1 - Two hind feet
and left fore foot 

2 - Right hind foot
and left fore foot
in diagonal.

3 - Right hind foot
and two fore feet.

4 - Right hind foot
and right fore foot
in lateral.

5 - Two hind feet
and right fore foot.

6 - Left hind foot
and right fore foot
in diagonal.

7 - Left hind
and 2 fore feet

8 - Left hind foot
and right fore foot
in lateral.

by Fernando Montealegre R.





Since I knew Paso Fino horses, I have been astounded with their form at walk, by their smoothness and harmony as well as by the rapidity of their movements. Enlivened I felt growing my curiosity each time I saw a horse that moved with an astonishing rapidity, printing to its gait the stamp of its brio and vivacity, but carrying on its back a rider that seemed hung of invisible threads, that kept him static, indifferent to the roar produced under their seat.

I did not realize my amazement to hear to talk to the people with knowledge of the subject, assuring that a horse was displacing by laterals, making it in eight beats; where a unskilled eye as mine, only appreciate a broadside of trodden very quick and rhythmic, but impossible to distinguishing on the moving.

Encouraged by these incomprehensible matters for me, I proposed myself to find the answers to these and other similar questions. I consulted the books and magazines that were trying this topic and I was gathering information that I used to form my own opinion about this topic.

The most difficult part to understand for me, was that the explanatory graphics of the eight beats or movements, were not enough oriented to explain the harmony and smoothness that I so much was seeking to understand.


Determined to find a way to decipher this mystery, I came back to read again books and magazines, to consult notes and hear opinions, but this time from a different perspective.

I attempted to discover under the light of a technical point of view :

  1. How a horse did to have an harmonious looking in its gait.
  2. What the reason was to, in spite of executing movements very much complex that those done by a trotting horse, its rider stayed surprisingly more quiet.
  3. What a sequence followed the displacement of its extremities to give that agreeable sensation of continuous movement, without shocks of no class and where its hoofs touched the soil with astonishing regularity and synchronism.


To continue with my study, I consider the recognized bases all over the sources that I consulted:

  1. There exist eight movements or beats that constitute a complete cycle. ( Which, for demonstration purposes I will number 1, 2 , 3 , 4 , 5 , 6 , 7 and 8).
  2. These eight movements are reduced to different four, executed alternatively, once by the rear foot of the right side ( 1, 2, 3, and 4) and then by rear foot of the left side ( 5, 6, 7 and 8).
  3. In terms of the supports, or hoofs on those is sustained the horse, there are two classes:
    double (or on only two hoofs) and
    triple (or on three hoofs).
  4. During the eight movements, there are four triple supports (1, 3, 5 and 7), alternated with four double supports (2, 4, 6 and 8).
  5. During the four triple supports, there are two of them executed by one hand and two feet (1 and 5), alternated with two by one foot and two hands (3 and 7).
  6. During the four double supports there are two executed by one hand and one opposite side foot (2 and 6), alternated with two by one hand and one foot of the same side (4 and 8).


Starting with what I had gathered, I tried to discover what was lacking for me. For that, it outlined some hypothesis, for then to attempt to prove them with the theories that would let me to state the following :

  1. Analyzing the graphics, exposed by the consulted authors about the decomposition of the movement, they all agree with the existence of eight beats or times.
  2. There are five recognized times with support in land (or impulse phase), and three aerial (or recovery phase).
  3. Considering the displacement of the horse, each extremity advances by the air in three of these eight times, in the sense of the movement of the horse. On the other hand, in the impulse phase, once put the hoof on the floor, this remains there without amending its support and is body which is displaced, giving the impression that the hoof is moved in opposite sense; this happens in five of the eight movements.
  4. If the horse is really soft for its rider, it must exist other factor to consider: the horse must be well balanced; in other words, its weight and that of its rider always should be correctly balanced. As a result of these considerations, I suggested the hypothesis that in the triple supports, the hand or foot of simple support, must be found in the middle of its course or aplomb point (3), while the two feet or hands of the double support, should be in extreme opposite positions (1 and 5).
  5. If the repeated cycle this compound by eight movements and if the trodden are synchronous, and the horse have four feet, it is concluded that each two movements must be produced the contact of a hoof with the floor.

    If I set out from the base of the already established supports, in a triple support, the unique hoof that in the air is the one which must fall immediately and it must make it after an intermediate movement. And so that is present that triple support (1, 3, 5 or 7), in that moment it must fall a hoof, because in the previous there was only a double support (2, 4, 6 or 8).

The eight movements in which agree the consulted authors are reduced to repeated four alternatively beats by the right side and the left, and they are, with their order of execution their/its supports in the floor and the relative position that they should keep the hoofs amongst them:

Explanation of the Graphics

In order to understand graphics that come below, I used the following conventions:

  1. The Fore feet appear in the above the hind feet.
  2. The hind feet, by consequence, appear below the front feet.
  3. When a hoof is supported in the ground, it appears in black color (Land Phase or Impulse).
  4. When a hoof is lifted from the ground, it appears in blue color (Aerial Phase or Recovery)
  5. For graphics that have movement, it is advisable wait for long enough to permit the loading of the complete file and the execution to a most convenient speed (The execution speed depends of many factors: Computer, Modem, Internet Service Provider, Occupation of the Server, etc.)
  6. The figurative advance sense of the horse is from down to upward (As if tried to reach the upper part of the screen)

Animation of the eight movements.

Slow Motion


Reprinted with the permission of the Author Fernando Montealegre R.

Click here to Visit the Author's Web site

rev: 06.03.02

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