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The Harness Racing Stable

Difference between the pacer and trotter

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Here's where I'll tell you the difference between the pacer and trotter

The Difference Between a Pacer and a Trotter

These are the two types of horses we race. This diagram helps show the major difference, the gait, which means the way they move their legs.

Pacers move both legs on the same side forward in unison. Most wear hopples - straps connecting front and rear legs on the same side. Hopples help the horse keep stride without limiting speed. Trotters move left front and right rear legs forward almost simultaneously, then follow suit with right front and left rear.

Usually trotters do not wear hopples, so tend to go off stride in inexperienced or trying to trot too fast. This is called 'breaking.'

The tendency to trot or pace is inbred, but the ability to maintain gait at high speed over a distance takes years of intensive training.

Trotters, and even moreso pacers, wear many items of harness.