possible they may have had ancestors who were destriers in the Middle Ages, their main use was as a farm horse. They are still used as working animals, but have also become popular as show horses, gaming horses, and even as trail riding horses. Although the overall percentage of draft breeds among American horses has declined, the number of Belgians has increased.

The world's tallest living horse is a Belgian Draft named Radar. Radar is a gelding, born in 1998 in Iowa. He stands at 19.35 hands, which means he is approximately 6 foot 7 inches (2 metres) tall at the withers. He weighs over 2,400 lbs (1,088kg). He is currently used by Priefert Ranch Equipment for promotions. The world's largest Belgian Horse was named Brooklyn Supreme, who weighed 3,200 pounds (a little over 1,450kg) and stood at 19.2 hands.

Importation of Belgians ended in bulk after the beginning of the Second World War with Erwin F. Dygert transporting the last Belgians out of Europe as the war was beginning.

They are able to pull tremendous amounts of weight. At the National Western Stock Show in Denver, Colorado, a team of two horses in the Heavyweight class pulled 17,000 pounds 7'2". The team of Belgians weighed 4,800 pounds. At the Iowa State fair, the heavyweight champions in the pulling contest pulled 14,600 pounds the complete distance of 15'. The team consisted of one Belgian and one Percheron weighed 3600 pounds.

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Arabian Horse

 

Arabian horse

An Arabian stallion
An Arabian stallion


 

 

 

Distinguishing features:

finely chisled bone structure, concave profile, arched neck, comparatively level croup, high-carried tail.

 

Alternative names:

Arabian, Arab

 

Country of origin:

Middle East, including Syria, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Iraq

 

Breed standards

 

Arabian Horse Association (AHA) (United States):

 

The Arabian Horse Society of Australia:

 

World Arabian Horse Organisation:

 

The Arabian horse is a breed of horse with a reputation for intelligence, high spirit, and outstanding stamina. With a distinctive head shape and high tail carriage, the Arabian is one of the most easily recognizable horse breeds in the world.

Arabians are one of the oldest horse breeds. There is archaeological evidence of horses that resemble modern Arabians dating back 4,500 years. Throughout history, Arabian horses from the Middle East spread around the world by both war and trade, used to improve other breeds by adding speed, refinement, endurance, and good bone. Today, Arabian bloodlines are found in almost every modern breed of riding horse.

The Arabian developed in a desert climate and was prized by the nomadic Bedouin people, often being brought inside the family tent for shelter and protection. This close relationship with humans has created a horse breed that is good-natured, quick to learn, and willing to please. But the Arabian also developed the high spirit and alertness needed in a horse used for raiding and war. This combination of willingness and sensitivity requires modern Arabian horse owners to handle their horses with competence and respect.

"The Versatile Arabian" is a slogan of the breed. Arabians compete today in many fields of equestrian activity, making the breed one of the top ten most popular in the world. Arabian horses are now found worldwide, including the United States and Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, continental Europe, South America (especially Brazil), and its land of origin, the Middle East.

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Rocky Mountain Horse

The 2 horses in the forefront are Rocky Mountain Horse

 

The 2 horses in the forefront are Rocky Mountain Horse

Around the turn of the century, a young horse soon to be called the Rocky Mountain Horse appeared in eastern Kentucky that gave rise to a line of horses prized by North American and European owners. On the farm of Sam Tuttle in Spout Springs Kentucky, there stood a stallion "Old Tobe". This sure footed, gentle horse carried young, old, and inexperienced riders over the rugged mountain trails of Natural Bridge State Park where Sam held the concession for horse-back riding. Even though Old Tobe was a breeding stallion, he carried riders without faltering. He fathered many fine horses up until the age of 37, and many of the present Rocky Mountain Horses carry his bloodline.

 History

The basic characteristics of the breed are a medium sized horse of gentle temperament with an easy-ambling four-beat gait. This gait made it the horse of choice on the farms and rugged foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. It was a horse for all seasons. It could pull the plows in the small fields, work cattle, be ridden bareback, or be hitched up to a buggy. Because of its rugged upbringing it tolerated the winters in Kentucky with a minimum of shelter. Naturally, outcrossing with local horses did occur, but the basic characteristics of a strong genetic line have continued.

In the summer of 1986, as a way of preserving the breed, a number of people got together to form the Rocky Mountain Horse Association (RMHA) as a non-profit corporation in the state of Kentucky. The association established a breed registry and formed a panel of examiners to provide vigorous supervision to the growth and development of the breed.

 Characteristics

Head of a Rocky Mountain Horse

 

Head of a Rocky Mountain Horse

The established characteristics of the breed are:

  1. The horse must be of medium height from 14.2 to 16 hands. It must have a wide chest sloping 45 degrees on the shoulder with bold eyes and well shaped ears. This horse usually is a chocolate body and flaxen mane and tail (correctly called a silver dapple). But can be any solid color.

  2. The horse must have a natural ambling four-beat gait (single foot or rack) with no evidence of pacing. When the horse moves you can count four distinct hoof beats which produce a cadence of equal rhythm, just like a walk: left hind, left fore, right hind, right fore. Each individual horse has its own speed and natural way of going, travelling 7 to 20 miles per hour. This is a naturally occurring gait, present from birth, that does not require any training aids or action devices.

  3. The horse must be of good temperament and must be easy to manage.
  4. All Rocky Mountain Horses have a solid body color. Facial markings are acceptable so long as they are not excessive. There may not be any white above the knee or hock.

  5. The breed is best known for its gentleness, often being compared to the Labrador dog as a means of describing their unusual enjoyment of human company. It is an easy keeper and a wonderful riding horse with a strong heart and lots of endurance. Today the Rocky Mountain Horse is being used as a pleasure horse, for trail riding, in the show ring and for endurance riding. 

 

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American Quarter Horse

American Quarter Horse

A palomino American Quarter Horse shown at halter.
A palomino American Quarter Horse shown at halter.


 

 

 

Distinguishing features:

Great sprinting speed over short distances; short, refined head; strong, well-muscled body, featuring a broad chest and powerful, rounded hindquarters

 

Alternative names:

Quarter Horse

 

Country of origin:

United States

 

Common nicknames:

"America's Horse"
"World's Fastest Athlete"

 

Breed standards

 

American Quarter Horse Association:

 

The American Quarter Horse is an American breed of horse that excels at sprinting short distances. Its name came from its ability to outdisance other breeds of horse in races of a quarter mile or less, where some individuals have been clocked at speeds up to 55 mph. The American Quarter Horse is the most popular breed in the United States today, and the American Quarter Horse Association is the largest breed registry in the world, with nearly 5 million American Quarter Horses registered worldwide.

The American Quarter Horse is well known both as a race horse and for its performance in rodeos, horse shows and as a working ranch horse. The compact body of the American Quarter Horse is well-suited to the intricate and speedy maneuvers required in reining, cutting, working cow horse, barrel racing, calf roping, and other western riding events, especially those involving live cattle. The American Quarter Horse is also shown in English disciplines, driving, and many other equestrian activities.  

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Palomino

A typical golden palomino (front).  The liver chestnut with a flaxen mane and tail, (back) may carry the silver dapple gene, though some color registries may accept it as "palomino"

 

A typical golden palomino (front). The liver chestnut with a flaxen mane and tail, (back) may carry the silver dapple gene, though some color registries may accept it as "palomino"

A palomino at the lighter end of the acceptable range of color, coat is still a golden shade, skin is dark, horse is not quite a cremello.

 

A palomino at the lighter end of the acceptable range of color, coat is still a golden shade, skin is dark, horse is not quite a cremello.

Palomino is a coat color in horses, consisting of a gold coat and white mane and tail. Genetically, the palomino color is created by a single allele of a dilution gene called the cream gene working on a red (chestnut) base coat. However, most color breed registries that record Palomino horses were founded before equine coat color genetics were understood as well as they are today, and hence the standard definition of a Palomino is based on the coat color visible to the eye, not the underlying presence of the dilution gene.

While the breed standard states the ideal color is that of a "newly minted gold coin" (sometimes mistakenly claimed to be a penny), some Palomino registries allow a coat color that may range from cremello, an almost-white color, to a deep, dark, chocolate color ("chocolate palomino"). Skin and eyes are usually dark, though some foals carrying the champagne gene are born with light-colored eyes that darken as the horse ages. White markings are permitted on the legs, but must not extend beyond the knees or hocks. White markings are also permitted on the face, but must not extend past the eyes.  

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Morgan Horse

Morgan Horse

A Morgan horse
A Morgan horse


 

 

 

Distinguishing features:

Compact, muscular but refined build, clean-cut head, well arched neck.

 

Country of origin:

United States

 

Breed standards

 

The Morgan is one of the first horse breeds developed in the United States. Tracing back to the stallion Figure, later named Justin Morgan after his best-known owner, the breed excels in many disciplines, and is known for its versatility.

Breed characteristics

The Morgan is compact and refined in build, with strong limbs, an expressive face, large eyes, well-defined withers, laid back shoulders and a well arched neck. There is officially one Breed Standard for Morgan type regardless of the discipline or bloodline of the individual horse.

Registered Morgans come in a variety of colors although they are most commonly bay, black, and chestnut. Less common colors include gray, palomino, roan, cremello, perlino, dun, buckskin, and silver dapple. Also present are three of the pinto color patterns: sabino, frame overo, and splash overo. The tobiano pattern has not been noted in Morgans.

The breed standard ranges from 14.1-15.2 hands (1.45 to 1.57 meters) with some individuals over and under. Morgans under 14.2 are eligible for registration with the National Morgan Pony Registry and can be shown in open "Pony" competitions, even though they are technically horses, regardless of height, and are usually exhibited as such.

 Breed history

A Morgan horse with rider in colonial attire at the Kentucky Horse Park.  Costuming intended to resemble Justin Morgan and Figure.

 

A Morgan horse with rider in colonial attire at the Kentucky Horse Park. Costuming intended to resemble Justin Morgan and Figure.

 Justin Morgan

All Morgans trace back to a single foundation sire, a stallion named Figure, who was born in West Springfield, Massachusetts in 1789.. He was at one time owned by a man named Justin Morgan. The horse later came to be identified by the name of this particular owner, and "the Justin Morgan horse" also gave its name to the breed.

Figure is thought to have stood about 14 hh (1.42 m), and to have weighed about 950 lb (430 kg). He was known for his prepotency, passing on his distinctive looks, conformation, temperament, and athleticism. He died in 1821 at the age of 32 and is now buried in Tunbridge, Vermont.

There were many myths that sprung up surrounding Figure and Justin Morgan. The popular children's book, Justin Morgan Had A Horse by Marguerite Henry, perpetuated some misconceptions about the breeding of Figure (called "Little Bub" in the book) and his early life. A movie about the pair was also made by Walt Disney Studios, which also took liberties with the depiction of events.  

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Miniature horse

Miniature horses and foals

 

Miniature horses and foals

Miniature horses are found all over the world and come in various colors and coat patterns. The designation of miniature horse is determined by the height of the animal, which, depending on the particular registry involved, is usually less than 34-38 inches (82-91 cm) as measured at the withers. While miniature horses are the size of a very small pony, many retain horse characteristics and are considered "horses" by their respective registries.

Miniature horses are friendly and interact well with people. For this reason they are often kept as family pets, though they still retain natural horse behavior and must be treated like an equine, even if they primarily serve as a companion animal. They are also trained as service animals, akin to guide dogs or assistance dogs for people with disabilities. While miniature horses can be trained to work indoors, they are still real horses and are healthier when allowed to live outdoors (with proper shelter and room to run) when not working with humans.

They are generally quite hardy, often living longer on average than some full-sized horse breeds; the average life span of miniature horses is from 25 to 35 years.  

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Buckskin (horse)

Buckskin New Forest pony

 

Buckskin New Forest pony

A Buckskin Quarter Horse Mare

 

A Buckskin Quarter Horse Mare

Buckskin is a color of horses; it also refers to other things that are the color of a buckskin horse, such as the color of some breeds of dogs. The horse has a tan or gold colored coat with black points (mane, tail, and lower legs). Buckskin occurs as a result of the cream dilution gene acting on a bay horse. Therefore, a buckskin has the Extension, or "black base coat" (E) gene, the agouti (A) gene (see bay for more on the agouti gene), which restricts the black base coat to the points, and one copy of the cream gene, which lightens the red/brown color of the coat to a tan/gold.

Buckskins should not be confused with dun-colored horses, which have another type of dilution gene, not the cream gene. Duns always have primitive markings (shoulder blade stripes, dorsal stripe, zebra stripes on legs, webbing). Unlike buckskins, who have the creme gene, dun horses have the dun gene. However, it is possible for a horse to carry both dilution genes; these are called "buckskin duns" or sometimes "dunskins." Also, bay horses without any dun gene may have a faint dorsal stripe, which sometimes is darkened in a buckskin without a dun gene being present. Additional primitive striping beyond just a dorsal stripe is a sure sign of the dun gene.

A buckskin horse can occur in any number of different breeds, though at least one parent must be from a breed that carries the dilution gene, and not all breeds do. Since 1963, the American Buckskin Registry Association has been keeping track of horses with this unique coat color.

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Friesian horse

Friesian Horse

Friesian horse
Friesian horse


 

 

 

Distinguishing features:

Always black, 15-17 hands, powerfully muscled, agile with elegant action, thick mane and tail, feather on lower legs.

 

Alternative names:

Belgian Black (UK)

 

Country of origin:

Netherlands

 

Breed standards

 

This article is about the breed of horse. For military barrier called a Frisian Horse .

The Friesian (also Frisian) horse is a breed of horse from Friesland, a province of the Netherlands. Although the breed's conformation resembles that of a light draft horse, Friesians are graceful and nimble for their size. During the Middle Ages, the ancestors of Friesian horses were in great demand as war horses throughout continental Europe. Through the Early Middle Ages and High Middle Ages, their size enabled them to carry a knight in armor. In the Late Middle Ages, heavier, draft type animals were needed. Though the breed nearly became extinct on more than one occasion, the modern day Friesian horse is growing in numbers and popularity, used both in harness and under saddle. Most recently, the breed is being introduced to the field of dressage.

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American Saddlebred

 

American Saddlebred


 

 

 

Distinguishing features:

High stepping with exaggerated action

 

Alternative names:

Saddlebred

 

Country of origin:

United States (Kentucky)

 

Breed standards

 

The American Saddlebred, formerly known as the American Saddle Horse, is a breed of horse that was developed in Kentucky by plantation owners. Today, they are most commonly seen in Saddle seat style riding in the horse show ring, although they are also used in other disciplines including dressage, hunter/jumper, and even western riding. They also are popular parade mounts.

Breed characteristics

The American Saddlebred with its conformation, personality, and stamina is suited to accomplish any task requested, but is most well-known as the "peacock of the horse show world". The horses used for the show ring are flashy, high-stepping animals, with exaggerated action. The Saddlebred is very sensitive and alert. The ideal American Saddlebred is well-proportioned and presents a beautiful overall picture. Large, wide-set expressive eyes and gracefully shaped ears set close together are positioned on a well-shaped head. The neck is long with a fine, clean throatlatch and is arched and well-flexed at the poll. The American Saddlebred sports well-defined and prominent withers, while the shoulders are deep and sloping. Well-sprung ribs and a strong level back also characterize the breed. The legs are straight with broad flat bones, sharply defined tendons and sloping pasterns. Saddlebreds are usually black, bay, chestnut, or brown, but grays, buckskins, palominos, pintos and occasionally roans are also found. The average height is 15-16 hh, but can also be as small as 14.2 hh or taller than 17 hh.

Saddlebreds can also be five-gaited, performing not only the walk, trot, and canter, but the slow-gait and rack. The slow gait is a four-beated gait performed in a prancing motion, lifting the legs very high. The rack is a more ground-covering four-beat gait, and is much faster, with the horse snapping their knees and hocks up quickly. Ancestors of the Saddlebred were naturally gaited, and many Saddlebreds today can naturally perform them, and most can learn the additional gaits.

 

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