No head bob... - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 14 Old 09-20-2009, 01:04 PM
Green Broke
 
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The difference isn't head bob or not as that can vary a good deal from one horse to another and tends to fall off with the higher speeds. The difference between the two gaits technically is timing and which feet are touching at what times.
You are right about the differences, but the head bob and tail bob are somewhat essential to rack/running walk differences.

Just thought I'd throw that out there.

And to the OP, this is a very helpful article on gait differences.

Running Walk Explanation

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Last edited by Sunny06; 09-20-2009 at 01:06 PM.
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post #12 of 14 Old 09-20-2009, 02:05 PM
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Yes, but it's also tied to conformation, how 'swingy' the horse moves in the lateral gaits, and how the head is held. And yes, it can be trained. The idea with TWH's is that in the show ring, a horse should exhibit more movement in the head and neck (and more swing in the back) to indicate that he is moving in a relaxed, balanced manner that isn't tense or sore. That's where the idea comes from originally, and it's being selected for in TWH's for the show ring and exagerated with training when possible. So it's become a style. It says, "See, my horse is not stiff and sore but happy!" But because you can train for it, and it's even easier to do if your horse has a longer neck and back, it can also be a lie.

However, other breeds with shorter, thicker and more upright necks such as Pasos and Icelandics barely exhibit this movement. Not that it isn't there at all but it's not been a focus for exageration either. More rounded, shortner necked and shorter backed TWH's of mountain breeding rather than show lines don't exhibit much swing or bob at all, yet preform the same gaits. In the case of Pasos the style actually emphasises less movement is better - glass smooth both in way of going and how it looks is the goal. But the actual gait performed according to foot fall patterns and speed may be exactly the same as a TWH doing a 'running walk.'

My own gelding has a slight head and neck movement that is partly up and down and partly side to side when he walks or running walks, but fades at his faster racks as he lifts his head and neck somewhat.

Does this make sense? Quite all right if you don't agree, of course.

Paige Easley Patty
Hanblechia Studio
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post #13 of 14 Old 09-20-2009, 03:12 PM
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To further confuse the issue of head bobbing besides confirmation and training, there's also what the horse is doing. Have you ever seen a horse going up a steep incline bob his head up or downwards more than usual to help him haul his back end up after him? You'll especially see this if the horse is weak or is carrying too heavy a rider, even when going up a slight incline. So it's not always just about how long and swingy the body is or how relaxed, either.

When my gelding first arrived he was much underweight and weak. I took still shots and video of him gallopping around his paddock with a warmblood. Then I did gait analsys one frame at a time. The other horse was in much better condition and moved his head and neck up and down a good deal less as he ran than my gelding who had to drop his poll down lower than his withers in order to help him heave up and lift his hindquarters back underneath himself. He looked like a water pump handle! Already in the two months I have had him, getting his weight up and building stronger muscle, he's able to run with less extreme effort. It doesn't mean he's stiff in this case, but in better shape.

So incase I'm not being clear or am being too specific, I am only saying that how much head and neck movement you get from any specific horse, performing any specific gait, is going to vary. Also what the rider is doing, conformation, training, conditioning, and terrain are all going to have an effect. Some subtly, some extremely. You will tend to see more in the slower lateral gaits on longer bodied, relaxed horses but it's certainly not a carved in stone, inflexable guideline.

Paige Easley Patty
Hanblechia Studio

Last edited by Hanblechia; 09-20-2009 at 03:13 PM. Reason: typos
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post #14 of 14 Old 09-20-2009, 05:42 PM
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is going to vary.
Mmm.. Somewhat.

Most people are like Slinkies; they serve no real purpose, but they bring a smile to your face when you push them down the stairs.
When you come to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on for dear life.
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