On Mythbuster Monday, we tackle a variety of equestrian myths to either bust or confirm. Today’s discussion: Do horses gallop over 25 miles per hour?
It’s Mythbuster Monday, where Horse Nation dives into different equestrian myths and provides research-based evidence to either bust or confirm those myths. Today’s topic: Do horses gallop over 25 miles per hour? Is that the fastest they can run? Is that when they are in the wild or when being used for racing? Which disciplines utilize the gallop? Read further to find out!
Myth: Horses gallop over 25 miles per hour
Myth or Fact: Fact
A horse’s gallop is an asymmetrical, high speed, four beat gait. All four feet are off the ground for a moment and the feeling can make a rider feel like she’s flying. This gait is the fastest gait a horse has.
An article by Equimed states that the average gallop is between 25 to 30 miles per hour. In the wild, this gait is used when a horse is fleeing from a predator. However, after galloping more than a mile or two, the wild horse needs to take a rest.
Another article by Double D Trailers points out that the fastest recorded sprint speed of a horse was 55 miles (88 kilometers) per hour! This record was achieved in 2005 by a racing Quarter Horse named A Long Goodbye. The horse hit this speed on a quarter-mile and finished the race in 20.686 seconds.
Insider Horse compares the Quarter Horse, A Long Goodbye, to Thoroughbred racehorses in one of their articles. They state that the fastest Thoroughbred racehorse alive today is only running 44 miles per hour. This is still incredibly fast, but it puts 55 miles per hour into a better perspective since the average horse gallops between 25 to 35 miles per hour.
This article also lists riding disciplines that utilize the gallop. They are: cross country, barrel racing, pole bending, polo and horse racing. I would also like to add mounted shooting, endurance riding and skijoring to that list as they are also speed events (I’m likely missing a few, but you get the idea).
In an article by Speed of Animals they compare the horse’s speed to other animals. They have the top speed gallop of 88 kilometers per hour listed. A brown bear has a top speed of 35 kilometers per hour, elk have a top speed of 72.4 kilometers per hour and a lion has a top speed of 80 kilometers per hour.
After diving into the research, the average horse gallops between 25 to 35 miles per hour. The fastest horse recorded galloped 55 miles per hour. Domesticated horses and those in the wild both gallop but for different reasons. Horses can gallop faster than bears, elk and lions!
Do you have an equine myth you’d like us to tackle? If so, send it our way! Email your suggestions to [email protected]. Put Mythbuster Monday in your subject line.