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Encouraging gaiting?...

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    07-14-2012, 08:14 AM
  #11
Green Broke
Quote:
Originally Posted by Guilherme    
All equine characteristics (conformation, movement, and temperment) come from their genetic base.Ok.

AFAIK there is no "gait" gene (anymore than there is an "ill temper" gene). These two "1+1" statements don't equal 2 but, my math is bad so what do I know

It is probable that gait comes from multiple sources, none of which have definitively been identified.

It would not be correct to say that all horses carry the tendency to gait. More correct would be the idea that all breeds carry some tendency to gait. In the "gaited" breeds this has been selected and concentrated; in the trotting breeds it is generally a reason for non-selection as a brood animal (although there are exceptions, as in some Appy enthusiasts, some Morgan enthusiasts, some Iberian enthusiasts, etc.).

G.
Like others, I always enjoy reading your thoughts and knowlege on certain subjects and, appreciate your ability to eloquently deliver information in a way anyone can grasp but this sounds like a "yes, I guess not" comment; contradictory within itself


Just Ask the Expert: What role does genetics play in a pet's temperament? - Veterinary Medicine


https://share.ehs.uen.org/node/1893 Where it says in part:

"More and more scientific evidence suggests that many of the qualities of temperment, disposition and trainability are inherited, or at the least influenced by heredity. Breeders should think long and hard before breeding a horse who is extremely nervous, agressive, or difficult to train."

"heredity" equals genes, unless the meaning of heredity has changed in recent years.
     
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    07-14-2012, 01:16 PM
  #12
Yearling
I don't see any contradictions!!!

That temperment is a hereditary equine trait has been known since at least Kikkuli the Hittite (who wrote a text on chariot training circa 3000 B.C.). Lots of equine characteristics, like "cow sense," are hereditary. The issue then would be "Is there a "cow sense" gene?" Frankly, I doubt it. That doesn't mean, however, that there are not "cow sense genes." Nor does it mean that these genes would exclusively for "cow sense."

The same could be said for "gait." If there were only one gene for "gait" how would we explain the Marchador performing a diagonal marcha batida, a Walker performing a running walk, and Standardbred performing a pace? Given the broad spectrum of gait types, it is much more likely that gait is the result of a combination of genes for the nervous impulses which will then be manifested through the physical conformation of the horse, which, of course is also genetically controlled.

I'm not sure that I'm ready to say "heredity" equals "genes." Or if it does that there need be no further exploration of the evolution of gait in any given horse. The horse that stands before any one of us is the product of the mixture of genetics and environment. One of the most tricky things about gait is its "malleability." A good rider can alter the gait of any horse by simply changing their body position; or their rein position; or the position of the saddle; or lots of other "external controls." So even if you found a "running walk gene" that does not mean that the horse would do a running walk in any given circumstance.

If you are going to "encourage a given gait" you'll have to first determine that the horse has the fundamental movement of that gait; then develop the conformation that will permit the most efficient manifestation of that gait; then ensure that the horse is strong and fit enough to perform the gait; and then stay out of the horse's way of performing that gait by making tack, shoeing, equitation, etc. "transparent" (i.e., allowing what the horse does to be not altered by any of these things). Not exactly a "school solution," eh?!?!?!

G.
     
    07-14-2012, 06:18 PM
  #13
Yearling
Folks with a horse has gaited breeding but prefers to trot over walk might find my experience interesting.

First of all, that video looks and describes exactly what my grade mixed mutt of a TWH does. Nice dog walk then trot! Slow down, start again, nice dog walk (especially pointed towards home on the road) then faster and the trot pops out. I know folks run across this same situation with their horses all of the time, even the well bred ones.

I got my guy as a yearling and by the time he was two, he still showed no signs of gaiting. In fact he had such other great qualities that by the time he was 4 I started using him for LD in endurance and we were placing around 20th place out of 50+ riders in his first season. He had the most beautiful loose-rein 9 mph trot that he could hold for hours. Plus he had that competitive edge that made him good at his job (the look in his eye that made me stick him in my trailer and bring him home as a yearling).

At year 4, I gave up on his gaiting obviously - even tho I'd bought every gaiting book that could be read, joined every forum on gaited horses and sent video to trainers - so I became a bit burned out. Plus I own other gaited horses if I needed to get my 'gait' on.

Then along came dressage (cross-training with endurance to stay in shape and work all the muscle groups) and after doing that awhile (he was maybe 7 at the time) he began to offer up the piaffe on his own when asked for a series of half-halts. What the heck? Of course we were not developed enough to hold this for more than 30 seconds (and didn't try to), but it was enough to impress the instructors and brag about and it showed us he had a natural tendency to carry his body and do quite well. But endurance is my passion and dressage runs a close second so we never tried to go farther.

The point of all of this is, suddenly out pops a dogwalk gait at year 9! Yes, it seems it took forever. But now I am getting what the lady in the video is getting! He got a year off while I was pregnant and being a mommy for awhile and suddenly I decide to get on and just go for a slow walk. Suddenly he sees a buddy horse down the road and offers up a 6 mph dogwalk (I had my GPS on). WOW!

So now I've done nothing but walk walk walk for an entire YEAR- and granted it's walk then trot then slow and start the walk again over and over, I can see a difference (maybe not day after day) but week after week, bit by bit (kind of like learning a new language).

Who knows where-why-how this happened - muscle changing, more training, less training - I could contemplate all day but we will keep working the walk and see where we get to! Probably not anywhere very fast at this point...but I never turn down a good project. LOL!

Here is a picture of the mutt in question, just for fun - especially when we are talking about mixed TWH - it's fun to share!

Sorry for the long post but I hope it helps somebody!

koty.jpg
     
    07-14-2012, 06:34 PM
  #14
Trained
I had an experience with a horse that had initially been trained to rack and rack only. Her next owner trained her to trot. Nobody ever encouraged her canter. She never did get a really good nice canter. She was always really too fast. And her trot was not smooth either. This was a horse I bought off a killer truck for next to nothing. She did have her merits. She would go anywhere, anytime. If I am ever working with a gaited horse in the future, I will work on the canter the first day. I don't want that type of situation again.
     
    07-14-2012, 07:00 PM
  #15
Yearling
I occasionally ride with a lady who rides a racking horse - I'm always choking on her dust
     
    07-15-2012, 10:54 AM
  #16
Started
I am with G. On the whole gene thing. Take lordosis for example with ASBs. Researchers have discovered the exact gene marker in the horses' DNA which nearly all ASBs with lordosis share. What is kind of interesting though, is that horses may show lordosis genetically, and be completely straight backed. And there are a few anomalies of horses who showed lordosis physically and did not have the gene. There are a lot of factors outside of genes that can affect this particular problem. That is just an example.

I doubt there is anything outstanding in the DNA that would pop up to say a horse is gaited. While hereditaty, it goes more along the lines of how the horse is built and what traits lend themselves to the horses movement.
     
    07-15-2012, 11:39 AM
  #17
Yearling
I am no gaiting expert (only know from my own experience) but I can spot a gaited walking horse/foxtrotter type breed a mile away. They all have those gangly long hocks that only a gaited mother could love.

I've got a neighbor who bred her Western Pleasure QH mare to a well respected Pleasure stallion and got a decent looking mare, but she's never been happy with her (for 6 years now) because the mare has a natural tendency to rack and it drives her nuts! She's always trying to supress her speed and get that head down. She is well trained and does somewhat decent in the WP circuit, but she won't ever 'shine'...it just isn't in her genes.

This lady trained walkers and big lick horses while she was in college many many years ago and I tease her that maybe that is her calling - she was meant to have a gaited horse in her barn and it's just karma!

She is a genetics professor at a university here and DVM - even she can't figure out where the heck the gene came from in the line that she bred her mare from - all quarter horses. Who knows!
     
    07-15-2012, 11:46 AM
  #18
Yearling
Quote:
Originally Posted by clippityclop    
I am no gaiting expert (only know from my own experience) but I can spot a gaited walking horse/foxtrotter type breed a mile away. They all have those gangly long hocks that only a gaited mother could love.

I've got a neighbor who bred her Western Pleasure QH mare to a well respected Pleasure stallion and got a decent looking mare, but she's never been happy with her (for 6 years now) because the mare has a natural tendency to rack and it drives her nuts! She's always trying to supress her speed and get that head down. She is well trained and does somewhat decent in the WP circuit, but she won't ever 'shine'...it just isn't in her genes.

This lady trained walkers and big lick horses while she was in college many many years ago and I tease her that maybe that is her calling - she was meant to have a gaited horse in her barn and it's just karma!

She is a genetics professor at a university here and DVM - even she can't figure out where the heck the gene came from in the line that she bred her mare from - all quarter horses. Who knows!
One very popular line of QHs came from the King Ranch in South Texas. When Capt. King (he made his money as a riverboat operator on the Rio Grand when that was a navigable stream as far north as Santa Fe) imported a couple of "quarter runner horses" from VA and crossed them on the Spanish mares common in South Texas at the time. Many of those Spanish mares were of Jennet or Barb origin and many of those carry a tendency to the soft intermediate gait. Amongst the Iberian folks this is usually not a big deal; to the QH folks it's a very big deal, indeed.

Any breed can produce a soft gait, but most trotting breeds do so on a very rare basis and this example is generally removed from the breeding pool.

G.
     
    07-15-2012, 12:31 PM
  #19
Yearling
Well, see - there you go! If you don't mind, I will share this info with her. She has rebred this mare to yet another performance stallion - maybe she we have better luck getting what she wants? LOL!
     
    07-15-2012, 01:44 PM
  #20
Yearling
Quote:
Originally Posted by clippityclop    
Well, see - there you go! If you don't mind, I will share this info with her. She has rebred this mare to yet another performance stallion - maybe she we have better luck getting what she wants? LOL!
No problem with sharing. They'll tell you this at the King Ranch if you ask!

G.
     

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