Thursday, May 27, 2010

Style of Strides, Efficiency of Movement

I like to follow a mish-mash of blogs on the internet. I always enjoy seeing how other people view events and happenings in the equine world. So I came across this blog on horse racing which had written about a great race horse named General Quarters. General Quarters (GQ) ran in last year's Kentucky Derby and was the feel good story of the race. He's trained by a retired school principle who has GQ as his only horse.

GQ ran in the big turf race on Derby day this year and won. I shot that race. When I downloaded the photos I noticed that GQ has a peculiar action with his front legs, in particular his front right. GQ is the gray in the following photos:

He seems to have a paddling action to me. So my amateur racing opinion is that he has an easier time running on turf/synthetics because he has a swimmer-like action in his stride. Maybe that has nothing to do with anything but it just seems like he is not digging in as deep as other horses would with their straighter down into the surface style.

That of course got me to thinking about other styles of movement from various gaited horses and how those gaits had a purpose and an efficiency of movement for that purpose (Tennessee Walking Horses, Paso Finos, etc.).

GQ may not be a pretty runner but he sure can run fast!


  1. My first horse, a QH, winged, but he tracked straight. His foot might have done all kinds of aerial maneuvers, but it landed where it was supposed to once it came in contact with the ground.

    I too am a fan of General Quarters. I love "stories" like that ;o)

  2. Oops -- sent too early. ;o)

    I also love the running style where the horse is really stretched out flat, REACHING for the next bit of ground. Offhand, cannot remember which horse/picture/race that strikes me that way, but I'll look back over your race pictures (because I know it was a shot you snapped) and do a THIRD post with the name and occasion.

  3. Transylvania race at Keeneland, Week 2, Eibar Coa's ride, with the comment on the determination on his face ;o)