Trotting or pacing - learn to see the difference for better horse photos

September 16, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

Standardbred harness horse hooves close up Horse in motion The biggest tip for getting great movement photos is to understand how animals move.

Are these feet trotting or pacing?


This image is part of the photos from Running Aces Harness track in Columbus Township, Minnesota. I went up to see morning training time and hope the images in this album will help you see horse movement. First, a little history about the Standardbred horses that you'll see at harness tracks and fair tracks in the USA.

Horses in the USA race at two gaits, the trot and the pace and pull a two-wheeled cart called a sulky. Occasionally in the USA you'll see an exhibition where a harness horse is raced with a rider, but that is not a common racing practice.

What is a Standardbred?

North American racing is restricted to Standardbred horses. They are called Standardbreds because in the early years to the Standardbred stud book, only horses (or the progeny of the horse) that could trot or pace a mile in a standard time of no more than 2-minutes, 30-seconds were allowed to be entered into the stud book. Most modern horses are able to so the mile in 2-minutes or less.


Trot or Pace

Trot - The gait of a horse or other four-footed animal, between a walk and a canter in speed, in which diagonal pairs of legs move forward together.

Pace - The 2-beat gait of a horse or other four-footed animal, in which the legs move in lateral pairs and support the animal alternately on the right and left legs


Trot or Pace?

Now that you have some basic information, look at these images and see if you can pick out the trotters and the pacers.

Trotting and pacing Standardbred horse  images by Kathleen Riley Photography Trot or Pace? First row: one horse trotting and the other horse pacing Second row: Trotting Third row: Pacing

Are you able to see the diagonal legs on the trot and the lateral legs on the pace? Let me know either way. More movement posts in the future!



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