Does anyone else NOT enjoy gaited horses? - Page 11

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Does anyone else NOT enjoy gaited horses?

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    05-05-2011, 12:42 AM
You know, I could be all wrong, but I have often wondered why the TWH breed doesn't "reinvent" itself as the ultimate trail horse. Image-wise, I mean.

Maybe there are places they are a dime a dozen, but out west, TWH's (and gaited horses in general) are sort of considered the Cadillac of trail horses and are priced accordingly. I just about peed my britches when I found my Fox Trotter for $500 (well, that and wondering if she had some skeleton in her closet that I didn't know about).

But really, there is a market out here for good, gaited trail horses. Why does the TWH, as a breed, not go towards that market???

Is there really a market for the big lick horses? I don't see anybody riding them out here. If there is a TWH in my area, they are always naturally moving trail horses, many are barefoot.

I don't know why the TWH doesn't try to improve it's image. The horses are great. I guess it's the breeders that don't care if they present a crappy image to the rest of the horse world or not?

Do they just breed for big lick horses and say to hell with the rest?
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    05-05-2011, 09:44 AM
Originally Posted by Azale1    
I have ridden several different gaited breeds, and haven't really liked one yet. I personally like to be able to feel the horse under me and be able to gauge what I am doing and what the horse is doing. I also don't see how can tell these horses if are lame since they don't move like normal horses to begin with.
If this is true then the problem is not with the horse it's with the rider.

I just completed a clinic on a Marchador with a lady from Brazil. She's a vet, an experienced trainer, and an accomplished Dressage Rider (note the capital "D"). In her youth she was second in an all-South American Dressage competition. She teaches a very classical way to ride a horse. This is in conformity with my own research that led me to the U.S. Cavalry School works and the teachings of the Cavalry School at Ft. Riley. I ride my Marchador the same way they rode their TB-types. Guess what? I get a very similar performance!!!!!

You may see this as an "attack." It's not. It's a fair comment on your own skills as published by you. If you want to change your perception then improve your skills.

If you don't then that's OK. But recognize that you're speaking from ignorance, not knowledge.

    05-05-2011, 11:01 AM
TWH is a very misunderstood breed, also a very challenging breed -gaits are a hard thing to train, ride, and understand.

That being said, no one has to like them, but they should understand them before they choose not to. I think it is the same with any breed is that you have to learn their movement. You need to learn the paces of your horse, to be able to tell when the trot is extended or not, to know if you are on the right diagonal (and of course much more). It all takes time time to learn, and no real rider got on their first trotting horse and over night understood them completely. Like any breed, 4 beat gaits need to be learned over time through experience.
    05-05-2011, 11:12 AM
How much does the gait really need to be trained? Granted my TWH were bred 30 some years ago and were bred in MN (not exactly home to the Big Lick world) so maybe they were different.. But we didn't "train" them to do anything. We just rode them like any other horse. Asked for a gait and got it... Asked for a trot and got it...

I am by NO MEANS an accomplished rider, though I was much younger back then and my body did want I wanted it to much easier.. All the same it was never difficult to get any of ours to gait and we never used any sort of contraption or shoeing to make them do gait. It was natural. Is this really that unusual?
    05-05-2011, 11:29 AM
TWH horses are born walking, but they still need to be trained to hold the gaits, and to run walk.

My mare is barefoot or shod for protection on trails and I had trainer with 30 yrs experience there every time I rode to tell me the gait when it was out and to tell me when it was good. Many TWH have variations of gaits, pace, step pace, fox trot, trot, and walk (the stepping pace and fox trot very smooth to ride and if just for trail is an excellent ride). While thier muscles are developing and they are getting their balance, it takes a lot of effort on the riders part to remain balanced, hold them in the gait and help them to get consistent.

My mare walks naturally. But when I got her, she would get going too fast for her muscles and slip into a step pace (which is a 4 beat gait but 1,2-3,4 instead of 1,2,3,4) because she could get the speed and it was easier, so you have to catch it, recollect and start over. She now burns around the arena consistently, but that took 6 months of training to do it properly. I am also going to show my mare, which is why I am focusing so hard on getting the gait correct for a ring, but to get the true TWH movement it does take quite a bit of training.

I would say you got extremely lucky if your TWH came to you untrained and able to do flat walk, run walk, trot and canter as that is not typical for this breed, it usually takes time to refine the walk and get it consistent. Hope you hung on to them!
    05-05-2011, 11:37 AM
We did. My parents bought them all as weanlings and we kept them until they died. The last one passed last August.
    05-05-2011, 11:42 AM
Sorry to hear! They truly are a gentle breed, I wouldnt trade my mare for anything she wants nothing more than to please me and is such a keener :)
    05-05-2011, 11:46 AM
I know. I really love Walkers, not just their gaits either. They have a wonderful personality. At some point I will be getting another..
    05-06-2011, 11:01 AM
We had Walkers for 10 years before we switched to the Marchador. The reason Walkers are difficult to gait correctly is that for the past 50 years the breeding has not been for a correct running walk but for a pacey horse, as the pace is easy to "square up" with devices.

We had a few old blood Walkers (that predated Merry Go Boy). They displayed a small range of gaits, too, but that range was much closer to the center was was much easier to work with. You can move a horse a small amount of the continuum of gait with training; to move it a large amount you'll have to resort to either devices or very strong training practices. And when you're done if you remove the device/strong training the horse will revert to it's native way of going.

A friend in Brazil, to simplify discussion of gait in a breed where three gaits are permitted, came up with this:

Pace L4 L3 L2 L1 Center D1 D2 D3 D4 Trot

In this diagram "L" means lateral, "Center" means an isochronal four beat gait, and "D" means diagonal. Pace and trot are self explanatory.

Using this scale we get away from some of the terminology confusion that runs through the gaited horse world. This scale can be used to describe the gait of any horse (trotter, pacer, or in between).

Every horse has a "native way of going" that can be placed on the scale. Ordinary training can move horse one number of the scale without too much difficulty. But moving more than one number will be much more difficult. This is why breeders should aim for the center. If they do thier job right then even if you produce an L1 or a D1 you can easily train to the center.

This presumes, of course, you want a centered gait. If you're breeding speed rackers then you don't want a centered gait, you want something near L4. If you want to breed softer gaited eventers, then you're going to be looking at producing a D3-D4. If you have no idea of what your doing then God only knows what you'll make in the breeding shed.

Given that the vast majority of Walkers are going to run L2-L4 bringing them to the center will be difficult. If you go the traditional route (ride a la brida, strung out, and use a powerful curb to control the head) then you will at best achieve a "false collection" and a false running walk. If you correctly collect the horse, get a neutral to slight bascule, and sit centered then you'll pull the horse to the center as much as it will be able to go (without resorting to devices). But when you relax the horse will relax, too, back to its native way of going.

For the past 20+ years the most asked question in the Walker world is "how can I get my horse to do a running walk?" That this is the most asked question is a serious condemnation of the Walker industry as a whole. There are a few folks who understand this and try to produce genuine Walkers (we dealt with them over the years) but the vast majority are what they are (pacy critters who will need serious work to perform the running walk). This is less a condemnation of the horse than the evil triumvirate of the TWHBEA, WHOA, and WHTA.

    05-06-2011, 11:12 AM
Well said G!

It is unfortunate that the natural movementof a TWH has been overshadowed by the showiness aids provide.

I live in Alberta Canada here and my mans family runs a breeeding facility as well as a close friend (whom I bought my mare from) these horses walk naturally and me, I prefer the fluid rolling movement of a natural horse as opposed to the more flashy padded style. PAdding is not around here, but you can see the remnants of that through many of the horses up here too as many of them don't walk, they pace.

My mare, walks naturally, I had some issues with her holding her gait at a run walk, until I had chiro out and found that she was having some problems in the rump. She is now very consistent. As a breeder, aiming for center, to better the breed (like any reputable breeding service should no matter the species) is the best way to hit quality, so that someone new to the breed (like I was) with some help, can still achieve a walking horse.

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