Arent gaited horses part of the Equus Caballus Genus species????? They dont know they are Tenessee Walkers (or a gaited variety). The only difference is they perform gaits other than the normal 3.. walk, trot, canter. They no more NEED to be in a leverage bit than a QH does or a TB or a Warmblood. Its all based on individual horse but mostly training, recognition of the properly performing gait and the maintaining of such through training regardless of the bit. Ive trained and retrain Walking horses for years using primarily snaffle bits (either single jointed or triple jointed, hinged, mullen mouthed depeding on the horse and even a simple vulcanite mullen mouth with rings.) to reach the goal of rebitting, responding to the aids (direct and indirect, lateral and horizontal). If I could have shown in a snaffle type bit beleive me I definatly would have had on several cases. My late mare?....you could have put a piece of bailing twine through her mouth and rode with just it and still got the same performance as if you were riding her with a leveraged bit. I rode her in a full cheek snaffle when I trail rode her but when I showed her I showed her in a leverage bit. I showed her western style and all I had to do was touch her with it to get a response. You do not need a leverage bit to get that good solid squared up "gait". With the snaffle one uses more direct approach. If I cant get it with a direct rein then what makes me think I can get it with a leverage bit?? I always teach directly when training, get them gaiting pretty square and responding to my aids before graduating to a leverage that is if I so chose to. Heck one could ride with a side pull and still get a good gait and response if the horse is suited to such just like a QH, TB, WB or a donkey.
Now for our more advanced works....perhaps leverage does apply. For example I worked with a horse that was strong in nature. I worked with him in a fullcheek, french link snaffle for a little while untill I got him responing to my aids, dropping and reaching forward with his head, relaxing and working nicely bending and other lateral movements. He was a strong horse (power house) but not out of control. This was his nature not a behavior issue. When asked to run walk it was very forward and very powerful and I graduated up to a 6 inch shanked bit with a hinged mouthpeice. I taught him to put the power into his rear and come off the bit more bringing in his nose more via a snaffle but now I wanted more and got it with a little bit of leverage....with pressure coming from the poll and chin. I pushed with my hips/buttocks and legs and brought him up in the mouth via the bit with out excessive pressure or pull. I was asking for more advanced stuff thus requiring a more adbvance bitting situation and boy did I ever get it. This guy rolled on like nobodys bussiness. His overreach was long and he tucked well in the rear. You could hear his teeth clicking at every head bob and his ears (rather large in comparison to his head) flopped lazily and if I had the means I would have bought him. Did i HAVE to ride him like this? nope I could have settled to riding him off the snaffle but like with a Dressage horse the more advanced you want to go the more advanced your going to have to go with your equipment...granted you know how it works.
IF a horse already has a bitting problem a more harsher bit is not going to solve the problem but will more than likely make it worse. Teach them directly first then graduate to something more according to what your desired achievment or goal is. If you just want a better responding horse (gaited or not) with good manners on a trail then who the heck cares if your riding him with a snaffle, piece of string, halter and lead rope or what ever. All horses are individuals regardless of breed and what gaits they perform, treat them as such and use a bit that best works with them.
I worked with a little racking mare, you could not get into her mouth at all and worse yet in her face with a hackamore/side pull or anything of that nature. She was a pain to deal with sometimes due to that fact. Well I was browsing about in a tack store and found a fat eggbutt snaffle bit. I bought it hoping perhaps I could work with it and this little mare (it was on sale also at a good deal). Bingo, she tolerated it quite well granted you didnt get up into her mouth with it. She had a pretty square rack to begin with so with a little strengthening exercises and some pole work and lateral work and getting the engine in the rear she got even better and would tuck that little head so nice......it took time to get this but it was acheived via patience, time and consistancy. All with a fat eggbutt snaffle.
Oh and to add.......I rode a QH in a Walking Horse bit. The only difference was the style of the shanks, the mouthpeice was a low port solid, pretty basic. Dont tell the Walking horses.
"The question is not, can they reason? nor, can they talk? but, can they suffer?" Jeremy Bentham
Last edited by ZaneyZanne123; 01-05-2014 at 10:34 PM.