What is Racking?

For riders, the rack is a very comfortable gear.

Racking is a horse riding specialized in the family of “slow steps”, four-beat steps that are between a step and a gallop at speed. Ambling gaits are notoriously very smooth for riders and also very energy efficient, and horses that demonstrate these beats are highly prized. A horse cannot be taught to climb; he must be born with the ability to perform the gait, although additional training can refine the rack.

Racking is a horse riding specialized in the family of “slow steps”, four-beat steps that are between a step and a gallop at speed.

Ambling steps have been cultivated on horses for centuries. In the Middle Ages these steps were extremely popular because people had to ride horses for great distances and wanted a comfortable and efficient ride. As other means of transport became available, horseback riding and other lateral movements became less desirable, and today, horses that can demonstrate such gaits are known as “walking horses”, reflecting the fact that they have a fifth step in addition to the classic, trot, gallop and gallop.

In racking, both legs on one side are moved together, making it a side gait. Some horses can run down at a speed approaching canter, although it is also possible to see slower racks on display. This walk is known to be very showy, as horses must arch their necks and pull their front legs up to climb well. Some breeds, such as the American Saddlebred and Tennessee Walking Horse, are known to be great performers; Racking Horses and Paso Finos are also able to move in the rack.

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For riders, the rack is a very comfortable gear. Many horse breeds are from the Americas, reflecting the fact that early settlers needed to be able to patrol large plots of land efficiently and comfortably, so they continued to breed horse horses after they disappeared in Europe. From an observer’s point of view, riders often appear almost motionless in the saddle, illustrating the smoothness of the gait in contrast to the often restless trot and gallop.

Riders must learn some special skills to ride this gear well. While horses may naturally demonstrate trepidation if they belong to a vine breed, the gait can often benefit from being smoothed and controlled. Riders must learn to guide their horses to kick and control them as they ride for the best effect. Many riders enjoy working with trainers when learning to ride marching horses, to ensure that the horse and rider do not develop bad habits.

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