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Horse Sense: 2. How Does a Horse Travel?

Generally speaking, a horse moves at a walk, a trot, a lope, and a gallop. A lope is the Western term for "canter," which is an English/eastern term. The lope/canter is an easy, 3-beat gait which the horse can maintain for a pretty fair distance. A gallop is a full-out run, and a horse cannot maintain that for more than a couple miles or so, before becoming winded. A trot is the equivalent of a marathon runner's long-distance pace. A fit, strong horse can maintain a good trot for many miles, under a knowing rider. A slower pace is the jog, which is a bouncing, easy little gait between a walk and a full trot. Well... normally it's easy. If the horse is all wound up about something, it becomes jigging, not jogging, and that will beat you up like a tether ball, as you struggle to keep him at a slower pace.



In rough country, a rider must match his horse's ability, strength, and agility with the terrain. Going uphill, an experienced trail horse will generally slow down, having to propel both his weight and his rider's upwards. Going downhill... well, surely you saw the Man From Snowy River! Unlike in the movies, horses cannot go like blazes, indefinitely. Yes, they can go farther faster than two-legged folk, but just like you and me, they do need to catch their breath, they need to rest, they need to cool down and get a good drink of water. Three days of hard riding and poor care will knock visible pounds off a horse. A week of that, and he won't even look like the same animal. Good husbandry is the secret to keeping a horse in shape for a long, productive life.


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In Playlists

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Last Update: 30 Dec 09
Stories: 4
Type: Reader List
Created By: Elena Tiriel


Non-fiction works about topics useful to writers.

Why This Story?

Helpful information about horses and ponies.

 

Story Information

Author: ErinRua

Status: General

Completion: Complete

Era: Other

Genre: Research Article

Rating: General

Last Updated: 12/17/02

Original Post: 09/24/02

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