Amble (ambling gait, Ger. Passgang, Tölt), in horsemanship, a lateral gait where the horse (similar to the camel and the elephant) raises and lowers both feet of the same side in unison, even if the footfalls occur one after the other and there is rarely more than one foot off the ground at any one time. The ambling gait is typically inherited through a mutation on the DMRT3 “gait keeper” gene, but it can be trained as well. There are certain bloodlines among the American trotters that are almost certain to pass this gait on. The typical footfall sequence of the ambling gait is right rear, right front, left rear, left front.

The gentle swaying motion experienced by the rider of an ambling horse is more comfortable on long rides, especially across country and on bad roads, than the up and down motion of the trot or gallop. For this reason, knights preferred ambling horses for travel, and mounted their warhorses in preparation for combat. Similarly, the Palfrey, a small horse with smooth ambling gait, was the preferred mount for ladies riding sidesaddle.

“At the Amble!” ... “Charge!”, not

For cavalry mounts, the ambling gait is absolutely undesirable. Not only is the ambling gait slower than the canter or gallop, but a badly ridden horse becomes increasingly stiff and prone to injury.

British Paratroopers ambling, 1:72 ESCI P-208.
ESCI British Paratroopers ambling at running speed. Adopt either of these ridiculous poses at home, then try to take the next step.

In humans, the ambling gait is a rare anomaly of motor coordination which causes a noticeable rotation around the longitudinal axis when walking. On the other hand, it is a basic step in slowfox and other dances. In old school Japanese martial arts (Koryū), the ambling gait (Nanba Aruki) is actively employed for the equilateral transmission of power; in barefoot walking, ambling is easier on the joints and the soles of the feet.

Source: Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon, 6. Auflage 1905–1909

Military Glossary