Problems caused by racking?
In order to rack, a horse has to be in a hollow frame which puts pressure on their back, croup and neck. I know of one Paso Fino that became unsound because of its gait. Yet there are several other breeds that rack or saddle rack (RMH, KMSH, Icelandic, Racking Horse, SSH I think?). Icelandic riders spend a significant amount of time in trot and canter, which may give the horse a chance to stretch its back, but otherwise... If racking is so bad for a horse, how come I haven't heard more stories of issues caused by it? Is it really that big of a deal?
Gaited horses don't need to be in a hollow frame to do any gait except the pace. It's probably possible to be collected at the pace, but it would be extremely difficult. But the foxtrot, running walk, rack, etc... no. Collection should be taught to all gaited horses. I'm a firm believe in teaching gaited horses to do everything you would teach a non-gaited horse to do. So many people take them on the trail and just gait, gait, gait, that the non-gaited horse world has started to view gaited horses as horses that can't do anything but gait in a straight line!
I rein with my Fox Trotter. She can spin, stop, rollback, do flying lead changes, sidepass, and canter (obviously). She can collect and extend in every one of her gaits. Same with my Paso Fino (except I don't rein with him). I also occasionally trot both of my horses. A good horse (along with a knowledgeable rider) will ALWAYS be able to go back to a gait. As long as you don't do something stupid like do nothing but trot for months and then expect your horse to gait perfectly, it should be extremely easy to get them to gait again. There are certain muscles that are only used in the trot, and that's why it's good to work gaited horses in a trot every once in a while.
My Paso Fino's sire won all kinds of versatility awards and also won Horse of the Year 3 years in a row. He barrel raced, jumped, reined, AND competed in and won Paso Fino performance classes (so his gait was obviously not ruined by all the other things he did).
Here's a Walker with a weak hind end who cannot canter properly:
He's doing a "tranter," which gaited horses are famous for thanks to people not teaching them balance and collection.
I hate to see things like this:
This poor horse doesn't have an ounce of muscle in his hind end: http://i25.photobucket.com/albums/c6...HappySmall.jpg
Could this horse be any stiffer? http://www.hitchinpoststables.net/images/100_0572.jpg
And unfortunately, this has become the norm. People see gaited horses being ridden like that, and assume it's the right way. So they ride like that, and so on...
This horse is wonderfully collected, and yet is still performing a perfect running walk (made obvious by the blue ribbon): http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/b...m6919/jpeg.jpg
Anyway, back on topic... My point is that travelling in a hollow frame is bad for any horse - gaited or non-gaited. And any horse can travel in a hollow frame or a collected frame - gaited or non-gaited. It doesn't have anything to do with the rack.
I think you'll find this article interesting:
You Can Collect That Gaited Horse | Gaited Horse Training Articles
Collection is not just engaging the back end. It includes raising the back and lowering the hindquarters, which is the complete opposite of what a horse does when racking. Racking horses look collected to the untrained eye but in fact they are not.
The "scale" of gaits goes like this: Trot, foxtrot, running walk, saddle rack, rack, step pace, pace. The closer you get to the pace end of the scale, the more hollow the horse has to be. It might be possible to get true collection at the foxtrot or even running walk, but not at the rack. It's easy for people to be fooled because the cues you give to get the rack are the same for collection on a non-gaited horse. I know when I was riding Iclenadics, if I just gave leg instead of "collecting" first they would trot instead of tolt (rack).
I got this information from Easy-Gaited Horses, and personally I trust Ziegler more than Imus because she understood the physics involved. Look at chapter 2 where she talks about the horse's back being like a bridge.
My American Saddlebred Gelding, is a natural at racking but if he is collected it causes him pain in his back later in the day or even a week later he will start tom feel pain.
I do not think, I am off topic but maybe I am.
With all horses, I have trained to rack they never can be collected due to in the long run they have back problems and need a chiropractor.
That said, she also on many occasions stated that you can ride a ventroflexed gait as long as you do it with discretion and alter the gait frequently to prevent back pain. So "mixing the gaits" (including the canter which is a three beat diagonal gait) will permit the effective use of the more lateral gaits.
Many gaited horses can "collect" in a reasonable fashion with a neutral back. It's not the classical collection of Podhajsky but rather getting just enough back support to permit the horse to effectively use its rear end. The term "collection" when applied to laterally gaited horses must be used with caution and understanding.
Concur that Zieglar's insights are clearly superior to Imus.
So really the rack is another curse on gaited horses imposed by people that is dangerous and illogical and done because of how it looks? geez.
You dont hear about it because as has been said, people know it causes harm, so why make a big deal about it, just like all the other nonsense done to gaited horses. As long as they can still ride the horse who cares right? I mean so what if it causes horses to loose most muscle in their hind ends and develop sever back pain? Just throw a bigger bit in that mouth with longer shanks to keep that front end jacked up, those legs out and that back hollow and we are all good.
Gosh of all the idiotic bull I hear in the horse world it is truly the gaited horse world that makes me want to vomit.
I am saying this because even in the few posts on here the obvious view is that "yeah it is bad for them, but as long as we only do it ofr a little bit it doesnt matter, yeah we know the rack does nothing for the horse, but we dont care."
I know this is a running walk, but like I said, the differences are minimal and I believe you can collect in both, if not to the exact same degree...
TWH before training: http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/b...06Equistar.jpg
TWH after training for balance and collection: http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/b...m6919/jpeg.jpg
That horse is doing a lot more than just engaging the back end.
Now - because the main difference between the rack and the running walk is a shorter stride in the back, I don't believe it is possible to collect as much as it is in the running walk. But it is still possible to get more balance and collection at the rack than is usually done by people, and certainly enough to prevent back problems..
I have actually seen a picture of a racking moose - Unfortunately it was in a large picture frame so I couldn't reproduce it. But the rack is a natural response of hooved animals to rough or slippery terrain. It only causes problems when it's done too much - Which is true of everything.
People just need to realize that rackers are working just as hard as high-performance horses in other sports and treat them accordingly.
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