Poetry in Motion

“I like his action”.

This is a common phrase used by horse folks. It refers to the way a horse moves in his gaits. Every horses’ action is different, not only because of their breed but many other factors add into the way they move. Size of the horse, length of the pastern, slope of the shoulder, breed of the animal, weight of their shoes, and I am sure much more than I even know about have an influence on the way a horse moves.

One interesting thing I have noticed over all my time spent with other horse folks is that we also watch and appreciate the way a dog moves, even though the gaits are different. Dogs leap in their running gaits. Horses do not. Dogs have also been in my life for as long as my memory will go, but I have not considered myself a dog person as much as horse.

They are both social critters that enjoy human interaction. In many ways they train similarly too: Praise and Reward; Consistency and Persistency; the human touch, and pleasant voices. The words do not necessarily need to be pleasant, just the tone of voice. So, the next time you get mad at your dog or horse, call them anything you feel like at the time, just use a pleasant tone of voice. This is sure to make you laugh and ease the tension! Then it would probably be wise to stop for the day, or at least for that training session time. Never call your dog or horse ugly, derogatory names in an ugly tone of voice. That is downright rude!

Anyway, back to ‘action’. Here on our farm we have two different breeds of horses. One has Quarter horse in her, the other is a Tennessee Walking Horse. They have very distinct and beautiful gaits between the two of them. High Hope, our part Quarter horse, is a three-gaited horse. Which means she walks, trots, and gallops.

Duke, our Tennessee Walking horse, is what is called ‘a gaited-horse’. This means he has five gaits. He walks, flat walks, trots, paces, and gallops. Gaited horses are known though for their smooth flat walk (it has several other names). This means his ‘action’ looks much different to the observer than High Hope.

Do not worry, I am not giving you a quiz on the gaits of horses. Though I do teach my riding students the differences. But, of course, they can tell the difference the moment they ride. The reason for this blog was to post some nice action shots I have taken of the horses and dogs. It is like poetry in motion watching a four-legged animal move. I try to catch the cats on film too. Now that is a challenge for me.

Poetry has a beat to it. Four legged animals do too. It is lovely to hear and exciting to watch. If you are quiet enough you may even hear the beats in some of these photos…