Page 124 - ShowSight - August 2019
P. 124

                Form Follows Function:
   we will concentrate. In the trot, the diago- nal pair of legs move simultaneously (right front and left rear/left front and right rear). For a dog to take one full stride, each of the four legs must take one step where there is contact with the ground. The length of the stride is the distance covered by the dog’s body between two consecutive touchdowns of the same leg.
When the dog is moving at a trot, the period of time one leg is on the ground equals the period of time the other leg is off the ground. (Example, front left on the ground = front right off of the ground). The primary function of the forequarter is to serve as a column of support over which the body is propelled by the hindquarter. The forequarter carries the majority of the weight of the dog (approximately 60%) due
to the added weight of the head and neck. The mechanics of the hindquarter is sim- ply to propel the dog forward over the pole vault action of the forequarters.
Before we get into the actual process of evaluation of movement, we must dis- cuss movement itself. In the canine, there are two phases to movement: the striking phase, when the foot is on the ground and the swinging phase, when the foot is in the air. In order to get a complete picture of the dog in motion, we must look at the dog from the side (as the dog trots in a circle around the observer), from the front (com- ing toward the observer) and from the rear (going away from the observer).
In a well conformed dog, the swinging phase consists of the lift and acceleration of the foot as the leg is lifted up and thrust
forward. (Figures 1 and 2) From a standing position the right foreleg is lifted a split sec- ond ahead of the left hind leg to begin the swinging phase. The left foreleg becomes the striking leg and is acting as a support for the body as the propulsion generated by the right striking hind leg which begins propel- ling the body forward.
As the right front leg arcs out in front of the body, it levels off somewhat as the speed of the leg decreases and the foot reaches out toward the ground. The right hind leg maintains its contact with the ground in its striking phase and pushes the body forward. (Figures 3 and 4) As this happens, the left rear leg is lifting right after the right foreleg and is beginning its swinging phase.
The period of suspension when all four feet of the dog are no longer in contact with the ground comes right before the dog plac- es the leading foot back on the ground. As the foot drops toward the ground, the speed of the leg increases as it prepares to strike the ground completing the swinging phase of the right front leg. (Figure 5 and 6)
   Figure 0. Standing/Starting Position Figure 1.
Figure 2.
  Figure 3.
Figure 4.
   122 • ShowSight Magazine, auguSt 2019
Figure 5.
Figure 6.

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