Typical gaits of the Missouri Fox Trotter, which should be shown in the breeding classes/Performance:
Flat Foot Walk (strong stylish walk):
Is a flat four-beat-gait in lateral succession. Speed is not as important as correct rythm and adequate reach, front and rear. The hind legs should have adequate reach so that each rear hoof overstrides and hits the ground in front of the footprint of the front hoof. When the gait is correct, one can hear the steady and even four-beat cadence of the hooves. The typical up and down movement of the horse’s head will be more pronounced than in the Fox Trot. The correct Flat Foot Walk is a breeding goal.
Fox Trot (broken trot):
The foxtrot is a diagonal four-beat gait. The front hoof hits the ground a split-second before the opposite rear hoof. It is often described as the horse walking with the front legs and trotting with the rear legs. There is no fly time as seen in a conventional 2-beat diagonal trot.
This means that there is always one front hoof on the ground and there is always one rear hoof on the ground. Each front (or rear) hoof is not picked up until the other front (or rear) hoof is set down. The result is a comfortable smooth ride for the rider and an efficient low-fatigue gait for the horse. In a correct foxtrot, the head nods in unison with the rhythm of the rear feet and this rhythm flows through the whole body from the tip of the nose to the tip of the tail. Speed is of secondary importance to the correct foot-fall and rhythm of the gait. A correct Fox Trot is a breeding goal.
Lope (Canter): A three-beat gait accomplished with a rounded frame, is a desired gait of the Fox Trotter. This gait is not common for most gaited breeds. The gait should be smooth and relaxed with a consistent three-beat foot fall. This gait should be performed in a forward moving manner but with slow to moderate speed. The horse should perform on a specified lead with both front and rear performing the same lead. (When a horse is performing a different lead in the rear than he is in the front it is called a cross canter and is not correct or desired.)
Show Canter (required in Performance Classes): The Show Canter is a three-beat gait that is to be shown in collection with more elevation of the forehand than the above described canter. The horse should slowly and calmly go to the rider’s hand and maintain adequate forward motion. The horse should perform on a specified lead with both front and rear performing the same lead. (When a horse is performing a different lead in the rear than he is in the front it is called a cross canter and is not correct or desired.)
The rocking chair movement of the Show Canter allows the horse to stylishly express themselves. The correct show canter is to be performed at a speed no faster than a Flat Foot Walk, but forward movement must be maintained.
Trail Walk: Is a slow relaxed walk on longer reins with a lowered head. It is not necessary for the horse to lower his head below his withers unless he is approaching and walking over an obstacle.
Running Walk (extremely fast walk):
The foot-sequence is the same as in a Flat Foot Walk but the gait is performed with greater speed and more overstride.
Is a broken four-beat gait with sometimes only a single foot on the ground (hence the name).
Lateral gait, moving both legs on one side in unison.