SHW332. GAITS - ENGLISH CLASSES. The following terminology shall apply:
SHW332.1 The Walk
SHW332.1.1 Poor Walk - This horse may have an uneven pace that lacks a four beat cadence or have a stop and start or robotic appearance that resembles a march. He may appear nervous and on the muscle or intimidated and fearful of going forward. He may anticipate or try to jog or break or he may appear dull, bored and listless dragging his legs and losing rhythm and flow.
SHW332.1.2 Average Walk - The horse will walk with a four beat gait, a balanced top line and a relaxed appearance. He may slow down some but still maintains forward motion. He keeps his body straight and has cadence and rhythm. All of this done correctly and with manners is average.
SHW332.1.3 Good Walk - This horse has a four beat, a balanced and comfortable top line, relaxed demeanor and appears bright and attentive. He maintains rhythm, flow and cadence and travels straight with light contact from the reins. He reaches from his shoulder and tracks up from behind with his reaching legs staying close to the ground. His feet enter the ground softly and maintain the same pace coming out of the ground as he has going into it.
SHW332.2 The Trot
SHW332.2.1 Extremely Poor Trot - This is a horse that cannot seem to do a two beat gait and appears very uncomfortable in his attempt to accomplish it. He does not have any flow or balance in his motion and appears uncomfortable to ride. He may be weak and sloppy in his hocks causing a loss of forward motion or use his hocks loosely or too far back causing a loss of cadence and rhythm. This also could be a horse that is misbehaving and is unwilling to perform the gait properly and therefore is not exhibiting acceptable motion.
SHW332.2.2 Very Poor Trot - This is a horse that may have an uneven cadence or be unwilling to go forward. He may not keep an even and balanced motion with a level top line. This horse may appear quick legged or seem to move in an up and down fashion or may be on the muscle looking nervous and tense or he may be on a loose and sloppy rein causing a lack of collection or to travel heavy on the forehand. He may cover the ground by taking more frequent steps instead of correctly increasing the length of the strides.
SHW332.2.3 Poor Trot - This is a horse with an average motion, exhibiting negative characteristics in their performance. For example, this horse may have an average trot gait but have a dull, unhappy or resentful expression.
SHW332.2.4 Correct or Average Trot - This horse has a two beat diagonal gait in which the left front and right hind foot touch the ground simultaneously and the right front and left hind do so also. This is the standard trot and a horse MUST have a true two beat gait to be "average" or any of the levels higher than "average". He has a level top line, with a relaxed appearance and pleasant expression, is shown on light contact and appears to go in a forward, obedient manner.
SHW332.2.5 Good Trot - This is a horse with an average motion, exhibiting positive characteristics in their performance. For example this horse may have an average trot gait but have excellent manners and expression with ears forward and appearing bright but relaxed and calm.
SHW332.2.6 Very Good Trot - This is a horse that appears very comfortable to ride, always has a consistent rhythmic cadenced two beat gait, is guiding well and has a relaxed and level top line. He has a good forward stride with balance and impulsion. Compared to the excellent horse he may not have as much stride as he may not have the degree of drive off the hindquarters or as much reach with his shoulders. He may bend his knees or flex his pasterns a little but he is still obviously soft, smooth and relaxed. He has an attentive and calm appearance with a pleasant expression and maintains light bit contact.
SHW332.2.7 Excellent Trot - This horse's motions seem effortless and efficient. He utilizes his top line by rounding his back and driving evenly off his hind legs creating impulsion and suspension while still remaining soft and controlled. He takes long ground covering steps with deliberate full strides and stays close to the ground. He reaches from his shoulder and is flat with his knee and extends his leg forward and seems to enter the ground toe first, even though it actually lands flat. His drive from his hocks allows his hind leg to step into or in front of where his front foot left the ground using full extension of the stride. This horse is balanced, has a level top line and has an even rhythm and cadence. He has excellent manners and great expression appearing relaxed and happy, soft in his poll, jaw and mouth and is shown on light contact.
SHW332.3 The Extended Trot
SHW332.3.1 Poor Extended Trot - This horse never appears to lengthen his stride but just trots faster. He may also appear to be jarring and rough to ride.
SHW332.3.2 Average Extended Trot - Is a horse who when asked to extend, moves up in his pace and still appears smooth to post on.
SH2332.3.3 Good Extended Trot - Is a horse who when asked to extend has an obvious lengthening in his stride with a slight increase in his pace making him more versatile. This horse is still smooth but appears to have more length with less effort being exerted.
SHW332.4 The Canter
SHW332.4.1 Extremely Poor Canter - This is a horse that does not have a true three beat gait. He has no cadence, no rhythm, and no balance, appears out of sync and obviously is not comfortable to ride. This may also be a horse that is misbehaving and is unwilling to perform the gait properly and therefore is not exhibiting acceptable motion.
SHW332.4.2 Very Poor Canter - This is a horse that may appear to have a three beat gait but lacks self carriage. He may be flat in that he has either not rounded his back, or failed to engage his hindquarters and therefore lacks drive, impulsion and suspension. He may be weak hocked causing him to pull himself forward with his front end or he may not be balancing off his hindquarters causing him to be heavy on his forehand. This horse may lack forward motion, smoothness of gait, or consistency of speed. He may not use his shoulders properly causing excessive knee action. He may be showing on loose reins and be strung out and lacking collection or be nervous and on the muscle causing a shortening or quickening of stride.
SW332.4.3 Poor Canter - This is a horse with an average motion, exhibiting negative characteristics in his performance. For example, this horse may have an average canter but be lacking in expression or lack consistency in his top line.
SHW332.4.4 Correct Or Average Canter - This horse has a true three beat gait with a level top line, and a comfortable motion. This is the standard canter and a horse MUST have a true three beat gait to be considered "average" or any of the levels higher than "average". He is shown on light contact and is responsive to his rider and has a relaxed appearance with a pleasant expression.
SHW332.4.5 Good Canter - This is a horse with an average motion, exhibiting positive characteristics in his performance. For example, this may be a horse with an average canter gait but has great expression, consistency and lovely manners.
SHW332.4.6 Very Good Canter - This is a horse that has more style, drive, impulsion and suspension than the average horse. He has a strong but smooth drive from behind. He may bend his knee a little or not have quite the length of stride of the excellent horse, yet he still has a level top line and relaxed appearance, is correct and appears to be comfortable to ride. He has a pleasant expression and is responsive to his rider and shown with light bit contact.
SHW332.4.7 Excellent Canter - This is a horse that utilizes his top line by rounding his back, engaging his hindquarters to drive his hind legs deep underneath him creating impulsion and suspension in his motion. He has a strong, deep, forward stride behind and an equally forward, flat-kneed reach with his front legs. He appears effortless and totally in control of his motion with great self carriage. He creates energy yet stays soft and responsive to his rider. His weight is distributed properly onto his hindquarters and he moves with long, slow strides. He gives the appearance that, if asked, he could easily lengthen his stride and correctly perform a hand gallop. This horse has a great degree of suspension, impulsion and elasticity to his movement. He has great expression with ears forward and is consistent, relaxed and confident with light bit contact.
SHW332.4.8 Hand Gallop - should be a definite lengthening of stride with noticeable difference in speed. Horses should be under control at all times and be able to pull-up (not a sliding stop). If asked to pull-up, after the halt, riders must relax the reins and the horse must stand quietly.