I recently bought a 2-year-old gelded Walker that is just beautiful and is a real sweetheart. The only thing he has going against him is his size! He is already 17 hands high and isn't done growing. I have noticed a rougher ride with him and am wondering if some of you more experienced Walker owners can give me insight on the future with his gaiting. Will it always be a rougher ride on him or what can I do to improve it. We use a double twisted wire bit to try and improve the gait but...... I also notice he trips alot on his front feet. Is this more because of his size or because he's still young?
His size should not affect his gait in a bad way. He may have a more pronounced rocking gait due to the size of his legs however.
Two years is to young to be starting any
horse and could also be the problem with your rough ride. I would wait until at least 2 1/2 to 3 years to begin. 3-4 years old is the ideal age to begin saddle training a horse. He can keep growing until 5 years old, but at 3 to 4 years a horse is NORMALLY mentally and bodily ready to begin under saddle work. He still needs time to become used to his massive size. Imagine trying to walk on THOSE stilts! Let alone gait
On the topic of bits, a double twisted wire is to harsh. Try a fleece padded mechanical hackamore or a bosal. No bit can 'fix' or 'make' a horse gait, it's all comes naturally and with training. There is honestly no such thing as a 'correction bit', as those bits correct nothing and usually make the horse much, much worse.
By using a bitless bridal (mechanical or bosal) the horse can focus more on what his feet are doing rather than whats going on in his mouth. I have actually found that with my gaited horses, I have a happier horse, better gaits, and better control with a hackamore versus a bit. Especially with my greenie. With a hackamore I can emphasize and focus much more on leg and seat cues, and get better responses from my mount. Later on then, once I have established proper cues in the horse, I will move up to a bit, such as a light curb or snaffle.
Tripping usually means hoof problems. His hooves could be to long and not break over fast enough. I would take some pictures of his hooves and post them here, there are many natural hoof people and they should be able to tell you if his toes are to long or not.
Another cause of tripping is the rider. If you are pushing him to fast or to hard before he is ready he can trip just trying to go. Try going easier on him, work at a walk if you must ride and practice cues. Ask for a nice, easy gait at first and slowly work up from there. A perfect gait won't pop out of no-were, it takes some time and patience to achieve.