Breeding for Gait - Mangalarga Marchador Breeder
The easier it is to SEE the gait with the NAKED EYE, the more natural & smooth the horse!
Choose to breed naturally gaited Marchadors.
Gait! Let’s talk about gait. If you’ve read my section regarding gaits, you learned that Marchadors have two gaits. They are either picada or batida (ba-chee-da), or they can be centered between the two gaits. However, one of these two gaits will come more naturally to the horse. This gait can be seen when the horse is at liberty. When the horse has the ability to perform both batida and picada under saddle, you may see this centered movement sometimes referred to as marcha de centro. Keep in mind that even though their movement may be centered, the horse will still be classified as either marcha picada or marcha batida. The ABCCMM (Brazilian association) does not yet recognize this centered movement as a gait. Therefore, it is actually incorrect to label a Marchador as marcha de centro, but you will find that some breeders use it to describe the movement of the horse. Still confused? Continue reading…
Although centro is not considered to be an actual gait, it is the most desired movement by the Brazilians. Most American breeders would agree. There are also various grades within each gait. If you will, picture the gaits on a scale…
Considering this scale, does the centro movement make more sense now? As you would suspect, some Marchadors only have the ability to perform batida or picada. Where they fall on the gait scale will determine their ability. The closer they are to centro, the more likely the horse can perform in either gait when under saddle. A centered horse has longer periods of triple hoof support allowing for a smoother ride.
So, how does the above information translate to breeding? I’d like you to think of where your mare might fall on this scale? Does your mare have such diagonal movement that it is impossible to see the periods of triple foot support? Does your naked eye see what looks like a trot? Or, is your mare such a lateral mover that it’s difficult to distinguish the picada from a pace? What do you do when breeding either type of mare? What is your goal for the off spring?
When you think of the gaits on this scale, the answer to the question is quite logical. If you want to keep the smooth ambling nature that comes natural to the Marchador, you might choose to breed to a stallion that is opposite the gait of your mare. If it is your goal to only breed diagonal to diagonal (batida to batida), over time you’ll have what looks like a smooth trot to the naked eye. In my opinion, we have enough horses to choose from in the States that trot smoothly, and we surely don’t want a horse on the opposite end of the spectrum. The same thing is true if you continually breed a lateral mover to a lateral (picada to picada) mover. Eventually, it looks like what Americans refer to as a pace. A trot is not a batida and a pace is not picada. The horse must show periods of triple hoof support. The variations in gait come into play with the length of time the horse has three hooves on the ground. The longer the horse is in triple hoof support, the smoother the ride. Essentially, if you can see the triple hoof support with the naked eye, the more likely that horse is to have a smoother riding gait.
Below are two photos of one of our horses working in picada and then in batida. This horse has centered movement. At liberty, he travels in batida. Typically, when I ride, I keep him in picada bc it is the smoother of the two gaits. However, if I need a faster gait, I ask him for batida. I try to breed for a centered type of movement as I feel this is the most versatile type of Marchador.
Above: stallion, Cheveyo, in marcha PICADA under saddle. Although not an actual gait, Cheveyo has centro movement allowing him the ability to perform both marchas.
Above: MIM stallion, Cheveyo, in marcha BATIDA at liberty. Although not an actual gait, Cheveyo is considered to be marcha de centro because he has the ability to perform both picada and batida.