Honestly, I'm not sure what the horse is doing and I don't think my friend or her horse does either. From talking to her, I don't think she knows her gaits beyond a walk, trot, or lope. I know I don't have a good enough eye to see what the footfalls are doing, what is correct, and can't keep the gaits straight. I have an Arab and a QH, so I don't have to worry about it lol.
I guess my question is, what gait SHOULD this horse be conditioning at? and what does that look like?
The analogy I can give you is that a TWH is really a classy standardbred. When you are conditioning them, you will find that most of them like to do do a slow running walk. Their running walk is not a pace, it is more of a classy pace, unless that gait is 2 beat, than that is a pace, and will be very uncomfortable in the saddle. When I first started legging up my TWH, all he wanted to do was a slow running walk, which I had to stop and bring him back to a walk, till I was satisfied that his initial LSD was starting to bring his fitness along.
I work my guy in soft sand on the flats and the hills...at the moment I do a lot of intervals when we are doing out LSD's....meaning once he is warmed up, I will let him do 1 km of whatever he wants on a loose rein, which is usually a slow running walk/rack the first 10-15 km, and then on my terms for the next km, I will kick him up a gear on his running walk until we are travelling at least 10km per hour pace.
That's just how we train. I look to his heart rate the next morning, and recovery when we get back to the property to see how his LSD training is going, and weather his pace or distance needs to be modified.