Talk:Lead (leg)

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A few possible references[edit]

The "Biomechanical Riding and Dressage" site has some good stuff on gait biomechanics. In particular, the page on "Gaits in Theory and in Practice" describes the rotatory gait (as cross-canter) as "staccato...inherently not fluent." This isn't quite the same phrasing as on the article, but seems a close fit.--Getwood (talk) 18:06, 3 April 2008 (UTC)

That's helpful but can you find a more reliable source? Reliable usually means in a print form, because a website can disappear. --Una Smith (talk) 18:24, 3 April 2008 (UTC)
Web sites are acceptable sources. Yes, they sometimes move, but wikipedia is fluid and broken links can always be fixed or modified. This whole article troubles me by its lack of horse- specific terminology. There is technical language or terms of art in the horse world that need to be noted, even if biomechanical language is used. Montanabw(talk) 03:45, 4 April 2008 (UTC)
Web sites are far less acceptable than sources available in print. Whatever horse specific jargon you want in the article, please add. --Una Smith (talk) 06:29, 4 April 2008 (UTC)
The web site quotes a book that you can buy on the web site or via any major bookstore, so it is a print source. Montanabw(talk) 05:58, 6 April 2008 (UTC)
So what does the book say, and on what page? --Una Smith (talk) 06:08, 6 April 2008 (UTC)
I cited to the web page and web pages are acceptable. I was only pointing out that the page is based on the book. Montanabw(talk) 06:13, 6 April 2008 (UTC)

Many edits[edit]

Montanabw, I reverted back most of your reverts of my contributions. The image is clear on my computer (you might try clicking on it to see the larger view). Leave "fault" for later, in the horse section. The rotatory gallop is generally not called disunited (I have never heard it called that; only the canter is called disunited, and then only by people who show). I have replaced your fact tags with refs; let me know if more are needed. Thank you for removing the "how to" content from the counter canter section! --Una Smith (talk) 06:29, 4 April 2008 (UTC)

I'll review, however, a gallop clearly can be disunited, as reining horses are penalized for crossfiring, and at the top levels, they go like a bat out of hell. Even in the gallop, both front and hind legs to lead. If the animation is disunited, I don't see it, but I won't fight over it, either, I suggest that finding a dog in a "rotatory" gait would be a better example, however. I cannot emphasize enough how heavily cross-firing is penalized in horses. I am not an expert on racing, so whatever the sources say specifically on horses will be interesting, but I cannot think of a single event that favors cross-firing, and if you have ever ridden a horse that is doing it, you know it is very awkward and unbalanced. Montanabw(talk) 03:34, 6 April 2008 (UTC)
I have experience riding the rotatory canter and gallop. I do not find it unbalanced. I do find it awkward sometimes, on some horses more than others. Horses vary in how much they practice this way of going. The point above is that where this way of going is acceptable, particularly in racing, it is called rotatory (or some variant). It seems "disunited" has pejorative connotations. --Una Smith (talk) 04:21, 6 April 2008 (UTC)
Um, yes, because the rest of the planet considers it a fault. To say "only people who show" includes everything from reining to dressage, it is a near-universal fault in any competitive judged discipline, for god's sake horses are not allowed to do it, so yes, it DOES have "pejorative connotations." That's because horses are HEAVILY penalized for it, nearly as much as for the wrong lead, in some cases, more than a wrong lead (notably in reining, horses often change in front but not behind, half a circle disunited and they are out of the ribbons). A gallop, properly performed, is a four-beat gait, but still has clear leads, and you can see horses swapping leads in races at times, but they eventually swap front and rear. I too have been on a crossfiring horse, it is impossible to collect a horse in this state, they do not perform a three beat gait (you can feel four) and it is simply unacceptable. To allow horses to do it on purpose is condemned as unfathomably poor horsemanship in every discipline I have ever heard of. And please oh god, let's not drag THIS issue to mediation also! Montanabw(talk) 05:48, 6 April 2008 (UTC)
If a content dispute has to go to mediation, then going there sooner would be a good thing for everyone. --Una Smith (talk) 06:05, 6 April 2008 (UTC)

Rotatory is faster[edit]

I am wondering if the rotatory gallop might not be more common in QH race horses than in thoroughbreds. Does anyone know of a source addressing this? --Una Smith (talk) 16:09, 5 April 2008 (UTC)

Ealdgyth knows Quarter Horses quite well; ask her. Montanabw(talk) 03:30, 6 April 2008 (UTC)
I'm gait illiterate. I have no clue. I deal with QH history, not so much the specifics of biomechanics (grins). Check out the AQHA's site, especially the Magazine's section. It appears they have put up pdfs of all their Quarter Horse Journal and Quarter Racing Journal articles from about 2002 on their site, so it might be addressed in one of those. AQHA sponsors quite a bit of research on health issues impacting the QH, and usually they get printed in the QHJ or QRJ. Sorry I couldn't be more help. Ealdgyth - Talk 03:35, 6 April 2008 (UTC)
I am of the opinion that the disunited gallop is not in the least a good idea under most circumstances. I have no idea why this is even an issue. I swear to god I have never heard of anyone defending cross-firing as a good thing before. This is truly a whole new world. Montanabw(talk) 05:48, 6 April 2008 (UTC)


The text "United States Equestrian Federation Disunited canter penalized in most disciplines" was added to the article as a source but the link is to the USEF website, not a specific source pertaining to the text which it followed. Something is missing there...? --Una Smith (talk) 04:29, 6 April 2008 (UTC)

There is a general rule book home page too, but wasn't sure how specific you wanted to get, so I put in all of them. If you will accept the Rule Book's home page, I can put that in instead of the 10 or 15 I added Your call. Montanabw(talk) 05:48, 6 April 2008 (UTC)

The animation[edit]

cross firing
Cross-firing, normal speed of the animation
Horse gif sock.gif

FYI, I stared at that animation for way too long, but I do not think that horse is cross-firing. If you look at the fine lines at the hip, stride one is the outside hind, stride two brings the inside hind and outside fore forward at the same time, and the inside fore is last, thus the horse is in fact on a true and straight lead. We may have to agree to disagree, but I really think it does not show a disunited canter. I can't slow it down frame by frame to prove it definitively, however. Montanabw(talk) 05:48, 6 April 2008 (UTC)

I am tired of arguing with you about this. I believe the horse is not cross-firing (to publish an incorrect animation defies logic and my own vision isn't THAT bad), but I am not going to fight about this, am submitting it for a third party opinion. Montanabw(talk) 17:23, 6 April 2008 (UTC)
I also want to note that the only way to solve this is probably to break the image down frame by frame, but I don't have software that can do that. Montanabw(talk) 17:30, 6 April 2008 (UTC)
The best way to break down the image is to first examine the forelegs separately from the rear. For the Rotory animation I see a left lead on the forelegs and a right lead in the rear. Is that also what you are seeing Montanabw? Mmyotis (talk) 18:49, 6 April 2008 (UTC)

Question: Uh, where is the discussion taking place? — HelloAnnyong (say whaaat?!) 17:31, 6 April 2008 (UTC)

It is taking place right here; this is all there is. --Una Smith (talk) 20:02, 6 April 2008 (UTC)

Third opinion[edit]

I've opened a request at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Equine#Image used on Lead (leg) for resolution of this issue. I'm not sure that many people that are active third opinion posters can put this one to rest. I've asked a friend of mine to take a look at the image and see what she thinks, and she said that the rotary one is probably correct, and that the other one is probably incorrect. Still, I'm going to say that we should wait and see what the people over at the Equine project think. — HelloAnnyong (say whaaat?!) 17:47, 6 April 2008 (UTC)

The question concerns the animation Image:Horse gif.gif: is the gait in that animation transverse or rotatory? (Both terms discussed on this article.) --Una Smith (talk) 20:32, 6 April 2008 (UTC)
On Wikimedia Commons (here) that animation is labeled "Cross-Canter". Also, the user who animated the other clip on this article says the animation is rotatory (Kreuzgalopp). --Una Smith (talk) 20:32, 6 April 2008 (UTC)
Well Una, I don't really think that is the problem here, but because there is no little actual discussion going on it's hard to say. Let me ask you the same question I asked Montanabw. When I look at the image and separate the forelegs from the hind legs I see the forelegs on a left lead and the hindlegs on a right lead. Is that what you see? Mmyotis (talk) 21:25, 6 April 2008 (UTC)
Yes. --Una Smith (talk) 22:00, 6 April 2008 (UTC)
That's a start. Hopefully we will hear from Montanabw and maybe we can resolve this particular dispute. Is the animation and its labeling the only dispute that you were two wanted a third opinion on? Mmyotis (talk) 22:22, 6 April 2008 (UTC)
Guys, this is cross firing: check that link and then watch when the horse fixes its rear lead. Now compare that to your gif file. The gif horse IS cross firing. Roan Art (talk) 02:58, 7 April 2008 (UTC)
I think we are pretty much in agreement with that Roan Art. Also that the caption is wrong because it reverses the leads. What we need for concensus is for Montanabw to speak up since it was they who questioned the gif to begin with. Meanwhile I will fix the caption. Mmyotis (talk) 13:41, 7 April 2008 (UTC)
I think the correction of the caption of the cross-firing animation which was made shortly in the article is false. On the animation (I made it very big) you can see a right lead on the forelegs and a left lead on the hindlegs. As I understand it, lead means advancing more (not in the air, but on the ground). The leg that hits the ground later advances more and is the leading leg. (In German we don't use an expression like this, we call a transverse gallop with a left lead "Linksgalopp" =left gallop). - By the way, I have seen another mistake in the article: A galloping horse (otherwise than a dog running very quickly) has only one period of suspension. --wau > 14:16, 7 April 2008 (UTC)
You're right of course, so I have fixed the caption. Mmyotis (talk) 14:38, 7 April 2008 (UTC)
Sorry to vanish, gang, I was on the road. Basically, what I was hoping was that someone could break this down frame by frame or put it in slo-mo, I truly do stare at it and see it one way one minute and another way the next. (the youtube clip, however, is obvious) The lines that delineate the movement of the flank and hip change a bit in length from frame to frame and given that I have some vision issues at the moment, figuring out if it's the right or left hind leg moving is giving me a headache. (Wreaks hell with my wiki editing too, as I miss a lot of typos and can't always see the difference between [ and { brackets!) It seemed illogical that anyone would go to the work of posting an animation of a horse that was cross-firing, and it seemed that both the right fore and hind were leading to me, but the hind leg hip line at the second beat of the stride is what's driving me nuts. If multiple people with better eyes than mine say the horse is leading with one leg in front and a different leg in back, I will go with the weight of the evidence on this one, and if I'm wrong here and everyone else sees right fore and left hind leading, then it's my eyes giving me fits, and that's OK. This was the only issue I requested an opinion on, though we have other disagreements (like whether or not cross-firing is a good thing or a severe fault). Lately, Una and I disagree about almost everything, it seems. This is about the 10th article we're spatting over. So no need to weigh in on anything else unless you want to just for the heck of it. Montanabw(talk) 05:50, 8 April 2008 (UTC)
Ok, if you don't see it clearly, I can put it in slow-motion, maybe within 2 days. I don't think that the author of the animation deliberately made it cross-firing. Perhaps this happened by accident because he didn't pay attention to the difference. He says he made it after some Muybridge frames, where it's very hard to distinguish the left and right legs. --wau > 10:55, 8 April 2008 (UTC) - I added the slow motion, but forgot to log in. --wau > 20:12, 8 April 2008 (UTC)
Thank you. --Una Smith (talk) 20:23, 8 April 2008 (UTC)
Now that we have slo-mo, I can see it, we do have cross-firing. Still can't figure out why someone would go to all that work for the "incorrect" form. Montanabw(talk) 04:17, 9 April 2008 (UTC)
omg that's a terrible animation. Now that it's in slo-mo it looks absolutely horrid. The hind feet remind me of Dorothy clicking her heels together. Surely one of the talented people here can do a better animation? Something with darker lines so that people can follow the hind legs better? (talk) 03:30, 11 April 2008 (UTC)

←How about putting a dark sock on one of those hind legs? While it might not be a normally-occuring color combination, it might at least help the human eye follow the correct leg! MeegsC | Talk 10:06, 12 April 2008 (UTC)

Here you are! --wau > 20:05, 12 April 2008 (UTC)

Rotatory bad or simply different?[edit]

There is another issue to work out: the idea that a rotatory (disunited) canter or gallop is inherently inferior or dangerous. --Una Smith (talk) 15:15, 8 April 2008 (UTC)

However, that is not part of my third party request, so maybe we can hash it out.
What we have is a question I see as limited solely to horses. Whatever dogs, deer, cattle or whatever do is irrelevant here, the gaits of other animals are suited to other animals, we don't generally ride them. The issue is if there is a legitimate reason that virtually every book on horsemanship that discusses leads calls a rotary canter only by "derogatory" terms like "disunited," "cross-firing," etc.,; the practice is pretty much universally condemned as a fault in the overwhelming majority of riding disciplines; and horses are pretty much always docked for cross-firing in any competition where lead correctness is evaluated. (At least, I've yet to find a source that says it's ever preferable to the correct lead save for the one case noted below)
We appear to have one study suggesting that maybe there is some sort of momentary mechanical advantage at some point in a horse race, and apparently polo players consider it to have some advantage, but what isn't really made clear. Absent analysis of the full text of the article (have you a link to an online version?), it's hard to even determine precisely what that advantage is (at the start only?).
So, I guess, I am trying to figure out why Polo players seem to encourage this practice, and if all polo players do, everywhere in the world, since the birth of the sport, or if it is just some passing fad that has developed in recent years. Montanabw(talk) 04:17, 9 April 2008 (UTC)
I don't have any knowledge of polo, but in lameness examinations, this is generally considered a gait deficit, and is suggestive of back or hindlimb lameness. Ross, MW (2003). "Movement". In Ross MW, Dyson SJ. Diagnosis and Management of Lameness in Horses. St. Louis, MO: Saunders. pp. p. 61. ISBN 0-7216-8342-8.CS1 maint: Extra text (link)--Getwood (talk) 15:22, 12 April 2008 (UTC)

Moments of suspension[edit]

Horses rarely have two moments of suspension in the gallop, but the editor of the Muybridge book[1] cites a report of a horse galloping in the "leaping" manner of a cat. --Una Smith (talk) 20:59, 7 April 2008 (UTC)


  1. ^ Eadweard Muybridge, edited by Lewis S. Brown (1955) Animals in motion, Courier Dover Publications, 74 pages, ISBN 0486202038.

Disunited canter issue[edit]

I removed the image of the horse with the neurological condition as an example of a "rotary" (i.e disunited) canter for a couple of reasons. First of all, per WP:UNDUE, there is already an animation of this concept in the article and it does not need another. Second, I happen to own the horse and took the photograph and can tell you that what she does is worse than a rotary gallop, it's a four-beat weird thing that in a still shot may look like a disunited canter, but it's worse than that. As such it is not appropriate here. Montanabw(talk) 21:00, 28 October 2008 (UTC)

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