Originally Posted by AQHA
Can someone tell me about the gaits a gaited horse has besides walk trot and canter? Also how can you tell what the horses is doing... For example if I took my gaited gelding in a local show what would his gaitedness count as? A walk or a trot?
A trot is a trot. At a show if the rules call for a "trot" and you don't trot then you get penalized (or at least don't gain any points). If the judge is willing then you may ask to have a soft gait substituted for the trot. At local shows or fun shows or even schooling shows this is usually not a problem. At any sort of higher level or rated show with open classes it might not be.
If you have experience with gaited horses you can usually tell what the horse is doing by feel. If you don't then get somebody to video you while you ride and you can see what the horse does.
I cut the following from another thread. It might help identify a given soft gait: A friend in Brazil, to simplify discussion of gait in a breed where three gaits are permitted, came up with this:
Pace L4 L3 L2 L1 Center D1 D2 D3 D4 Trot
In this diagram "L" means lateral, "Center" means an isochronal four beat gait, and "D" means diagonal. Pace and trot are self explanatory.
Using this scale we get away from some of the terminology confusion that runs through the gaited horse world. This scale can be used to describe the gait of any horse (trotter, pacer, or in between).
Every horse has a "native way of going" that can be placed on the scale. Ordinary training can move horse one number of the scale without too much difficulty. But moving more than one number will be much more difficult. This is why breeders should aim for the center. If they do thier job right then even if you produce an L1 or a D1 you can easily train to the center.
A major point of confusion in the "gaited horse world" is that given points on the continuum can have multiple names. Using the alpha-numeric system that confusion is removed.