Levitating Amish horse?

Walking on air, in upstate New York Amish country.  What do they feed these horses?

Photo credit: A. V. Photography

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    1. Alice Aber


      Wow, what a neat picture!! Its not really something I have given much thought to or paid attention to before, but do horses and other animals actually have all fours in the air when they are going fast or is this really unusual?? Maybe something scared him? He does look a little side-ways too. Hmmm, interesting!

      Thanks for sharing the picture Erik!!

      Blessings, Alice

    2. Robin

      Flying horses

      One of the interesting things about the first motion picture in 1878 was that it shows a horse with all four feet off the ground at the same time.

    3. Robin

      Flying horses

      Ooops! Forgot the link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OOBjgaHnU5c&feature=related

    4. Al in Ky.

      I’ve seen “levitating” lambs in the springtime bouncing around
      the pasture, but never a levitating horse. The two-toned
      brown and black buggy is interesting. What affiliation uses
      this style of buggy?

    5. Richard


      If that buggy were a car, it would be a new Chrysler 300. A different rust color on this buggy, i really like the yellow and white ones myself. Im too tired to even promote anything,lol. I would have done it maybe a little different Erik with a levitating out- house maybe in this post,lol. Richard from the Amish settlement of Lebanon county.

    6. Percy


      I don’t think he is levitating. I think the horse is jumping.

    7. Magdalena

      It was a matter of controversy in the 1800s, as to whether at a gallop, the horse’s four feet left the ground, or it always had one hoof down. Yes, it does have all four off the ground, as seen here. This must have been taken at a high speed. Either the horse was changing gaits, or that buggy is MOVING!

    8. OldKat

      Most or at least many of the Amish use Standardbred horses for the road or buggy horses. Many of them were bred for the track & sometimes they will even use retired trotters off the track. This is especially true in the more northern and eastern states where trotting is a bigger deal than it is in the south, but even the Amish in far South Texas which is about as far as you can get from the trotting tracks, use Standardbreds.

      Magdalena is correct, it was a big controversy in the 1800’s & in fact that is why the first movies were made; to show conclusively exactly what pattern the horse picked its feet up in a given gait. I read onetime that the very first movie was edited, after the fact, so that the horses hooves NEVER touched the ground … he was trotting entirely off the ground. I have never seen that movie, but I heard that it exists, or did at one time.

    9. New Wilmington Amish daughter settlement

      Al this is from a New York spin-off settlement of the New Wilmington, PA Amish. The New Wilmington folks and their daughter settlements are to my knowledge the only one using this burnt orange/brown color. They originally came out of the Big Valley PA settlement.

      I did a post on this group a few years back: https://amishamerica.com/blue-doors-brow/

    10. ann

      Whoa I never actually seen a horse do this
      great picture

    11. Lindsay

      I hope no one was playing “Light as a Feather, Stiff as a Board” with this horse :-p

    12. Bob the Quaker

      Great picture. I knew all 4 feet left the ground in a gallop, but didn’t realize a trotter would or could also do this. My new camera has a “burst mode” taking multiple pictures is a second….I’ll have to give it a try.

    13. Dena

      What a fun picture! Love it!

    14. Richard


      I hope everyone has a great memorial weekend, lets remember our American soldiers for their sacrifices. Richard from Lebanon Pa.

    15. Greg Miller

      How Many Feet Down?

      If you look at early paintings depicting American Revolutionary War scenes, the horse look odd because they were painted with the two front fee out at the same time. I have no reason why nobody bothered to study them enough to paint them galloping with hooves in sequence

    16. Michelle P
    17. Rudy


      That is not trotting ,He is Pacing, if u notice his left front leg & his right back leg work together, Go to harness race track & watch all the horses perform.

      1. karin


        Look again! this horse is absulutly trotting. when paceing both legs on the same side is moving the same direction like a camel! they kind of rocking from side to side and can reach higher speed than a trotter. amish seems to prefer trotters the gate is more “comfortable”

    18. I am amazed by the fascination with horse movement that would lead to the first movies being made about it…Then again I was fascinated enough to post the photo! And Robin thanks for the link to the film, I just watched it, neat.

      I’m sure someone else here would know better but the leg motion in the film seemed a bit different than what is captured in this photos, may have something to do with the speed he was moving at? Not a horse expert, can you tell 🙂

    19. OldKat

      Rudy’s statement is absolutely correct. I started to say the buggy horse was pacing in my earlier post, but I didn’t think anyone would pick up on such a subtlety. Guess I was wrong.

      Erik, I think the moving leg motion versus what we perceive the motion to be was the root of the controversy. It LOOKS like the legs are doing one thing but studies of hoof prints in sand or other loose soil indicated something different was actually happening. However, the horse in the vintage film was galloping, the horse in your still was pacing as Rudy pointed out … which is a different gait. Same as your gait is different if you are walking versus jogging.

      For background on the film Robin linked us to try googling Eadweard or Edward Muybridge.

    20. EX-AMISH

      Trained em

      I used to help train. One of my most favorite memories. Thanks Erik.

    21. Val

      I’d say pacing indeed – my favorite. However, there is one thing that is odd. The buggy is of an older family (note the foot brakes). Horses that pace are typically owned by the younger generation. Apparently this is where the two generations meet. Just an observation I thought about sharing.

    22. OldKat

      Val; What type of brakes would a younger generation use?

    23. Val

      OldKat, none. You won’t find foot brakes on buggies of the unmarried men.

    24. Sharon Ohler

      Pace vs Trot

      The horse in the still is actually trotting, not pacing. A horse moving at the trot produces a diagonal, two beat gait (ie right fore/left rear strike the ground at the same time). A horse moving at the pace produces a lateral, two beat gait (the pair of legs on the same side move forward together at the same time). On the track, these horses are often seen wearing “hopples” to help the horse find the motion of moving the pair of legs together at the same time (horse’s who race without this equipment are called “free-legged” pacers).
      It’s not at all unusual to find a horse moving “in suspension” at the gallop, trot, or pace–just a matter of timing that shutter.

    25. Jennifer

      Burnt Orange and Black buggies.

      Here in Fort Plain, we have 3-4 different colored buggies in the area. There are some that are Burnt Orange and black, some gray and black, I have even come across some that were completely white and couldn’t figure out why. There are some in Randall NY that are completely black too. Randall is about 12-15 Miles away from here. Also as for the horse, when they are going at a reasonable speed, they have a tendency to have all four hooves off the ground at once due to the crossing of front right with back left and vice versa. At a Brisk walk or jog they do this type of Levitating. I figured some of you would like this information. enjoy! 🙂

    26. faye sortor

      definitely pacing

      Just got back from Amish country Pa. and saw a horse fly by moving side to side. Most of them trot, This one is pacing.

    27. Jen

      Trotter, floating gaits

      Actually, all horses do this. At the trot (pace for pacers), canter, and gallop all horses have all four feet off the ground for a moment in time before touching back down. This lovely Standardbred is trotting (not pacing, notice the diagonal movement of the legs), which is a two beat gait. So if you think about it, the horse must have all four legs in the air for it to keep its speed.