I have read through much of the recent TMH issue the last 2 days. My hat’s off to the magazine staff. There’s some excellent content this month (to be completely honest I could care less about the show write-ups, but the feature articles are great). I particularly enjoyed Stephen Kinney’s article on the trot. I can’t wait for the rest of the series.
After having read the article last night I continued to mull over some of the implications of the points he made. I really liked the distinction between trotting and galloping horse breeds. I’ve often noticed the difference in a desired shoulder on a Morgan in contrast to the shoulder you typically see in a QH or Thoroughbred. I can’t find the references now, but I believe I’ve noticed in the past that all these breeds refer to the correct shoulder being “well angulated.” Whenever I’ve tried to give meaning to that phrase by comparing pictures I get such different images it has only led to confusion as they’re obviously not all striving for the same thing. Shoulders on trotting horses are supposed to be more laid back. Shoulders on galloping horses are more vertical. Neither is correct or incorrect in and of itself, it just creates a different kind of horse.
In the current climate it’s impossible to read something about trotting and not extrapolate the consequences in the context of the Hunter division. Traditional hunt/sport horse breeds have been galloping breeds. Let’s face it, no one wants to take a horse through a jump course at the trot. As a result the horses chosen are going to have that “low sweeping trot” which has now become the standard on the open circuit. But as pointed out in the article that is not the most efficient way to move at this gait. Training methods and shoeing aside, we are taking an efficient trotting breed of horse and putting hunt tack on it. We’re going to have higher trotting horses because they are bred to be efficient (therefore high moving) at this gait.
I hope I didn’t steal any of Stephen’s content for articles that are coming up in this series. I really can’t wait to read what else is coming. I encourage all of you to pick of this month’s issue if you can. There are articles on Funquest horses, Westwold Dona Resa and Civil War Morgans, all well written and thoroughly enjoyable reads.