One woman. One horse. 48 states for Domestic Violence Awareness

Check back often for the latest updates and stories from Meredith and Apollo as they journey 10,000 miles on a four year ride around the USA.

Discovering Apollo's Extra Gait

With his Peruvian Paso mother, I have often been asked if he is also gaited. I always said no... until today!  For the more than two years that I've been training Apollo, I've noticed his tendency to slip into this odd gait while I had dubbed his "lazy trot" - faster than a walk, but not quite a trot.  But I didn't think anything of it - if anything, it was a fault to be corrected.

While working on a new training technique with him, where he circles around me while I stand perfectly still, I have had to rely on listening to his footbeats to tell if he's doing what he's supposed to be doing while out of my range of vision.  Imagine my delight when today I realized that the beat of that lazy trot is actually a slow fox trot!

For my non-horsey readers, let me explain why this is exciting news.  Ambling gaits such as the fox trot are as smooth to ride as a walk, but faster.  They allow the horse to cover more ground with minimal extra energy.  There are four standard gaits - walk, trot, canter/lope, and gallop - that all horses do, and all sorts of "extra gaits" that only some horses can do.  These are especially desirable for trail and long ride horses because it keeps both horse and rider comfortable during those long hours in the saddle.

So now I will be adding to the training program teaching Apollo to gait on command, and not just when he's feeling relaxed and doesn't want to expend the energy to trot.  Looking forward to a comfortable, smooth fox trot for the long road ahead!


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