Fox Trotters: Understanding the Fox Trot, Gaits and Gaited Horses

Dan Gilmore riding Missouri's Outlaw ("Jake")

Dan Gilmore riding Missouri's Outlaw ("Jake")

I get a lot of questions about gaited horses, especially concerning Fox Trotters and the fox trot. As a result, I have added a short article about this very subject to the “Articles” page of my website. Here’s an excerpt:

“Exactly how many gates there are is a subject that is open to much debate. I suppose the best way to start is to define the various gates and how they relate to each other. The “hard gaits” of modern Thoroughbreds, Quarter Horses, etc., consist of the walk, trot and canter.  In the late 19th century and earlier, a trot with suspension (to which most riders post) was considered to be an undesirable defect in a saddle horse. What was desirable to cowboys, cavalrymen and anyone who rode a horse for general transportation was a flat, ambling gait, not dissimilar to the fox trot. Horses that had a ‘hard’ trot were rarely found in use as a saddle horse in Colonial America. This is mainly because sitting to a hard trot or even posting to it can get fairly tiring over long distances. Consider that prior to modern mechanized transportation, it was not  uncommon for riders to cover fifty or more miles in the course of a day’s ride. Hence, horses with ambling, smooth, efficient gaits were the norm…”

Read More: Fox Trotters: Understanding the Fox Trot, Gaits and Gaited Horses

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