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Appalachian Singlefoot

Breed Description:

The Appalachian Single foot Horse Breed Association, Inc. was established in 1981 to preserve the nearly extinct diagonally gaited horse. Dr. J. G. Betts, a well-respected veterinarian, founded the Association along with 23 other horse enthusiasts in the Appalachian Mountains of Western North Carolina. Properly gaiting horses were accepted from various sources to produce the foundation stock. Extremely high standards of conformation and temperament were established in order to develop a gene pool that would be consistent in breeding diagonally gaited single footing horses. The gait is natural and artificial training devices or procedures are neither allowed nor necessary. The Constitutions and Bylaws of the Association insist upon humane treatment for the horses and training is through kindness, repetition, and persistence. Through the years, several breed associations have been established to preserve the laterally gaited horses, but little effort has been devoted to the rare broken-trot or diagonal gait.

The Gait:
The diagonal gait is defined as a "broken trot." The horse breaks up the two-beat trot into the evenly cadenced four-beat diagonal Single foot in which one foot is always pressed squarely on the ground. The other three follow in a touchdown, airborne, and lift-off sequence to complete the evenly timed four-beat stride (one-two-three-four.) The action comes from the pull in the front and the push in the rear to smoothly move the horse forward with little effort and ensure proper equilibrium allowing the horse to move extremely sure-footed. There is no side to side sway as in the lateral gait and no up and down movement as in the trot. The hoofs are carried close to the ground; there is no exaggerated leg elevation, and no outward or inward swing. When the rider is seated correctly at the horse's center of gravity, there is no energy-expended lifting the rider's weight up and down. The horses are line gaited and cap their tracks - leaving "two tracks in the sand." The gait should not be confused with the lateral Single foot (broken-pace or stepping pace) as seen in the lateral breeds.

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