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As farriers we spend a lot of time discussing subjects like the weight-bearing phase, breakover, gait abnormalities and normal performance with other farriers, owners and veterinarians. But what do we really understand about those things?
From these terms, weight-bearing is simplest, when the horse stands or moves on its feet.
Then there is breakover. As farriers, we think we know a lot about breakover, as it has been pounded into our vocabulary. I question whether we really understand what it is.
Then we might be able to discuss something about gait abnormalities, but how many of us actually have a handle on the subtle differences between gaits of horses. Mississippi State University researcher Molly Nicodemus earned her PhD on the temporal parameter differences in racking, walking and gaited horses. Definitions are fine, but they lull us into the rut that they are all many of us need to know about them.
Timing is essential to understanding gaits. It can be measured in total time of the stride sequence. It can be a time measurement of weight bearing, suspension or swing phase. It can also be a factor in determining advanced placement or advanced liftoff. Timing can be differentiated by your ear…