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.