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Horse Breeds
First Posted: July 10,, 2009
May 7, 2013

Gaited Appaloosa/Appaloosa Shuffle or Indian Shuffle

3-D Flags
Country of Origin: Original stock Spain and the United States

The gaited Appaloosa is a breed that does a lateral gait. It is often referred to as the Appaloosa Shuffle or the Indian Shuffle. It is much like the pace. The legs on the same side of the horse move together. However, a shuffle is smoother than a "pace." It is more like a broken pace. This break makes it qualify for a 4-beat gait much like the running walk that is performed by the Tennessee Walker. However, the Tennessee Walking Horse running walk is much smoother and has a suspension. I have had gaited horses that performed both these gaits. The footfalls of the shuffle or broken pace do not have a high action. The horse impels forward with a rolling action of the hips and shoulders. The coupling of the horse is usually short or compact. The horse tends to have a wider barrel. The ride is a gliding gait. You are not thrown from side-to-side like a true pace. The pace is difficult to sit and is really bumpy and uncomfortable to ride.

Horse Gaits Regular and Artificial (Footfalls)

The "paso fino" was the genesis for the gaited appaloosa. The Spanish brought over these smooth gaited paso finos. There are now many countries that breed paso finos. See my article on paso fino horses. Through careful breeding the paso gait has been honed and maintained for hundreds of years. The Pueblo Indian tribe were the original tribe to acquire the horses from the Spanish. There was an Indian revolt against the Spanish in 1680 called the Pueblo Revolt. Over time the Pueblo Indians traded these smooth gaited horses. The Nez Perce and other tribes that were further North selectively bred this wonderful smooth riding gait. The spots of the Appaloosa came from the Indian ponies and the wonderful prized gait endured. The gaited horse eventually was used by the ranchers because the easy gait was more comfortable to ride long hours in the saddle. The gait became known as the Indian Shuffle.* There is an ongoing attempt to breed for this wonderful Indian Shuffle. It is prized by the endurance and pleasure rider. The gait can be sustained by the horse for long periods of time as it is completely natural.

Indian Shuffle Gait Description

*"The Indian Shuffle is a lateral gait, which means the two legs on the same side of the horse move forward before the opposite two legs move forward. In the pure Indian Shuffle, each foot hits the ground a fraction ahead of the other, this results in 4 beats or hoof falls for each full movement of all four legs. It is very similar to the stepping pace or broken pace, the primary difference being the Shuffle has less knee action and lower hoof elevation.

The horse moves with a rolling motion of the shoulders and hips, the motion of the horse is absorbed in its back and loins giving the rider a smooth, gliding ride. Also, because the movement is broken into 4 separate beats or hoof falls, it lacks the side-to-side motion of the true pace. The breed registry was formed in 1938 by Claude Thompson and Dr. Francis Haines..." Indian Shuffle/Sunflower Ranch

For More Information:

The Indian Shuffle
Walkaloosa A Gaited Breed

Horse Breeds