If it is smooth, I will guarantee she's not pacing...a hard pace feels a lot like a broken washing machine, nothing smooth about it.
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That's the Gospel
My heart horse is a hard lateral pacer in the pasture but performs a smooth-as-silk stepping pace when being ridden,
Unless he's aggravated with me, then I'm sure the caps are coming off my teeth and I have to bring him down to a dogwalk and start over again.
I have three TWH's. The Step Pacer, one that racks/singlefoot in the pasture, the third does that champagne-smooth running walk people lust after.
The horse with the true running walk will perform the rocking chair canter at liberty -- he is an awesome lump-in-your-throat sight to behold.
The horse that tends to rack will gallop thru the pasture but isn't so inclined to canter when being ridden. My granddad had a Welsh/Morgan that would singlefoot (back in the 60's).
She would give it her all in a singlefoot before she would break into a gallop. She was so fast at the Singlefoot, I didn't care if she ever cantered so we never worked on it. She was my granddad's heart horse and companion until she passed on at age 33; point being nobody cared that she didn't want to canter when being ridden:)
The horse that performs the Step Pace rarely canters at liberty and never did like to canter when being ridden. He's been with me 22 years and I never pushed the canter issue because:
1. I don't show
2. His Stepping Pace is so fast, most horses have to almost be in a gallop to keep up with him. He moves like that in the pasture if he feels like it.
I might be wrong but, based on my three, the body structure that allows each of these horses to perform the gait that was born into them (watch them at liberty in the pasture) may be the reason for willingness or lack of willingness to canter.
I'm sure I'll get taken to the woodshed by someone but, that is my unprofessional opinion based soley on riding & watching my three move around on 22 acres of hills