Gait issue with gelding

Joined
12 April 2021
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9
I may have posted this in the wrong section but I think this is more a question than an actual vet issue. So here goes. . .

My husband bought his first horse, a sorrel gelding. They get along great but we don’t know the exact breeding or lifelong history of the gelding. He is obviously an Arabian but could have another breed mixed in as well.

I handle the majority of the daily care for our horses and when out in pasture I notice something odd about the gelding when walking. It appears at a walk he occasionally “racks” like a TWH or a standardbred. I’ve managed to record him doing this twice though I’ve seen him “rack” more often than that but only ever at a walk. We were not sold a gaited horse and we’ve w/t/c him since purchase and he is not a gaited horse. So I’m curious as to why he does this.

I sent the video to a friend bc I thought I was going crazy and they warned me it was a sign of lameness. I don’t agree that it’s a lameness issue because he doesn’t appear to be in any pain: he has a good appetite, good work ethic, and is a very happy/active horse in the pasture. But I also have never heard of a horse doing this.

Has anyone else ever owned or known a horse that would do this?
 
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This area of the forum is very quiet. If you re-post your question in 'The Tack Room' you should get more views and hopefully some helpful replies.

Do you have a video of how he moves?
 

Widgeon

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If it's a genuine lateral gait I'd be surprised if it's a sign of lameness. I've never seen a lame horse suddenly find the ability to gait?

I owned a gaited horse but he was Icelandic, so it was hardly a surprise. I'd guess that it's more likely that your horse has something gaited in his breeding, hence the occasional lateral gait. But hopefully someone will be along who knows more than I do about how lateral gaits are inherited, and how likely it is that a partbred would have them.

When you say "he is not a gaited horse" - I'm not sure this is necessarily true - if he is gaited, just because he usually chooses trot doesn't mean he doesn't have the ability to do a lateral gait. Some Icelandics prefer to trot, but that doesn't mean they can't tolt, just that it's not their preferred gait. So maybe this is a trick he just pulls out every so often in the field. I wouldn't worry about it though? So long as you're happy he's not lame and he doesn't switch between gaits when ridden (which would feel weird) is it a problem?
 

Gloi

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8 May 2012
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6,762
I may have posted this in the wrong section but I think this is more a question than an actual vet issue. So here goes. . .

My husband bought his first horse, a sorrel gelding. They get along great but we don’t know the exact breeding or lifelong history of the gelding. He is obviously an Arabian but could have another breed mixed in as well.

I handle the majority of the daily care for our horses and when out in pasture I notice something odd about the gelding when walking. It appears at a walk he occasionally “racks” like a TWH or a standardbred. I’ve managed to record him doing this twice though I’ve seen him “rack” more often than that but only ever at a walk. We were not sold a gaited horse and we’ve w/t/c him since purchase and he is not a gaited horse. So I’m curious as to why he does this.

I sent the video to a friend bc I thought I was going crazy and they warned me it was a sign of lameness. I don’t agree that it’s a lameness issue because he doesn’t appear to be in any pain: he has a good appetite, good work ethic, and is a very happy/active horse in the pasture. But I also have never heard of a horse doing this.

Has anyone else ever owned or known a horse that would do this?
Sounds like he most likely is a gaited horse. It doesn't stop him being able to w/t/c . He might have been taught not to rack under saddle or finds it easier not to. You can do a genetic test if you want proof of gaited genes. Mine is part bred Icelandic and he has one copy of the gaited gene and is five gaited
 
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Joined
12 April 2021
Messages
9
If it's a genuine lateral gait I'd be surprised if it's a sign of lameness. I've never seen a lame horse suddenly find the ability to gait?

I owned a gaited horse but he was Icelandic, so it was hardly a surprise. I'd guess that it's more likely that your horse has something gaited in his breeding, hence the occasional lateral gait. But hopefully someone will be along who knows more than I do about how lateral gaits are inherited, and how likely it is that a partbred would have them.

When you say "he is not a gaited horse" - I'm not sure this is necessarily true - if he is gaited, just because he usually chooses trot doesn't mean he doesn't have the ability to do a lateral gait.I wouldn't worry about it though? So long as you're happy he's not lame and he doesn't switch between gaits when ridden (which would feel weird) is it a problem?
That’s very interesting! I haven’t been around any gaited horses since I was a teenager and I never saw any of those horses “choose”.

I even have a purebred TWH mare that paces everywhere, I’ve never seen her w/t and I don’t think she can???

Gaited horses and Arabians are VERY VERY rare where I live/where this gelding hails from (it’s all paints and QHs) so no one really knows or has experience. We’re all just speculating about him.

I guess it’s not a problem if this gelding turns out to be gaited. If he is we got the deal of the century! That would be amazing! It’s just the chances of that are so slim I don’t want to get my hopes up.
 
Joined
12 April 2021
Messages
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Sounds like he most likely is a gaited horse. It doesn't stop him being able to w/t/c . He might have been taught not to rack under saddle or finds it easier not to. You can do a genetic test if you want proof of gaited genes. Mine is part bred Icelandic and he has one copy of the gaited gene and is five gaited
Is there a genetic testing place you would recommend?
 

Gloi

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Is there a genetic testing place you would recommend?
Well I had mine done with Etalon. I wanted to know before I started training him. That was a few years ago now so there will be others do it now. You need one that tests for DMRT3.
I only see mine in any lateral gaits in the field if he is running downhill or sometimes when he is slowing from canter but under saddle I can get all gaits. My previous Icelandic was four gaited and never showed gaits loose but had a powerful tolt when ridden.
 
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Skib

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I am no expert but some Russian horses are gaited and in Anna Karenina Tolstoy uses different words for what we might think of a trot and tolt. In the early Tudor period there were still native gaited horses bought and sold in England.
 
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