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Bearkiller 08-18-2011 06:10 PM

Gaited horses
I know this is a stupid question but here it goes. What's a gaited horse? Exactly. Is it genetically reproduced or is it something taught? What are the advantages?

Celeste 08-18-2011 06:24 PM

A gaited horse is a horse that has the ability to do a four footed fast gait rather than a trot. A running walk of the Tennessee Walking Horse is a lateral gait. The foot fall pattern is left rear, left fore, right rear, right fore. The advantage is that the gait resembles that of a cadillac rather than a buckboard. I went to a Paso Fino show, and part of the show consisted of the rider drinking out of a champaign glass without spilling a drop. They are as smooth as silk. I grew up riding TWH's. I had some lameness issues with mine and that got me off into the Arabian thing. If I get any older, I may be going back. It is my understanding that rather than lameness being a breed issue, I just had bad luck.

It is genetic. Seems to be a straight recessive gene. If you breed a gaited horse to a non-gaited horse, the offspring is non-gaited. It may have a nice trot though.

Bearkiller 08-18-2011 06:30 PM

So how would one end up with a gaited mule? I've seen them advertised some. Are there gaited donkeys?

Celeste 08-18-2011 06:32 PM

Yes, there are some gaited donkeys. A gaited mule that is large enough to ride would be a great thing. It would probably cost an arm and a leg too.

Bearkiller 08-18-2011 06:57 PM

I thought maybe it was just a marketing ploy. Maybe I'll have to check into this one I saw for sale.

Celeste 08-18-2011 07:03 PM

Ride him. If he gaits, then buy him!

trailhorserider 08-18-2011 07:07 PM

I had a neighbor who bought a Missouri Fox Trotter and the former owners were breeding her to get mules. So I had always assumed the gait came from the mare side of the equation.

I also own a 1/2 Fox Trotter yearling. Daddy is a QH but Mom is my Fox Trotter mare and the man responsible for this union said that the foals usually take the gait from the mares. (He bred several Fox Trotters to his QH stallion). BUT, my foal only seems to walk-trot-canter, so I don't know if he will gait, probably not. But the guy who bred my mare says her 3 yr old foal by the same QH stallion is "pacey." So I personally don't know, but I thought sometimes the gait was passed on even if one parent wasn't gaited.

There are also "crop up" gaited horses in normally non-gaited breeds such as Morgans, Appaloosas and Saddlebreds I believe. So that probably would not be happening if both parents had to be gaited?

But honestly, I don't know. This is just a topic for discussion that I am interested in learning about too. :-P

To the original poster- I like to think of gaited horses as horses with extra "gears." Like most horses walk-trot-canter. Gaited horses often walk-trot-canter-pace, and have an intermediate, smooth gait as well, which can vary by breed. For instance, my Missouri Fox Trotter walks, flat walks, fox trots, paces, running walks, and canters. It's like I have all these extra gears that I don't always know what to do with. :lol:

It is genetically reproduced but it can take some training to get a horse "set," or reliable in it's intermediate, smooth gait. In other words, the horse is born with the ability, but it may take some practice to get the horse doing it steadily on command. That's the problem with my girl. She has all these gaits and I have trouble holding her in the gait I want. But it's no biggie because we just have a blast trail riding and I really don't care. I enjoy her just the way she is. :D

Celeste 08-18-2011 07:13 PM

If a non-gaited horse carried the recessive gene, it could produce gaited foals. I bred a gaited horse to a non-gaited stallion. The baby was not gaited, but she had the smoothest trot in the world. Awesome horse.

A lot of saddlebreds can rack. They show them as 5 gaited around here. Walk, slow rack, fast rack, trot, canter.

I may be wrong, but it is my understanding that the horse has to carry 2 recessive genes to do a natural "gait". (rack, running walk, fox trot) I would be interested to know if there is any research or data on this. My statements just come from experience, not well documented research.

trailhorserider 08-18-2011 07:49 PM


Originally Posted by Celeste (Post 1141882)

I may be wrong, but it is my understanding that the horse has to carry 2 recessive genes to do a natural "gait". (rack, running walk, fox trot) I would be interested to know if there is any research or data on this. My statements just come from experience, not well documented research.

Really interesting! I have never really read anything about the genetics of gaited horses, but I am fascinated by it.

My assumptions just come from my (very limited) personal experience. And what people have told me, and who knows how accurate that is. But I am really interested in the subject, since I am now the proud owner of a Missouri Fox Trotter and her 1/2 Fox Trotter offspring. :-)

I would love the baby to be gaited but I will not think any less of him if he is not. My only concern is his respect, training, and his staying sound. Things like color and gait are wayyyy down on the list of importance.

Celeste 08-18-2011 08:00 PM

Ok, cool. I just googled it. Nobody has done a study, but Cornell is working on it.

Brooks Equine Genetics Lab - Cornell University

I have been around gaited horses all my life, and I think that it is a straight recessive gene. But that is what I think, not evidence. I hope to follow this study.

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