Gaited horses are an excellent choice if you’re looking for a horse that moves gracefully, is easy riding, and is perfect for the trails or the show ring. These breeds also tend to be excellent mounts for people who have lower back issues, but don’t want to give up their love of horseback riding. When choosing a gaited horse, there are a number of options. It’s also important to remember that these breeds can also be great all-around mounts. If you want to participate in jumping, barrel racing or other performance events, don’t count out a gaited horse. Some excellent gaited horse choices are as follows:
The American Saddlebred has been referred to as the “peacock of the horse world” and has mainly been bred for show purposes. However, they make excellent recreational mounts as well. The breed can be either three- or five-gaited and used for pleasure riding, events, fine harness or a combination. They are excellent all around horses. They are most known for their high-step action.
The Tennessee Walker was bred for general purpose riding, driving and farm work. Today, they are popular in the show ring and perform the running walk which they are well-known for. The gait comes naturally to the breed, as they naturally overstride. These horses were originally known as the Plantation Walking Horse, as they were popular mounts for plantation owners that needed to swiftly ride down rows of cotton and other crops.
Missouri Fox Trotter
The Missouri Fox Trotter was developed in the Ozark Mountains to meet the needs of the area farmers. The breed saw a resurgence of popularity in the 1960's when more people began looking for pleasure and cross-country trail riding horses. The fox trot is a unique gait in which the trot becomes a four-beat gait rather than a two beat gait. The feet do not come down hard, but appear to slide and contact the ground lightly.
The Peruvian Paso was developed from horses brought to Peru by the Spanish. The horse is known for its flowing movement in which the forelegs roll to the outside as the horse moves forward. The gait is known as termino. The breed also performs the pas gait, which is a four beat lateral gait rather than diagonal.
The Paso Fino was developed from the Spanish horses imported to Puerto Rico and Columbia. The breed performs the paso gait and comes in a variety of colors, including spotted, which the Peruvian Paso does not.
The Icelandic Horse is a pony-sized five gaited horse. Although they are small, they are not actually ponies. Their size is the result of development in the rough climate of the Icelandic islands. The breed performs a four-beat lateral gait known as the “tölt” and the “flying pace” or skeið.
The Marwari is a rare breed that comes from the Marwar region of India. The horse has unique turned in ears that often meet in the middle above the poll. The breed is also known for its ambling gait that is similar to a pace. The gait is referred to as the “revaal,” “aphcal” or “rewhal.” The horses that have long whorls down their necks are considered to be lucky and those that have whorls on their fetlocks are believed to bring victory. Unfortunately, those horses with whorls under their eyes are not popular with buyers.
History of Horses
Popular Horse Breeds
Horseback Riding Guide