After you're done watching this, please read on!
There are 5 steps to a horse's stride. Or... five steps to one step.
The first stage is:
- Initial Contact - Initiates pastern movement, heel hits the ground first.
- Impact - Defined by pastern descent
- Stance - Defined by load or force. Greatest amount of load that is on the dermis (dense inner layer of connective tissue) of the hoof.
- Breakover - Begins with pastern ascent.
- Flight - Utilizing the energy.
There is, however more to the stride. Here is how the structures of the hoof should come into contact with the ground during different gaits.
Slow Walk - Wherever. Toe first, heel first, it doesn't make a difference.
Working Walk - Heel hits first. Toe if the hoof is out of balance.
Trot - Heel comes into contact with the ground first.
Extended Trot - Definitely heel, horse should move freely.
Canter & Gallop - Undoubtedly, the heel should come into contact with the ground first. What is interesting, is that the lateral heel (outside of the hoof) will hit before the medial (inner) heel.
I bet, the next time you watch your horse walk, it will be much different!