Elevation is the vertical movement of your horse’s body at each stride measured in cm.
Elevation is calculated at the three gaits no matter the conditions (circles, straight lines, etc.). It’s the “high – low” sensation that you feel in the saddle. It’s what justifies (or not) why you have trouble staying seated while trotting.
Elevation is one of the parameters that enable you to judge the locomotion quality of your horse along with cadence, its regularity, and symmetry (among others). This is what creates the “wow” effect when we watch a horse move.
Therefore, it’s a really interesting indicator to look at, but its interpretation depends on your objectives and especially your discipline. For example, dressage riders are going to try to increase the elevation (“The horse passes from a forward movement to a forward and upward movement.” Progression scale – FFE), whereas endurance riders are going to try to lower it so that the horse gains in amplitude and does not tire himself out by doing an upward movement.
To give you a general idea, elevation can take on the following values:
Walk: 1 - 5 cm
Trot: 7 - 16 cm
Canter: 15 - 30 cm
Similar to the cadence, you can have higher or lower values than this data. There isn’t good or bad elevation. It depends on your horse, your discipline, and your objectives.
Fun fact: Elevation can practically double in a dressage horse’s first years of work!