Terminology is a real problem when discussing gait. The TWH signiture gait is the running walk. It is an isochronal, four beat gait (meaning pick and set down of the feet are in equal time). At any given time the horse will have three feet on the ground; this accounts for its smoothness. It is a distance gait, not a speed gait (like a rack or flying tolt). If you over-ride the gait it will shift, usually to the lateral. This gait is also perfomed by other breeds under different names. In the Mangalarga Marchador, from Brazil, it's called a Center March
. It sometimes shows up in Iberian horses where it's not seen as a major problem. In horses like the QH it's considered a genetic disaster.
In theory, a running walk is a running walk. In the TWH it requires a head nod. In a Racking Horse there would not be much head nod. My Marchador mare has a very modest head nod. I don't know what the MFT standard requires or condemns. Sadly, few TWH judges would recognize a true running walk if it jumped up and bit them on the nalgas
. A couple of my MFT friends say the same thing.
Riding in a group means that horses will match speed with each other. They do not match "way of going." I ride in a group of 70 plus trotters at Cavalry Competitions and my mare doesn't trot. Nor do the trotters perform a marcha
. If gait were this easy to train we could unemploy a lot of trainers.
Every horse has it's own way of going. It may or may not match the requirements of the a breed or judging standard.