The gallop

The gallop is very much like the canter, except that it is faster, more ground-covering, and the three-beat canter changes to a four-beat gait. It is the fastest gait of the horse, averaging about 40 to 48 kilometres per hour (25 to 30 mph), and in the wild is used when the animal needs to flee from predators or simply cover short distances quickly. Horses seldom will gallop more than 1.5 or 3 kilometres (0.93 or 1.86 mi) before they need to rest, though horses can sustain a moderately paced gallop for longer distances before they become winded and have to slow down. Continue reading “The gallop”

The trot

The trot is a two-beat diagonal gait of the horse where the diagonal pairs of legs move forward at the same time with a moment of suspension between each beat. It has a wide variation in possible speeds, but averages about 13 kilometres per hour (8.1 mph). A very slow trot is sometimes referred to as a jog.

Cushing

Equine Cushing’s disease is more correctly known as pituitary pars intermedia dysfunction (PPID). It involves the pituitary gland, which is a gland located at the base of the brain that produces hormones in response brain signals.

In PPID, the normal mechanisms which control hormone production by the pituitary gland are damaged so that the inhibitory part is lost. Thus there is excessive production of the normal hormones from the pituitary. These hormones then enter the circulation and affect the whole body. Clinical signs include increased coat length and delayed shedding of the winter coat, laminitis, lethargy, increased sweating, weight loss and excessive drinking and urinating.

The disease primarily affects those over the age of 10, with 19 being the average age at diagnosis. It can be quite prevalent in aged equine populations. One retirement centre were found to have 14% of residents with PPID. Ponies are more likely to be affected than horses, but mares and geldings are equally likely to be affected.

Royal Vet College