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Examples of a good mover

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  • Examples of a good mover

    I have a few questions about a horse's movement.

    Do hunters and dressage/eventers look for different movement in a horse?

    A lot of times I get the TBs right off the track, and I have a hard time telling if they will have nice movement since they still have their choppy track movement. How can you tell? Is it easier to tell at a trot? Canter? Or catch them while they are flaunting around the pasture? So far, I have gotten lucky and all my guys have had decent movement.

    Once the horse has settled from the track and can move straight and forward, I am okay at looking at a horses trot to see if they are a decent mover, but terrible at seeing a really nice canter, which I realize is more important since it is the hardest to improve.

    Does anyone have any video examples of what an ideal trot, or canter look like?

    Thanks for any information!

  • #2
    Traditionally, hunters look for horses that move closely to the ground and have less knee/hock articulation (what they call "flat kneed"), while dressage/event people want more suspension.

    (Though, with warmbloods becoming so popular in the hunter ring, the hunter ideal is becoming more like the dressage ideal).

    I agree it's hard to judge the trot on the track. In terms of judging overall athleticism, I think at the track I get the most info from the walk, followed by the canter/gallop if I get to see it, and hope for the trot to improve over time.

    FWIW, last fall I saw a gorgeous, well bred, well put together, dirt cheap 3 yo at the track that was possibly the worst mover I've ever seen. Couldn't figure it out--nothing about the conformation predicted it, but he was just a disaster once he started moving. I wonder if he will grow out of it--it would be so interesting to see what he looks like at 5, I just decided not to take the chance myself.

    ETA: Good mover is also kind of subjective, but in terms of "made" event horses I think Courageous Comet is a great mover--I'm sure he's out there on youtube or the Rolex replays.


    • #3

      This is nick right off the track for the most part...This horse ended up being a wonderful mover when he got off his forehand.

      My other one (Lost deputy on the same site) Has a phenomenal canter, a spectacular jump and an iffy trot at best... makes up for it with his jump


      • #4
        You cant judge a "good mover" but one gait. Some horses have great trots, and crappy canters. Some have great walks, and crappy trots. Though usually a good walker translates to a good canter, but sometimes not.

        For a horse going over fences, canter is the most important gait to look at. For the upper levels of dressage of course they want 3 excellent gaits, but if one is going to sacrifice one, it will be the trot. The trot is the easiest to improve, and many horses who start out with average trots can turn out to have quite nice trots with conditioning and work. But you are kind of stuck with the walk and canter they are born with.

        Hunters like a long, rhythmic stride, with flat knees and not a lot of action. Dressagers like their gaits more "up" with lots of suspension and reach. Eventers kind of take what they can get. There is no standard for an event horse's type of movement, they arent judged like a hack class in hunters nor do they have to perform the power movements of GP dressage. You see a huge variety from huntery movers to more lofty dressage type movers. If the horse has all the other important qualities in an event horse, people dont get picky about whether they trot with flat knees or action.