The Suspended Trot, not a Hackney

There appears to be some confusion in understanding the correct, breed specific movement of the Ibizan Hound. The suspended trot is confused with the Hackney, The Hackney is mistaken for the suspended trot. Unfortunately the Hackney is described as a movement of lift and flexion. The difference being the qualification in reference to the Hackney horse. No breed description should completely rely on the comparison to another breed or animal. There also needs to be an articulate, detailed description of the conformation required in the standard. The Hackney horse moves with exaggerated lift of the knees, sometimes almost reaching to the highly held head. The hind legs do not extend behind. Think of a piston. There is no suspension. The lift aforementioned refers to the lift of the legs, not the entire body. The Hackney gait is designed to be extravagant and showy.

Hackney gait
Incorrect hackney gate

The suspended trot is also a movement of flexion, but the entire body is actually airborne at specific phases. The forearm should not be lifted above the parallel. After the leg is lifted it then proceeds to reach, giving the Ibizan a long stride. There should be no overstepping of the hind foot.

There is also a trot called a pendulum trot. As per description the legs move in straight swinging lines with little flexion. This trot can also go airborne momentarily. The pendulum trot is not correct for the Ibizan Hound.

There are various reasons why an Ibizan Hound may Hackney, particularly in the show ring. The handler may not be able to keep stride with the fast trot, thus holding the dog back. This can lift the front assembly completely off the ground. Unfortunately there are those who actually attempt to do this maneuver on purpose, as they belief it to be flashy. Ibizan Hounds should be shown on a loose lead. Another cause is poor conformation, a straight shoulder and a very angulated rear. The front may lift too much to avoid the overstepping rear. The better conditioned the dog, the better chance it has to move at it's best potential. And of course there is attitude, some dogs are just wound a little too tight. There are also some dogs of various breeds that just Hackney. This is not acceptable in the Ibizan Hound.

Suspended trot - collected
Suspended trot gait collected phase

I remember a truly spectacular young dog, back before recognition, who gained a reputation for Hackney gait. This dog's first handicap was that he was a kennel dog, not in hard condition. Secondly he had a wonderful long stride that few handlers could match. Taken directly from crate to ring he was over excited and did not have time to relax. I had the honor of seeing him later, living under different circumstances loose in a large paddock, he had none of his previous issues. He went on to sire the first AKC champion bitch, later she also became the first ASFA champion Ibizan Hound.

Suspended trot - extension
Suspended trot gait extension phase

The Ibizan Hound has such a delightful floating, effortless, reaching movement. They barely appear to touch the earth. Proper lift and flexion are no excuse for loose and choppy movement.

My greatest pleasure in living with Ibizan Hounds is watching them in full animation. The Ibizan trots when other dogs walk, they bound when other dogs would run.

Nan, 2010