Horse Sense: 2. How Does a Horse Travel?

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2. How Does a Horse Travel?

Generally speaking, a horse moves at a walk, a trot, a lope, and a gallop. A lope is the Western term for "canter," which is an English/eastern term. The lope/canter is an easy, 3-beat gait which the horse can maintain for a pretty fair distance. A gallop is a full-out run, and a horse cannot maintain that for more than a couple miles or so, before becoming winded. A trot is the equivalent of a marathon runner's long-distance pace. A fit, strong horse can maintain a good trot for many miles, under a knowing rider. A slower pace is the jog, which is a bouncing, easy little gait between a walk and a full trot. Well... normally it's easy. If the horse is all wound up about something, it becomes jigging, not jogging, and that will beat you up like a tether ball, as you struggle to keep him at a slower pace.

In rough country, a rider must match his horse's ability, strength, and agility with the terrain. Going uphill, an experienced trail horse will generally slow down, having to propel both his weight and his rider's upwards. Going downhill... well, surely you saw the Man From Snowy River! Unlike in the movies, horses cannot go like blazes, indefinitely. Yes, they can go farther faster than two-legged folk, but just like you and me, they do need to catch their breath, they need to rest, they need to cool down and get a good drink of water. Three days of hard riding and poor care will knock visible pounds off a horse. A week of that, and he won't even look like the same animal. Good husbandry is the secret to keeping a horse in shape for a long, productive life.

This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.

Story Information

Author: ErinRua

Status: General

Completion: Complete

Era: Other

Genre: Research Article

Rating: General

Last Updated: 12/17/02

Original Post: 09/24/02

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Playlists Featuring the Story

Useful Reference Works - 4 stories - Owner: Elena Tiriel
Non-fiction works about topics useful to writers.
Included because: Helpful information about horses and ponies.

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