Performance by Gait

by Gail Berg


Here's a short list of potential (judged) performance classes/moments based on gait. Tables are split by tack-type. "N/A" or "no" means that gait is prohibited or not utilized in class.

Regardless of a horse's pose/gait/stance, it is rarely suitable for "every" event/class. This table should help the shower determine what event/classes may be appropriate based on the gait.

As for "standing", many classes/events do not judge a horse when standing, i.e., waiting for class to begin, waiting for judge to walk line before placing. Some model horse judges discount standing entries "waiting for class to begin". It is my recommendation to find a more suitable class/event.

Note, these tables are given as suggestions and may not be appropriate for all breeds. Check with the rules for the specific breed and/or show organization for clarification.

Western performance

Class Standing Walking Trotting/Jog Cantering/Lope Other gait
Western Pleasure yes yes yes, regular and extended Jog yes, regular and extended Lope Backing - as directed by judge
Western Horsemanship (QH) yes (stop) yes yes; jog, trot, extended trot lope, extended lope (except in walk/trot class) Backing; turn/pivot; spins, rollback, sidepass, leg yield, two pass; flying lead change, counter canter; simple lead change (change to slower gait then switch lead)
Western Natural Trail yes yes yes yes Backing; Side Step; Jumping (low obstacle)
Western Arena Trail yes yes yes yes Backing; Side Step; turn/rollback
Western Riding yes yes yes yes Backing; Flying Lead Change
Calf Roping yes; waiting behind barrier to begin * yes, but not judged no if needed to match animal's gait Gallop; Sliding stop; Backing
Breakaway Roping yes; waiting behind barrier to begin no no if needed to match animal's gait Gallop; Sliding stop
Team Roping yes, but not judged no no if needed to match animal's gait Gallop; Sliding stop, turn/rollback
Cutting Standing in herd waiting to select animal Walking in herd to select animal no no Lunge (side-to-side); sliding stop; Backing
Reining (also part of Working Cow Horse, using specifc patterns) Hesitation; Bridle/bit inspection (latter not judged) Walk to start of pattern (AQHA #4, 5, etc.) no yes Gallop; Sliding Stop; Spin; Rollback; Backing
Cala (QH Mexican-style reining)          
Team Penning Waiting to close gate behind last cow yes, as needed to match cow's gait yes, as needed to match cow's gait yes, as needed to match cow's gait Gallop; Sliding Stop; Rollback; Backing
Western Bareback yes yes yes yes Backing
Endurance yes yes yes yes  
Working Cow Horse - Cow Work Standing in herd waiting to select animal Walking in herd to select animal As needed to match cow's gait As needed to match cow's gait Rollbacks, gallop, backing, cutting, etc., as needed to match cow's gait and/or turn cow
Bull dogging no no no As needed to match cow's gait Gallop
Colas (tailing of the bull)          
Barrels no no no no Gallop; Lunge/turn
Pole Bending (Junior Stakes race) no no no no Gallop; Lunge/turn
Western Games yes; if specific game includes/allows it yes; if specific game includes/allows it yes; if specific game includes/allows it yes; if specific game includes/allows it. Gallop, backing, sliding, rollback, etc., as game includes/allows
Camp Drafting          
Versatility Ranch Horse - Ranch Riding   yes trot, extended trot lope, extended lope  
Versatility Ranch Horse - Ranch Trail open/closing of gate; dismount, unbridles, remounts; throwing rope at stationary steer ground covering walk working trot lope Back; pivot/turn (opening gate); picking up each foot
Versatility Ranch Horse - Ranch Cutting selecting cow from herd selecting cow from herd as needed to match cow's gait as needed to match cow's gait Pivot, rollback, lunge, etc., to match cow's gait
Walk Jog Western Horsemanship(AQHA Equestirans with Disabilities) yes yes jog   Backing
Walk Jog Trail Horse class (AQHA Equestirans with Disabilities)   yes jog   Backing

* Calf Roping: Standing also occurs when checking to see that calf remains tied after walking forward, but is not judged. Realize that most horses are "on their toes" in the starting box and few standing horses" look like their ready to take a run.

Versatility Ranch Horse - Working Ranch Horse: see "Working Cow Horse" for cow work; Roping events above (most like Team Roping); Reining (special pattern)

English performance

Class Standing Walking Trotting Cantering Other gait
English Pleasure At judge's request (on loose rein) yes yes yes Backing; Flying Lead Change; Hand Gallop
Hunter Under Saddle At judge's request (on loose rein) yes yes; regular and extended yes Hand Gallop
Huntseat Equitation on the Flat (QH) halt; mounting; dismount yes yes; sitting trot, extended trot, posting trot (change of diagonal) yes, except in walk/trot version Backing, sidepass; turn on forehand and/or haunches; leg yield; flying lead change; simple lead change (reduce to slower gait); hand gallop; counter canter
Walk Trot Huntseat equitation on the flat (AQHA Equestirans with Disabilities)   yes trot, extended trot no  
English Natural Trail   yes yes yes Backing; Side Step; Jumping
English Arena Trail   yes yes yes Backing; Jumping (low obstacle)
Walk Jog Trail Horse class (AQHA Equestirans with Disabilities)   yes jog no Backing
Handy Hunter yes yes yes yes Backing; Jumping
Hunter over Fences, Working Hunter, Hunter Hack   Hunter Hack WH: small circle to show soundness at end of jumping on loose rein; Hunter Hack yes, "Hunting Pace" Jumping; HH: Gallop, Backing at judge's discretion
Huntseat Equitation over Fences (QH) entering arena (transition to canter), unless entering gait specified entering arena (transition to canter), unless entering gait specified; exiting arena unless otherwise specified entering arena (transition to canter), unless entering gait specified; trot small circle at end yes Prohibited: counter canter, cross canter
Stadium Jumper no yes, but not judged yes yes Jumping; Lunge
Cross Country Waiting to start yes yes yes Jumping; Lunge
English Games yes yes yes yes  
Dressage Halt at X (standing square) yes Extended trot; Collected trot; Medium trot yes Half pass; Piaffe, Passage, Pirhouette, Backing, Flying Lead Change
English Bareback yes yes yes yes  
English Sidesaddle yes yes yes yes  
Polo       yes Gallop

Other (tack) performance

Class Standing Walking Trotting Cantering Other gait
Parade yes yes yes    
Saddleseat - gaited yes yes yes yes TWH Big Lick, ASB Rack, Peruvian Paso gaits, Paso Fino gaits, Icelandic Tolt, as specifc for breed
Saddleseat (Foxlane) - non gaited yes yes yes yes  
Arabian native costume       yes  
Native American costume yes yes yes yes  
Historic costume yes yes yes yes  
Vaulting     yes yes  
Draft Harness yes yes yes   Backing; Side Step
Fine Harness yes yes yes    
Pleasure Harness yes yes yes    
Pleasure Driving (QH) yes yes yes, park gait, road gait   Backing
Competitive Driving harness (Obstacle driving, marathon driving) yes yes yes yes  
Harness racing     yes   Pace; Gallop (chuck wagon racaing)
Showmanship at Halter (QH) yes yes yes, jog, trot, extended trot no Backing, turn/rollback

 


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