The theory of evolution suggests ‘survival of the fittest.’ Whoever is ready to bear the changes in the environment, develop to bring the needful for survivability, and use the traits to face the challenges is the race that flourishes. Horses went through all the adversities of safeguarding their species’ existence in terms of evolution. Meanwhile, in doing so, they turned out to be a good riding partner with fluent tactics to cross hurdles and surpass obstacles.
Gaited horses can perform a four-beat gait, which means any of one leg always touches the ground and all four legs move independently of the other.
But does this special trait of a gaited horse allow them to cross the hurdles by jumping? Can a gaited horse jump and impress everyone at the show jumping?
The article covers technical answers to your curiosity related to gaited horses.
Do All Horses Jump?
Before putting the knowledge about gaited horses forth, let’s know about the horse species.
Undoubtedly, jumping is a natural behavior for all horse breeds. They evolved to develop this peculiarity in the wild, where they often navigated obstacles like fallen trees and uneven terrain.
With time, humans developed this natural ability into a competitive sport called show jumping.
Horse breeds like Thoroughbreds and Warmblood are well-suited for jumping because of their conformation, strength, and agility.
However, there is diversity in horse breeds, and not all the breeds are equally active and suited for jumping.
Some horse breeds are naturally expert in jumping and gained the trait from their forefathers. In some, it is a matter of education and learning. With the optimum level of training and practice, any horse can perform the art of jumping an average hurdle height.
Can Gaited Horses Jump?
Gaited horses possess a unique gait apart from the 4 common gaits of the horses and this makes them a hub of attraction for riders and sports persons.
They are always curious to know if their horse is likely to jump the hurdle or not.
Naturally, the gaited horses are not good jumpers, but they can learn how to jump with proper training and practice.
Clearing an obstacle is like an elevated canter stride with great suspension. The stages of a jump for all horses encompass-
1. Approach (referring to the stride preceding the jump)
5. Regaining equilibrium/Recovery phase
Gaited horses prioritize comfort and smoothness over height and power, making some phases more challenging for them to perform. Gaited horses move in special ways like the running walk and rack, which requires a different body type.
Their conformation is different and their use differs from a traditional jumping horse breed. Gaited horses possess a more level topline and an anatomically different hindquarters structure, which affects their ability to engage in the explosive movements required for jumping.
In a nutshell, your gaited breed can jump in an efficient period of training and practice.
Q 1. Can a gaited horse learn to jump?
Ans- Yes. All horses possess a natural quality to cross obstacles and pass a variety of hurdles. While jumping quality isn’t inbuilt of gaited horses. So you can train your gaited horse to jump.
Q 2. Does jumping hurt the horse?
Ans- As with any other equestrian sport, jumping has the potential to hurt a horse. Jumping horses go through five steps: approach, take-off, flight, landing, and recovery.
Q 3- Why does my horse refuse to jump?
Ans- There can be several reasons for horses to refuse the jump. Any painful body condition, bad prior memory, lameness, etc. are the prominent reasons for refusal. Riders must inspect.
There is no problem with your horse. Gaited horses can jump too while being fluent in distinguishable gaits. Certain gaited breeds, like the Kentucky Mountain Saddle Horse, are good at lower-level jumping. For all gaited breeds, the jump will come with the right education, exercise, and practice.
Next time don’t question, watch your horse jump!