Tag Archives: marcha

MM Clinic in August!

August 17-18
Our friends are coming to visit!  And we are taking advantage of their talents to offer a clinic/get-together at our ranch in August.    Please come and join us !  You can bring your Marchador or use one of ours!  You can just sit, listen and laugh.   It will be fun and educational.
If you wish to participate with a horse, the cost of the clinic will be $100 per day or $200.  First 2 to sign up get the early bird special – 1/2 off!  Let let me know if you want to use one of our horses for the clinic.  I will try to match riders and horses. N/C.
If you wish to audit, the cost of the clinic will be $15 per day.
Included in the lectures and riding:
  • About the Mangalarga Marchador
  • Gait Genetics Study Findings
  • Marcha Gaits and Techniques to Improve them
  • Assessment of each horse and rider
  • Versatility and Gait Competition and Judging
Dr. Laura Patterson  –   Lives in Salvador, Bahia, Brazil.  But, being English too, she speaks Portuguese and English fluently.  A great friend to have in Brazil!  She is a vet, rider, trainer of all breeds and has exported Campolina horses to Mexico.  The Campolina horse is a larger breed, but with similar gaits to the Marchador, mostly marcha picada is popular in Bahia.    Laura brings a wealth of experience and knowledge wherever she goes and we are happy that she is willing to share it with us.    In 2012, Laura and Ann worked together on behalf of the ABCCMM, the Marchador association in Brazil.  This year, Laura got the opportunity to study at Cornell and took it!
Several years ago riding the championship at 1.25M https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jpQyDT2Tgdw
Dr. Ann Staiger  –  We first met Ann because of her study on gait genetics.  The ABCCMM became one of her biggest fans, flying her to Brazil to collect DNA, measurements, surveys and videos of the Marchadors to be included in her study.    Originally from Maryland, her gaited breed is the TWH.  Her family owns and breed them.  But she loves all horses.   Ann studied at OSU, Masters in Animal Science and Breeding, and now Cornell PhD in animal science and equine genetics.  It is where she is seeking to discover and explain gait and temperament of gaited horses by finding a gait gene and gait gene combination with conformation traits.    We are quite impressed with her and her work.  For more information on her study, follow this link:  http://www.ansci.cornell.edu/brooks/study_intro.html
It should be a small and intimate group with plenty of time for one on one instruction if that is what you want.  Or, you can just sit at the picnic table and soak it all in as a spectator.
If you are interested, I can send out driving information, hotel information, camping information or whatever you need.  Come early or stay late!    We can share more time together than just the clinic days.
Please respond to me if you can make it!  I will send an invoice via PayPal or you can mail a check.  This is a special event, it can’t be repeated easily!
Thanks so much for being passionate about the Mangalarga Marchador!
Planning for the future:
Winter 2013 or Spring 2014
The Dead-Broke Rider with Ned Leigh, Equine Focus
Human to Horse with Alessandra Deerinck (probably in CA)

SW Update – Marcha Gait Genectics

Dr. Ann, Dr Laura collecting data from Epico Capim Fino, who became the Champion of Champions at this year’s show

Dr. Ann Staiger of Cornell University is researching gaited horse breeds to find the “gait gene”.  Her studies also include lots of measurements of the angles and body parts of the horse to determine the role of conformation and gait.

Ann recently traveled to Brasil during the 2012 MM National Show at the invitation of the ABCCMM  and collected several hundred 100 samples there from champion Marchadors.  To date, this is the best and largest cooperation from a gaited breed association that she has received.

We are all looking forward to her final paper and maybe a video presentation!!!

Ann pulling hair for the DNA during a championship class


Attached is a copy of an article that appeared in the ABCCMM magazine.  It is in Portuguese and English.  Enjoy.

Genetica da Marcha


For a video of the marcha gaits, go to this page.  https://futurefoal.net/?page_id=265


The study includes all gaited breeds and participation is welcome.   For more information about the study or about Ann, please visit the Brooks Equine Genetics @ Cornell website by following this link http://ansci.cornell.edu/brooks/study_intro.html


Marcha Gaits, Part 1

(For anyone who was there at the clinic, I encourage you to try to hear our instructor’s voices while you read this! Please feel free to add anything you picked up in individual lessons.  I have written about the gaits before, so I will not repeat those comments, but I’ll link to them in case you want MORE!)

Tiago showing the diagram of the Marcha

The Mangalarga Marchador has 2 marching gaits.  The Marcha is the same footfalls in both marcha picada and marcha batida.

The footfall sequence is

3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2

When the length of time spent in lateral supports is higher, then the gait is marcha picada.  When the length of time is higher spent in diagonal supports is higher, then the gait is marcha batida.  In both,  there are moments of triple hoof support, which is what makes the gait smooth and easy to ride.

When the length of time spent in diagonal and lateral pairs are equal, it is sometimes described as marcha de centro.

To the human ear, in marcha picada,  there is a much longer time (in lateral) between the footfalls making the 4 beats very distinctive and easily heard.   In marcha batida, the marcha is still 4 beat, but the footfalls of the diagonal pairs land closer together making it harder to hear 4 distinct beats.

Training can help improve a Marchador’s natural gait, but genetics determine the innate quality and movement of the horse.  Breeding for the center of the spectrum is the goal for a smooth and well-balanced movement.

Below is the gait spectrum:


Pace                           Marcha Picada             /\            Marcha Batida                                         Trot

(True lateral)                                            CENTER                                                         (true diagonal)



Here is are some videos comparing the 2 gaits and you can HEAR the difference, although all Marchador gaits are smooth.  These may not be the best examples of the MM breed, but I chose them because the horses were ridden on hard ground so you can hear as well as see.

Marcha Picada

Marcha de Centro (Marcha Batida)

Marcha Batida

“To help you feel and analyze the marcha, you need to use 5 things:   2 eyes, 2 ears and 1 seat.” says Tiago during the classroom lecture.   Sometimes the marcha is not visible to a untrained human eye.  The feet move too fast for us.   The ears are very good to listen for the gait.   And the seat, it should signal when the gait is smooth.   As the rider, you try to put the horse in that place, and make that feeling and sound last for longer and longer periods of time.

“It is like a dance”.  The horse must stay relaxed in the neck, but driving from behind.  “So, the rider, he sets the boundary in front to make a door that is closed.”  So, the horse moves into collection, but it is a give and take between the horse and rider, especially in the beginning, for the horse to stay relaxed and giving to the bit.

Okay, now we understood the diagram of the marcha.

The quality of the movement in Brasil is judged on many levels:  the showiness of the gait (the C with the front legs), the diagram of the marcha (how close it comes to perfection in footfalls and timing), the length of the stride (they want it to be ground covering, extension is valued) and finally, the smoothness of the gait.

So, now how do you bring it out in your Marchador?    For this, we relied on Kate’s individual riding instruction on the Marchadors brought to the clinic.  Next post!