What Is a Rocking Horse in Figure Skating?

What Is a Rocking Horse in Figure Skating? thumbnail
The rocking horse is a simple figure skating skill for beginners of the sport.

The rocking horse in figure skating is a very basic move often taught to skaters who are new to the sport. The move simply helps figure skaters get comfortable moving their feet on the ice in a different way than the typical glide that is commonly seen when most skaters circle the ice rink. The back-and-forth move gets it's name because skaters move their feet forward and backward similar to a rocking horse.

  1. Identification

    • An ice skater begins the rocking horse move with the heels of the skates together and toes pointing outward. Both feet then separate with a slight forward glide, and then curve in so that the toes come to a point, as if tracing the shape of a simple leaf, or of a football. The feet should then move back to the starting position by retracing the same path each skate took, but in a backward direction. In other words, the heels should curve outward in a slight backward glide, and then the heels should meet again back where the skater started, with the toes pointing outward.

    Mastering the Rocking Horse

    • While the rocking horse is a very simple ice skating move, it's important that figure skaters master the skill before moving onto more advanced moves. The move helps skaters feel comfortable gliding forward and backward, gracefully. To master the rocking horse, skaters should repeat the forward and backward motion until they feel confident in the move.

    Skills to Learn Before the Rocking Horse

    • The United States Figure Skating Association tests basic skills of figure skaters who participate in the association's programs. The rocking horse is considered to be a basic level-one skill. Before figure skaters learn the rocking horse, they should consider learning even simpler basic level-one skills, such as sitting and standing up with skates on, sitting and standing up on the ice with skates on, marching in place, and marching forward followed by a glide.

    Skills to Learn After the Rocking Horse

    • After figure skaters master basic level-one skills such as the rocking horse, they should consider moving on to basic level-two skills. These skills, as set forth by the association, include turning in place from a forward to a backward position and learning a snow plow stop, which is a stop often seen in hockey, made by turning the feet to a sideways angle.

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