TWH for endurance - pace or trot? - Page 2

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TWH for endurance - pace or trot?

This is a discussion on TWH for endurance - pace or trot? within the Endurance Riding forums, part of the Riding Horses category
  • Is there anything wrong with a tWh who does a stepping pace instead of a running walk
  • How to get a pacer to trot instead of pace

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    08-12-2012, 10:29 PM
Oh and a reminder - this isn't MY horse, it's my friend's and I was watching her ride with me on a conditioning ride
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    08-12-2012, 10:31 PM
I'm still not quite clear on what all these gaits are everyone's naming, either. Or what a TWH should and shouldn't be doing. Like I said, I live in the simple world of walk, trot, canter/lope. And when we get really fancy, there's a nice Western Pleasure jog in there haha.
    08-12-2012, 10:33 PM
I think what I need is something along the lines of "Gaits for Dummies" descriptions, because I'm watching my friend ride and I don't think I even know what I'm seeing, so maybe let me know in VERY simple and obvious terms what I'm looking for when I watch her move (both the good and bad things), and whether it's right or wrong.
    08-12-2012, 10:47 PM
Jilly, I have a TWH mare who does a sweet running walk, but she also can pace and trot on occasion. Her pace is smooth, but it isn't as smooth as the running walk. Her trot is lovely....but she is bred for the running walk so we ask for that more often. She has a lovely canter, when she's doing it properly, but under saddle sometimes she crossfires and it feels like riding an eggbeater with a spoon caught in the blades....

I can tell you that a trot should feel like a walk/trot/canter horse, only most of the time in a gaited horse it is really rough. The pace can be very smooth - some people prefer it to other gaits. The pace rocks you a bit from side to side (and the head nod isn't as noticeable as with the running walk, as the pace is also moving the horse's head a little from side to side). A running walk will be an even four-beat gait and the head will be pretty much straight forward, with a head nod that can be pretty pronounced in some of the breeds. You will feel a little lift under each hip, moving you more forward than sideways.

There is also a stepping pace that is a broken, uneven 4 beat gait that's something between the pace and a running walk. Sometimes it can be smooth but not always.

Ironically, gaited horses sometimes have several gears and depending on the individual horse they can be smooth or not....I've read of some distance riders who switch from one to the other to use different sets of muscles and keep the horse fit and sound. A great book on all the gaits and how to train a gaited horse for the gaits you want (and make it harder for the horse to do the gaits you DON'T want) is "Easy Gaited Horses" by Lee Ziegler. It's a great book on all types of gaits and gaited breeds.
clippityclop likes this.
    08-12-2012, 10:53 PM
Ya'll have heard me mention before that my walker (grade gelding) has the most wonderful 8mph trot that I use for endurance - he can gait, but it is OH SO SLOW and really not his natural way of going. He is much more diagonal.

My blue-blooded MFT will pace when he is out of shape, lazy, or tired. But he is the one in a million whose pace is actually very comfy and altho not as fast as a pacer at the track, it is a perfectly acceptable gait for me (I think someone here already mentioned that pure comfort supersedes everything else)...

But here's another thing, sometimes the running walk can look very lateral to the unexperienced eye. Sometimes you have to video it and slow it down to see the footfalls... but as far as endurance training goes, I say she should figure out what the horse is most comfortable doing at around 6-8 mph and go with that because that is a speed that will be somewhat competitive and get a completion.

Whatever the horse can do and sustain around that speed for a long period of time (and heartrate stays 130 or below), then that is the winning gait to choose! That, and of course, as long as her bum survives the ride. LOL!
Ladytrails and livestoride like this.
    08-13-2012, 09:06 AM
Green Broke
You should be able to sip a latte while cruising along. If not something aint right.
Celeste likes this.
    08-13-2012, 09:10 AM
Originally Posted by Joe4d    
you should be able to sip a latte while cruising along. If not something aint right.
ditto :)
    08-13-2012, 03:25 PM
Originally Posted by Joe4d    
you should be able to sip a latte while cruising along. If not something aint right.

Coffee? Yeah right -LOL!
    08-13-2012, 03:36 PM
Originally Posted by jillybean19    
I think what I need is something along the lines of "Gaits for Dummies" descriptions, because I'm watching my friend ride and I don't think I even know what I'm seeing, so maybe let me know in VERY simple and obvious terms what I'm looking for when I watch her move (both the good and bad things), and whether it's right or wrong.

LOL! Simple.......hmmm hehee...I will try a version of GAITED FOR DUMMIES..LOL!

When you are talking to 'gaited horse' people, you will here the terms 'lateral' and 'diagonal'. The former meaning that the horse's legs on the same side of the body will move as a pair (almost exactly, or just slightly off - the difference makes different gaits) whereas diagonal means the opposite legs (diagonal from each other ) tend to work as a pair.

Next, there are many names for the different gaits that gaited horses can do depending on the breed - and just because it might be a TWH, it still could have the tendency to rack or foxtrot or pace, etc....even careful breeding might have a horse with a throwback gene or predisposition to do something uncharacteristic of what his breed standard dictates.

So when talking about gaiting, that means the horse in question has other ways of going other than the walk, trot and canter - therefore he is qualifies as a 'gaited' horse.

A TWH usually has a couple of variations of the walk (a regular walk and a little faster head swinging walk called a dogwalk) and then the fast one called a running walk that can get up to 10mph in some horses, then the canter usually comes next.

If a horse has a tendency to be more diagonal (such as the foxtrotting breed) they too, will possess a bit of a dogwalk but then upon asking for faster speed, the foxtrot will pop out (sort of like the back legs trotting while the front legs just walk really wide and big). Then the canter can follow from there.

Some horses have a mixture of things in between and with rider influence (change in collection, speed or drive from the rear) out pops a rack or in the case of no collection or less rider influence, the pace.

That's a very SMALL version of gait explanation....maybe that will help! It will give you a different way to perceive your friend's TWH when you see him/her next...maybe it will help you SEE the gait better...
    08-13-2012, 03:55 PM
This thread confuses me. I've owned TWH's and TWH crosses, and currently own 2 KMH's, whose gait is similar. TWH's have 6 gaits, but they prefer to cover miles with their "Running Walk." It is natural for them to travel. They drop from their dam's and run-walk the pastures as foals. I've only ever had one resort to a trot while under saddle bc of footing. ALL of the rest of them gait instead of trot and they travel at about 9 mph. It's like you get them into this gear and they don't want to get out of it. If I were endurance riding my gaited horse I wouldn't have to do anything but point them to the trail to get a running walk.
I have heard that driving them encourages the trot, but you don't drive a horse 25 miles in a race. This thread seems a little bit absurd to me.
Dead Rabbit likes this.

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