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Doug Steele, Vice Provost & Director
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Equine Sciences Extension Program

Horse Locomotion - Trot

locomotion

Table of Contents

Characteristics

One diagonal pair of legs are raised before other pair touches ground — suspension of all feet. Period of suspension — longest at the extended trot. Leg sequence unchanged at ordinary, collected, or extended trot. Average speed 7-10 mph Extended 10-30 mph. Believed to be a dominant genetic trait over pacing. Is a natural gait.

Foot sequence

  • left front/right hind (left diagonal) — 1st beat
  • right front/left hind (right diagonal) — 2nd beat

Marker 1 — A 2-beat, diagonal gait

trot3

Marker 2 = Diagonal base of support

trot2

Extremes

  • Standardbred — has rapid, long round-covering extended trot; used for harness racing; have a much longer period of suspension.
  • Hackney — shorter stride; collected, animated trot; higher action and greater flexion of joints with no period of suspension.