Shortened gait going slightly downhill? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 5 Old 01-18-2011, 12:45 AM Thread Starter
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Shortened gait going slightly downhill?

Is that pretty normal for the trot or canter to feel a little stilted when you're going at a very slight downgrade?
I keep noticing that Lacey feels like her trot is shorter when we go downhill... Usually it's very long and flat but going downhill, it feels more short and tall, if that makes any sense... It's the same thing with her canter, on the flat or uphill areas her canter feels very long but if we're going downhill at all, it feels like her stride is really short...

Maybe it's because she's finally learned and gained enough muscle to use herself properly when she's going downhill? She used to have the hardest time rating herself when she was going downhill...

I'm sure she's probably fine, but I just want to check.

Her hooves look great, she seems to be feeling super good, and she's perfectly willing (and I don't think she would be if she was in pain...) to trot/canter when we're going slightly downhill...

And, going uphill, her gaits feel perfectly normal. She's actually learned/gained the muscle to lope, FINALLY, and that's really pretty great. She used to canter like she was about to go into a gallop at any second which was a little scary and not easy to ride, especially for someone who's had a terrible fear of cantering for forever.


On another, happy day note, I used to be terrified to canter and now I'm totally not!!! Like today, the Lacey girl and I probably had a good 5 minutes of cantering and I was able to relax into it and actually move with her instead of getting all discombobulated! And I actually steered (that doesn't sound right..stuured? naw...) her too! I used to freeze up so bad and forget to do any sort of controlling. So yay! She's SO the horse that I need instead of the one I wanted (but now, I do want her, of course).

Fabio - 13 year old Arabian/Lipizzan gelding

Rest peacefully, Lacey.
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post #2 of 5 Old 01-18-2011, 12:09 PM Thread Starter
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Bump? :)

Fabio - 13 year old Arabian/Lipizzan gelding

Rest peacefully, Lacey.
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post #3 of 5 Old 01-18-2011, 12:19 PM
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That sounds about right Wallaby. Most smart horses would shorten their strides to go down a hill, so no reason to worry. The stride should be a normal to slightly longer going up a hill so they can push themselves up.

If you were to walk down the same hill, you would probably shorten your strides for balance and to prevent gaining speed. If you were going up, you might lengthen it out a bit so you also had a bit more push from your legs, as well as swing your arms more then you would on the flat.

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post #4 of 5 Old 01-18-2011, 12:54 PM
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When on turn-out in a pasture that has some downhill grades a horse will not travel downhill in a straight line. They tranverse the grade in a zig-zag manner. That's not to say one shouldn't be ridden straight down an incline. They shorten their steps to prevent them from stumbling going downhill.
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post #5 of 5 Old 01-18-2011, 12:55 PM
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That has always happened to me on the most healthy of young horses.

She may have a bit of arthritis which makes her shorten her stride, but most likely, she's just a normal cautious horse!

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