BREEDS of Gaited Horses  

There are many breeds of gaited horses throughout the world but only a few are found in Australasia.  Gaited breeds represented in Australasia include the Peruvian Horse, the Paso Fino, the Tennessee Walking Horse, the American Saddlebred, the Icelandic Horse, and the Missouri Foxtrotter.  Other breeds that are found in the Australasian region that may have some gaited individuals include the Appaloosa, the Standardbred, and the Morgan, and the Arabian.

The following provides a very brief description of each of theses breeds.  For more information, see the list of breed associations on the Links page.


Peruvian Horse


As the name suggests, this breed originated in Peru. Descended from the horses brought to South America by the Spanish in the 1500s, the breed is the result of breeding largely in isolation for four hundred years.  The gaits of the Peruvian Horse, the paso llano, and sombreandando are distinctive from other gaited breeds because of termino a rolling movement of the shoulders.


Paso Fino


Another South American breed, the Paso Fino, also developed from the Andalusian, Barb and gaited Jennet stock that accompanied the Spanish conquistadors.  The breed developed primarily in Colombia and Puerto Rico  and eventually found its was into the U.S. and other parts of the world.  The gaits of this breed are known as classic, or fino, fino,a movement performed at slow forward speed in full collection, paso corto, a medium speed done in medium to full collection, and paso largo, the fastest speed done in gait.


Rocky Mountain Horse, Kentucky Mountain Saddle Horse, Mountain Pleasure Horse


Several registries essentially describe one unique American horse, a gaited horse that has its origins in east-central United States, primarily in the Appalachian foothills of Kentucky.  Many of these horses are registered in more than one registry.  A horse bred for many uses -- riding, driving, etc -- the "saddle horse" is characterised by its easy "saddle gait", medium size, and mellow disposition.  The names of the slower and faster speeds of the gait varies depending on which registry is describing them. For example, Rockies are shown at a show walk (slower) and a Rocky Mountain pleasure gait (faster) at sanctioned shows.  Regardless of the names used to describe the gaits, these "Mountain Horses" can perform an even 4-beat gait.


Tennessee Walking Horse


Another gaited breed which was born in the U.S.,it was developed from Narragansett and Canadian Pacer, Standardbred, Thoroughbred, Morgan, and American Saddlebred stock as a horse capable traversing hilly Tennessee country in comfort. The gaits of the Tennessee Walking Horse are the flat walk and the running walk and are characterised by the "head nod" that accompanies the movement of the horse in gait.


American Saddlebred


Another born-in-America breed the American Saddlebred includes both gaited and non-gaited horses.  The breed was developed from crossing Narraganset Pacers and Thoroughbreds to produce an all-purpose riding horse with stamina. The gaits of the Saddbred are the rack and slow gait, but not all Saddlebreds are gaited.  Saddlebreds that can perform the rack and slow gait in addition to the walk, trot and canter are called 5-gaited, while those that simply trot, walk and canter are called 3-gaited.


Icelandic Horse


Arguably the oldest existing gaited breed in the world, the Icelandic Horse has been bred in isolation in Iceland for over 1000 years following a decree in the year 982 AD to prevent disease by banning the importation of horses.  Icelandics may be four-gaited (walk, trot, tolt and canter) or five-gaited (walk, trot, tolt, canter and flying pace).


Missouri Fox Trotting Horse


While other gaited breeds are more lateral in their movement at intermediate speeds, the Foxtrotter's gait, the fox trot, is diagonal. The movement is described as "walking with the front feet and trotting with the back feet".  The fox trot is a smooth gait, with the rear feet exhibiting sliding action.


Other breeds and types


The Standardbred is the most common breed in Australasia that has individuals that can gait. Typically these individuals are those that have a strong lateral (pacey) tendency.  Their gait can be a broken pace or a more even cadenced four-beat rack.


There are also breeds found in in the Australasian region that, while not typically considered gaited breeds, can include individuals that are gaited.  There are Appaloosas that can perform an intermediate lateral gait called the Indian Shuffle, although the percentage of these individuals is estimated to be no more than ten percent of the breed.  There are a number of Morgans who "singlefoot", an intermediate gait similar to the rack.  Recognition of these gaited Morgans led to the establishment in the U.S. of the Morgan Singlefooting Horse Association, a recognised service organisation of the American Morgan Horse Association.  Gaited Arabians can also be found in Australasia.


There are also crossbreds that are gaited.  In New Zealand there are horses known as amblers. Not a breed as such, these horses are generally stationbreds that are Standardbred crosses.


See the Links page for information about gaited horses, including breeders, breed associations and more!


If you are a breeder of gaited horses in Australia, New Zealand, and other Australasian countries, let us know and we'll add you to the list of breeders on our If you are a breeder of gaited horses in Australia, New Zealand, and other Australasian countries, let us know and we'll add you to the list of breeders on our Links page.

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