3rd February 2012, 01:54 PM
Tell me more about them.
What is running walk?
What is the average height?
What is the temprement like (on the whole I know each horse is an individual)
3rd February 2012, 11:25 PM
Running walk is a 4-beat gait in between a pace and a trot. I always thought of it as a slow pace until I listened carefully to the footfalls (pacing is 2-beat). The footfalls go in this order:
1. Right hind
2. Right fore
3. Left hind
4. Left fore
Speed can vary and I think the gait has different names according to what speed you're going. It is extremely smooth and comfortable. A Standardbred who has been encouraged to pace will generally do this naturally, but it depends on the individual. Hasty is fairly unusual in that he doesn't tend to pace under saddle - in fact if you didn't know any better he could probably fool you into thinking he is a 'normal' horse for some weeks. Megan is the opposite extreme, and will always choose a running walk or pace - but can be persuaded to canter/gallop without too much trouble (trotting is still work in progress but I know she can do it beautifully when she wants to). And Vinny who has had much more work put into his riding will do pretty much anything on command (sometimes with a little persuasion): running walk, pace, walk, trot, canter, gallop and according to somebody who knows much more about gaited horses than me, he can also do a tolt/rack.
This is Vinny winning his first (and only) 'longer' race. He dead-heated with a lovely little Arab. They were racing every step of the way. I squeezed through the finish 'gate' just before her because I knew I had better brakes than she did! Only 10km which by your standards is nothing but he could have gone round again quite happily. He is doing a running walk here.
Average height is probably 14.2hh - 16hh (with most being 15hh - 15.2hh) but as small as 14hh and as big as 17hh is not unusual.
As for temperament, the majority of Standardbreds are hardworking and willing. (Hasty is a bit of an exception, being pretty lazy, but he is willing enough - he just isn't in any hurry.) Both Megan and Vinny (in his heyday), and the majority of other STBs I've known, just want to get on with it and do their jobs. They don't like to hang around much! More often than not they will be on the bridle for the whole ride, enjoying themselves and always ready to go faster when asked. You get some (normally ex racers) who are very strong and speed-crazy, but it's easy enough to relax them and get that out of them.
On the whole they are also more relaxed and sensible than your stereotypical Arab or TB. They are still hot-bloods, but they are a little bit less stressy than other kinds of racehorse. They take new things in their stride and enjoy learning. Most of them are intelligent and fast learners (Hasty, again, is the exception to this rule).
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