A long-legged horse will reach a speed of 8-10 mph (depending on the breed and its genetic makeup) with the right riding technique.
However, when you combine a shorter, heavier horse with the weight of the rider it can produce a speed of 10-12 mph and can be seen as a compromise between fast and powerful.
A rider is taller and generally leaner. Therefore, the body and riding position of the horse become a concern. The horse has been bred to give a powerful, forceful stroke, but the human rider now has the added weight of the rider. This heavier body weight in combination with the shorter legs can cause problems. The body weight can lead to injuries on the legs if the riders’ hips or knees are not aligned with the tail, and if the rider’s body is not centered in the saddle.
To understand and understand why a horse is so slow it is important to understand what makes it move.
There are many factors that can contribute to the efficiency of a horse; but all of them lead to the same movement; one leg in front of the other (ex. A horse running backwards is running backwards with the body in front). When the horse is slow (for instance, running backward along a trail with a slow speed), this motion usually is produced by the long limbs and the tail that move backward. The short legs can cause balance problems unless the rider has good balance, but in fact most people can easily balance one leg in front and the other back of the rider. The balance problems of horses also are caused by the short, slow legs that take up a portion of the body without being balanced.
The horse is not all made equal. Some breeds are much more efficient than others in running and riding. So what makes a breed faster?
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