Guilherme-thank you for the awesome post; it was very informative and professional!
And thank you pony boy for the video...now I know why I confused someone in a previous post when I mentioned that a horse I rode had a "rocking horse" canter. I said it in reference to the horse having a lot of suspension and lightness of the forehand when he cantered...I'd heard the term before and didn't know when else you would apply it. Now I know! :)
The rack is amazing...what is the footfall pattern on that? In AnitaAnne's 2nd video, at 3:12, he started going faster and it looked more like a canter...same thing in the second racking video at 1:10. Like it went from being even footfall to leading a little with one foreleg and it looked faster. Did he change gaits or just increase speed? How is a rack to ride? Is it as fast as a gallop?
Again, sorry for the constant questions...this is just all so fascinating to me as I have always experienced just normal, ungaited horses...how different they are! Especially about the temperments that you mentioned, AnitaAnne...were they bred specifically for temperment and manageability? Have gaited horses always existed, or how did that start?
I did not see either horse break gait. The gaited horse canter is typically kind of slow. Many are not allowed to canter. It is a 4 beat, lateral canter, so the foot fall looks similar, but there is suspension in the canter.
They can go very, very fast & I have found that they tend to go faster & farther when you do a lot of fast work on them.
As far as history goes, they originate from the driving horses. When you drive in a cart, it can be very bouncy when a horse trots. The pace is much smoother due to the lack of suspension. Plus they seem to be faster, at least the standardbred drivers say they are faster! If you watch standardbred racing, you will see many of them with a special strap on their legs (the name escapes me right now) which will identify the pacers from the trotters.
So, in the south there were huge plantations & the horses here were bred to ride all day at a comfortable gait, but they wanted them to move quickly & to be rather intimidating to people on the ground.
Thus they developed horses that are high headed & full of speed, but are generally 'easy keepers" and easy to train & handle. I have found them to be very willing and don't seem to have power struggles with people. They really are not sensitive like hot blooded horse. (I have found Saddlebreds to be generally hotter than Racking horses or Tennessee Walking horses).
I love riding a gaited horse on trail rides the best! You can ride all day & not get tired, and the horse will go as long as you ask! You can jump small jumps with them, but generally this is not the horse you would pick for serious jumping.
It is not good to ride them in small circles though, if you noticed in most of the clips the riders are generally going in straight lines.