Nothing beats the Rocky Mountain Horse 4-beat lateral gait. Understanding the gait is no mystery but riding it is a miracle. Instead of moving up and down like a trot, the rider moves slightly forward and back in the Mountain gait with a smooth four-beat rhythm. And we are talking speed - from 7 to 20 miles per hour! There are two concepts you need to grasp to appreciate the mountain gait:
Lateral - Gaits are often differentiated as either diagonal or lateral. Most horses trot. This is a diagonal gait because it moves from the back right to front left and then from back left to front right. The Mountain Gait is a lateral gait because it moves from the back of the right side to the front of the right side and then from the back of the left side to the front of the left side.
4-beat - Any good horse person knows that riding is all about rhythm. And rhythm is all about the beat. The trot is a two beat gait. You count it 1,2..1,2. Or back right to front left...back left to front right. The 4-beat gait counts 1,2,3,4. Or back right, front right, back left, front left. If you count the footfall of the best mountain gaiters, there will be a even - "square" - 4 beat rhythm.