Part VIII The Rack
© Beverly Whittington 2003
|How to Ride the Rack
The Rack is often called also called the single-foot, for when it's performed properly there's lots of animation and only one foot on the ground at certain points of the footfalls. This means the Racking Horse is supporting his weight on one leg at a time, and flexing up and down at the lumbar-sacral junction. Most all symmetrical gaits have the same sequence, or order of footfall. What makes them vary is the timing of footfall, the pick up and the support sequence.
A correctly performed rack a modified stepping pace, the hooves on the same side (lateral hooves) are lifted almost simultaneously but are set down separately, with the hind hitting the ground first and a significant interval between the set down of the hind and fore. The delay in the set down of the fore hoof is caused by the high action of the front legs, The beat is an even 1-2-3-4. In the rack the horse is supported first by two, then by one hoof at a time. In the gait of the rack there is a moment when all the horses weight is supported by first one hind hoof, then by one front hoof. This rack is a gait that is performed with some speed, so it can be difficult to see the footfall in the horse perfuming the gait. The gait is called the "hreina tolt" in Icelandic horses and a "largo" in Paso Fino.
To begin let's look at the horse and rider configuration.
When moving the horse into the rack it is important that you ask ask for him to be collected first in the flat walk and then ask for the rack. You do not want to ask for the flexing of the neck after you go to the rack as it tends to pull the horse into a stiff straight neck. If you ask for the raised neck in a collected walk, the horse will be more likely to give you a nice rounded, flexed neck.
The horse's center of gravity should be to the rear. The Racking horse
is often quite fast, pushing a horse too fast will result in loss of gait.
It is important that you do not push the horse past a speed where he can
stay rhythmic and consistent in his gait.
The horse who has already been trained to perform a correct rack will increase the speed at which his legs move. You should hear a 1-2-3-4 cadence to the footfalls.
Special Considerations of the Rack
Any horse requested to carry himself hollow or ventroflexed in his gait
needs to develop the Splenius (behind the poll to beginning of the Trapezius)
and Brachiocephalicus (starts at base of the skull behind the jaw to below
the point of shoulder to the humerus) muscle in the neck to prevent bracing
against the bit which causes the underside of the neck gets large while
the muscles along the top side of the neck are under-developed.
Always make sure you are sitting in a balanced seat, with even pressure
on each seat bone. It is important that you allow your body to move with
the horse, keeping your lower leg slightly in front of your hip. Use your
seat to "push" him to the bridle while holding your hands up off of his
withers while encouraging him to go forward.
|Part I||Part II||Part III|
|Part IV||Part V||Part VI The Flat Walk|
|Part VII The Fox Trot||Part VIII The Rack|
To Be Continued...
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How to Ride Your Gaited Horse (Paperback)
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