How Can You Tell If a Horse Is Gaited?

If you have recently come across gaited horses and are wondering what gaited horses should and shouldn’t like, don’t worry. In this article, I will help you know about horse gaiting and, more specifically, how you can tell if a horse is gaited?

Gaited horses can be identified by their smooth four-beat gait. A quick way of telling if the horse is gaited is by looking at their feet. If he lands each limb autonomously on the ground while one leg touching base constantly, he is gaited horse. Moreover, a gaited horse never levitates in the air.

What is a gaited horse?

The gaited horse is a horse breed that can trot or pace in addition to the traditional walk, trot, and gallop. The term gaited refers to an ambling gait that has many variations.

Some horses have natural gaits, while others are trained to produce these gaits by being specially conditioned or shod.

Summing up in simple words, a gaited horse walks in a pattern that he lands on each leg freely while contacting one leg with the ground continuously. The gaited motion offers more stamina with a stable move to the horse, perfect for riding with the best saddle for trail riding.

Some breeds of horses are more likely than others to perform a variety of gaits, depending on what you want your horse for.

For instance, most Tennessee Walking Horses are known as working farm horses rather than show horses because they are bred specifically for their ability to do many kinds of work including, riding, driving draft animals, and pulling wagons.

What does a gaited horse look like?

In the world of horses, you will frequently bump into the term gaited and non-gaited horses.

For a beginner, it is perplexing to distinguish between both. More precisely, what does a gaited horse look like?

At first glance, it can be mystifying to recognize a gaited horse. But if you look keenly at the walking style, you can effortlessly spot the modification.

The walking pattern of a gaited horse is unique. The horse hit its legs independently on the ground. The ambling style gaited horse follows is as under;

Right front followed by right hind. Left front followed by left hind or vice versa. Moreover, the hind limbs will hit the ground first before the front ones.

What Are The Characteristics Of a Gaited Horses?

So far, we are clear with what gaited horses are and how to recognize them. But do you know what the benefits of gaited horses are? Specifically, what are gaited horses used for? Following are the core characteristics of gaited horses;

Gentle Attitude

The heart-winning charm of gaited horses is they have a gentle attitude. They agree and mingle with their owners effortlessly. Besides that, gaited horses can have high-sensing power.

Their gentle behavior makes it easy for beginners to handle them. However, every animal is different from the other.

Easy to Ride

If you are polishing your horse riding skills, then go with the gaited horses. Their less bouncy and smooth walk is easy to handle and ride on. Limbs hitting the ground in a step-by-step manner offer stable balance and equitation on the horse.

Perfect Option For long Distance Riding

Either you want to ride 20 or 25 miles a day, rest assured because a gaited horse will not get tired after a few miles.

The stable walk preserves and offers them more energy. The naturally gaited horses are the best companion for long distances.

What is the difference between a gaited horse and a normal one?

Most horse owners, when buying horses, can’t distinguish between one. To be honest, gaited horse vs. non-gaited is one of the ongoing debates.

Gaited horses are different from regular horses in that they have more than one gait. They can trot or pace in addition to walking at slow speeds and running at fast speeds.

By Looks

One of the visible differences you can note between gaited and non-gaited horses is the looks. Gaited horses are calm by looks.

They never wiggle around, making it hard for the owner to handle them. On the flip side of the coin, a non-gaited horse takes time interacting with the owner.


Gaited horse ambles in a free manner, while the non-gaited horse ambles in a diagonal paring manner. Gaited horse one limb touches the ground constantly, while the non-gaited horse does not follow this.

Trail Riding

Ride on non-gaited horses is the jerkiest, while gaited horse makes sure to give you the smoothest and calming ride you ever wanted.

What are gaited horses used for?

Gaited horses are used for trail riding, more specifically, long-distance riding. Gaited horses have transcendent endurance and stamina, which make them the best compatible for trail riding.

The slow-pace walk with one leg continuously on the ground allows the gaited horse to preserve his energy. About how many miles a gaited horse can ride per day. It can be somewhere between 20-35 miles.

However, increasing the pace can decrease the distance and drain the horse’s energy swiftly. Besides that, riding long distances at a high speed for consecutive days can cause health problems.

What is a naturally gaited horse?

Natural gaits or commonly known as saddle gaits naturally embrace the quality of gaiting. These horses have been a widely held shipping approach since the late 1800s.

The naturally gaited horses pass the trait from one generation to another via genes. By looks, they are easy to handle, calm, and have high stamina.

The walk of a gaited horse is faster than the average walk of a non-gaited horse but somehow slower than the cantering. The popular naturally ambling gaits breeds include;

  • Tennessee Walking Horse
  • American Saddlebred
  • Icelandic Horse
  • Paso Fino
  • Appaloosa
  • Rocky Mountain Horse
  • Peruvian Paso
  • Nordestino
  • Walkaloosa
  • Morgan Horse
  • Racking Horse
  • Spotted Saddle Horse

How do I get my gaited horse to gait?

Now you are getting to the point. Is it possible to gait horses as the naturally gaited horses are pretty expensive? Well, yes, you can. Following a proper training program, you can gait your horse effortlessly.

Promote Him For an Active Walk

Your horse gaiting training starts from promoting him an active walk. Let him walk as fast he wants but do not let him jump. Gaited horses do not levitate in the air. Keep practicing on the speed without changing gaits.

Maintain the Pace

This practice may sound easy peasy, but your horse will alter the pace for sure. At some points, the horse will increase its speed, then drop instantaneously. Hold him up with a bridle cut while your legs, directing for a frontward drive to avoid this.

Troubleshooting Tips

The horse will wiggle against the force holding him by the rein cut. To handle this, release the rein lightly without letting him change the gaits.r

Continue the Riding Sessions

Keep repeating the process unless you see a stable pace during the walk. The training will take a few months or may less: depends on the learning capabilities of the horse.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Are gaited horses smoother to ride?

Yes, gaited horses are super smooth and easy to ride on. Due to less jerky ride, they are preferred frequently by beginners and people having joints or back.

Are gaited horses suitable for trail riding?

If you are beginning in the horse riding field, a gaited horse can be the picture-perfect match for you. However, if you are progressing your trail riding, a gaited horse might not be the ideal match for you.

Do gaited horses need special saddles?

Gaited horses do not need special saddles, but they do need the best saddle for trail riding. Even better if you consider the gaited saddle.


Summing up! With this content, I hope you are clear with what gaited horses are & how you can tell if a horse is gaited?

One way to tell if a horse is gaited is by looking at its hooves. If they have an odd shape like that of a Tennessee Walker or Missouri Fox Trotter then it’s probably gaited!

About horse gaiting training mentioned above, make sure to follow as such. You and your horse will take time molding accordingly.

Besides that, what kind of rider you are will also affect the gaiting training. Make yourself a stable rider to train your horse smoothly.