Trot

    The trot is the most reliable, practical and useful gait when it comes to a fast transport over longer distances, either under saddle or in the carriage.

(1)       (2)

(2)       (1) 

The numeric sequence
in the trot.

A moment in the air
when no legs are supporting the horse, during roomy and impulsion-full trot.

The high action of the
Kladrubian
the ultimate carriage horse

The American Trotter,
Standardbred. 
The ultimate and world's 
fastest trotting horse.

 

    The push-off by the hind legs is stronger, more intense and strenuous than in the walk. The legs are interchanging in the following order: the right hind simultaneously with the left front, then the left hind simultaneously with the right front, hence we hear two beats. In-between the two beats is a certain time interval; one part of the interval is a period when the horse is supported by two diagonal legs, and the second part is when the whole body is above the ground without being supported by the legs (especially in full trot or passage).

    The greater speeds in trot are caused by a quicker leg interchange generated by the hind legs. Hence, we are looking in a good trotting horse for well-developed hindquarters, with strong and long muscles (biceps), able to execute a strong lift and motion forward. The trot also requires a greater extension of the neck and back muscles.

    According to the push-off energy and the stepping out and landing of the front limbs we are recognizing the short trot, the medium trot and the full trot.

    According to the style how high the horse bends his “front knee” (carpus) and how he throws out his front shin and hoof, we are talking about a trotting action: high, with high bent knee (e.g. the Kladrubian), floating, with flat and roomy stepping out of the front leg caused by an energetic pushing-off by the diagonal hind leg (e.g. the Arabian).

    The trot is a gait in which we can judge the best with our eyes the correct functions of individual limbs (if the horse is lame etc.); therefore it is customary to present horses, at the sales or by the seller, in trot on a lead. Besides evaluating the soundness, we are observing the horse from the side for the impulsion, roominess, rhythm and height of action, and from behind for the inline (straight) landing and moving of the hind and front legs alike.

    The desirable trot is clean, impulsion-full, and roomy with as much as possible cadence, which means not only with regular but also with as much as possible longer intervals in the air (suspension).

    The speed in the trot depends on the length of stepping out of individual front legs and on the quickness of their interchange. The length between the individual supportive legs and by full function of all limbs is 2,20 to 3,30 meters, often even longer. The medium trot speed is about 4 meters per second, 240 meters per minute, about 1 km in four minutes, 15 km in one hour, hence twice the speed of walk. Well-conditioned carriage horses reach 375 m per minute and well-trained trotting horses do the mile well below two minutes.

    If you have never seen a trotting race, you should go, it is something to watch and almost unbelievable that horses can trot as fast as a steeplechase horse runs in the race.

Translated by Ludvik K Stanek a.k.a Lee Stanek from the 1953 Special Zoo-Technique - Breeding of Horses
Published in 1953 by the Czechoslovakian Academy of Agricultural Science and certified by the Ministry of Agriculture.
Written by: MVDr Ludvik Ambroz, Frabtisek Bilek, MVDr Karel Blazek, Ing. Jaromir Dusek, Ing. Karel Hartman, Hanus Keil, pro. MVDr Emanuel Kral, Karel Kloubek, Ing. Dr. Frantisek Lerche, Ing. Dr Vaclav Michal, Ing. Dr Zdenek Munki, Ing. Vladimir Mueller, MVDr Julius Penicka, pro. MVDr Emil Pribyl, MVDr Lev Richter, prof. Ing. Dr Josef Rechta, MVDr Karel Sejkora and Ing. Dr Jindrich Steinitz.