||The blue lines: the front leg is vertical, directly
under the body of the horse, at the point where it directly supports the
shoulder. (this picture is taken at a slight angle, but if you look at
the flex in the pastern and the flat placement of the hoof, you can see
that this hoof is at it's greatest weight bearing point in the step)
The hind leg on the same side is at the farthest back point of its flat
contact with the ground, just before the heel rises in the step.
This places the timing of the front and hind leg at just about even
in the gait cycle (if the hind hoof was coming way off the ground it would
be toward the diagonal, if it was farther forward it would be toward the
lateral.) If the two lines drawn here appeared to slant in the same
direction, the gait would be a stepping pace, and obviously lateral.
If the two lines slanted in opposite directions, the gait would be diagonal.
The red ovals: The opposite hind hoof is setting down (toe
is touching inside the shadow) -- this tells me the gait is not
To be exactly even in set down, this hoof should be flat on the ground and at the very beginning of the weight bearing/thrust phase of its ground contact in the step while the opposite front is half way through its contact phase.
The opposite front knee appears to be at its highest point off the ground. This hoof is the farthest from the ground of the four, and will not contact the ground again until the front that is currently in contact completes its heel/toe rotation forward. There will be a short moment when the toe of the lifting hoof is in contact with the ground as this "setting down" hoof touches the ground. This is a "running" weight transfer, not a leaping or "jumped" one, or a flat footed or "marched" one. If "leaped" the gait becomes closer to a rack, if "marched" a slower flat walk. There is a similar "running" transfer occurring in the hind hooves, one beginning the rise phase and the other begins the set down phase.
In the rack this sort of transfer is a leaped one, in the running walk, it is a running one.
It is hard to tell from a still what exactly is going to be the next phase of a gait, but as nearly as I can see from this one, this horse is doing a running walk, at some speed, with a slight variation to the lateral (the fact that the opposite hind is not in full contact at this point in the stride indicates this). Since a RW can have a little leeway in the real world, either a tad to the diagonal or a tad to the lateral, I consider this gait acceptable as one. Not lateral enough for a step pace, not "leaped" enough for a rack, not diagonal at all.
Pretty good for a mare whose gait vocabulary consisted of the word "pace" a year ago!
Thanks to Donna Mire for sending in the photo of Lady
to use in the critique!
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