Speed Racking Horses

Published: 04th September 2009
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The speed racking horse is a horse breed which has been around for many years but is just becoming popular among equestrians because the speed racker is an all around perfect horse in the hands of a skilled racking horse trainer. Good breeding combined with responsible training produces a are versatile horse with the speed of a standardbred and the smoothness of the racking or singlefoot horse. Contrary to some claims, a true Speed Racker cannot maintain speeds in excess of 30 mph. While Rackers have been clocked in excess of 30 mph, they were only momentary bursts of speed. If you find one that can maintain such high speeds, purchase it because you will become a millionaire on the standard bred track. A well bred speed racker should have a good level mind and be willing to walk, slow gait and fast gait when asked.



It should be understood that there are four basic speed gaits, namely the trot, the pace, the gallop and the rack.





  • The Trot is a 2 beat, diagonal gait in which opposing front and back feet hit the ground not quite simultaneously and averages about 8 mph but has been clocked as fast as 32.43 mph by Pineship.


  •  The Pace is a lateral 2 beat gait in which both feet on the same side of the horse hit the ground at precisely the same moment. The pace however is an uncomfortable gait at high speeds because the rider bounces from side to side. If you've ever ridden a camel, you've experienced a pace. The record pace horse is Dan Patch who was clocked at 33.89 mph pulling a sulky cart


  • The Gallop is a 4 beat gait in which the 2 rear feet hit the ground first and then the 2 front feet hit, all at different times. The gallop is the fastest gait of a horse averaging about 25-30 miles per hour and topping out at about 55 miles per hour. This is the classic racehorse gait.


  • The Rack or the Tolt is an even 4 beat gait where the foot falls are left hind, left fore, right hind, right fore which softens the lateral movement. A good speed racker is able to gait at 25 to 28 MPH and smooth enough to carry a glass of water in your hand without spilling a drop.




The Speed Racker is actually a cross between a Standardbred and a Racking, Paso, or Walking horse. This is a difficult mix to breed because the breeder must be careful not to get a colt with too much pace or the horse will cross over to a pace rather than maintain the smooth four beat rack that causes a smooth movement at all speeds. While size can vary, a sturdy build with refined confirmation is desirable. A well bred Speed Racker is not a Standardbred off the track but a distinct breed and unusually docile horse with a very large backend, a naturally high stepping front end, exceptional stamina and the innate ability to metabolize oxygen better than all other gaited breeds.



Attempts to enhance the Speed Racker's gait produces the undesirable effect of slowing the horse down. Further, Speed Racking horses hit the ground with such force that they must always be warmed up and cooled down properly to get the blood flowing through the legs properly before you call on them for speed. Failure to do so can result in the horse bowing a tendon or cracking the hoof to the quick (a quarter crack) which can temporarily or permanently compromise the horse's speed.



In 2008, a new association, The American Gaited Endurance Horse Association, was created to differentiate the true 4 beat Speed Racker from speed pacing horses. No Speed Racking Horse has exemplified the beauty of this exceptional breed better than "The Gravedigger" which has become known as the most perfect all around horse. The Gravedigger's stellar movement has gained worldwide renown when his youtube racking horse video went viral and even drew the attention of celebrities attempting to purchase the horse but it's owner refused as the horse is irreplaceable. While there are a handful of exceptional Speed Racking stallions available today, few can match the panache of the Gravedigger's show gait and the docility of his trail gait.



This article has explained the various gaits of a speed horse and the importance of good breeding and qualified, ethical training in producing a smooth gaited horse breed with exceptional endurance suitable for speed "and trail riding as well as the showring. For more information about Speed Racking horses or to meet "The Gravedigger", visit Spotted Haven Walking Horse Farm.





Heather McKeehan

Spotted Haven Walking Horse Farm

"Were Dreams Do Come True"

Proud Home of The GraveDigger, Legally Lethal, The Full Monty, Pusher Lite, and Incredible Wolf

www.spottedhaven.com

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