Thursday, June 21, 2012

Changing Gaits...

I recently viewed a recently-taken photo of a proud equestrian astride her new mount. The caption read “this one’s for you, Mom”. It was a flashback to this woman’s childhood years as an accomplished rider.

The poise and pose led me to think about the learned skills of keeping one’s seat through every movement and change of pace. Despite humans being two-footed rather than four, there are similarities – in particular the change of gaits.

Some thoroughbred race horses spring out of the gate with a burst of speed and pent-up energy – reaching their maximum speed in a few short seconds. Other horses and their riders are trained to mete out their energy and hold out for an endurance run rather than a sprint.

If recollection serves me accurately, the  change of four gaits for horses begins with a walk, then into a canter, and gallop.  Or walk, then trot, etc.. Specific breeds, such as a Tennessee Walking Horse, have five gaits. Sulky racers may be either Pacers or Trotters – and their breeding reflects how the legs move either in parallel or diagonally.

No matter what gait you choose – keep your eyes forward and ears pricked for markers that signify the progress of your race.!

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