Encouraging TWH to gait...

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Encouraging TWH to gait...

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  • Twh out of gait
  • Short Quotes About Horses and gait

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  • 1 Post By ivyschex

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    07-09-2014, 05:28 PM
Super Moderator
Encouraging TWH to gait...

An acquaintance has, I guess, "engaged my services" to try and set her TWH's gait.

He's never really been encouraged to do anything specific and I'm really not all that familiar with gaited horses so we're both kind of muddling along.
Luckily my late Arab mare could flatwalk...and something else that I never could figure out..so I have some idea of what a true gait should feel like. But I really don't know how to encourage him to gait correctly and stick with it.

He seems very pacey - it's his go-to. I'm not sure how much of that is natural inclination and how much is just what he's always been allowed to do.

He's barefoot, ridden in a snaffle....

I can get him into a flatwalk pretty easily, but he can't seem to hold it worth beans.

Here's a video of him, I'm 99% sure he's pacing here [not me riding so ignore the rider]

First, I guess, IS he pacing in that video?
Secondly, since he is so pacey, is it even possible for him to get to a point of reliably gaiting?
Thirdly, what can his riders/handler do to encourage him to gait properly and not pace?

Thank you!!! :)
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    07-09-2014, 08:11 PM
Green Broke
Yes he is definitely pacing.

He looks really hollow in his back. I have the same problem with my TWH.

Pretty much to get the gait you need to recondition his body and get him to use his abdominal muscles and put his head and body in a neutral position instead of having his head up high with his nose out and his back hollowed.

The secret to this is going to be to do a lot of the flat foot walk. That is the best way. But it is going to be hard for him since he's using his dorsal muscles more (that's what makes him pace) but the flat foot walk, running walk, and rocking chair canter use the abdominal AND dorsal muscles.

There are some great tips that Anita Howe has some great stuff. The link below is to her site. There used to be the articles at the bottom available to read, but it looks like she just updated her site and those links don't work yet. Those videos will help you understand how TWH should look.

Anita Howe, Natural Gait Horsemanship

Let me know if you have any other questions! I'm studying up on getting my TWH to gait!
    07-09-2014, 08:14 PM
Green Broke
Sorry I forgot the numbered questions. 1. Yup pacing. 2. Yes he can learn to gait, but depending on the individuals training/history/confirmation/breeding it could be very difficult. 3. The biggest thing is getting their body right without forcing it. A lot of TWH owners just put a huge bit in and hold on tight! Obviously, not the best way to do it. Getting the head into a neutral position and achieving the "head nod" and making sure the back isn't hollow or really collected (like in dressage) is also important.
    07-09-2014, 08:50 PM
Yes, that is a pace. Using poles to break up the pace works, but getting the horse relaxed is really important, too. Some online support: David Lichman or Ivy's Horse Training might be good places to start. I find them both helpful, anyway.
P.S. My TWH gaits in a Lightrider bitless bridle, so getting a big leveraged bit may not be the best place to start, although some folks believe they help.
    07-10-2014, 10:28 AM
Yes, he is pacing.

He is all strung out. No head control at all. Snaffles seldom work well, I'd suggest a comfort bit, with a short shank. You don't have to be hard on the mouth, but very light contact helps.

You'll have better luck out of the flat round pen. Start out on the trail by walking as fast as possible with out breaking into something else. If possible find a long fairly steep hill, start at the bottom and walk faster and faster until he breaks out of the walk. Usually, they will break into a running walk.
The head must be shaking and it must be smooth. Walk back down the hill, then go up again. This usually gets them started.
    07-10-2014, 10:46 AM
Super Moderator
Ivy's Horse Training

I found this site to also be helpful. She has some good free videos and articles on how to help different types of gaited horses to gait better. There is one video where she works with a Rocky, a Paso and a TWH (if I remember correctly) ... all with pacing issues.
Each has a slightly different approach but you can see some immediate improvements in the different segments.
    07-10-2014, 09:39 PM
Green Broke
Originally Posted by Lockwood    
Ivy's Horse Training

I found this site to also be helpful. She has some good free videos and articles on how to help different types of gaited horses to gait better. There is one video where she works with a Rocky, a Paso and a TWH (if I remember correctly) ... all with pacing issues.
Each has a slightly different approach but you can see some immediate improvements in the different segments.
Those were good videos! You can pick up on some of the basic concepts, but it is a little hard to figure out all that the training consists of. Probably why she sells a DVD ;)
    07-17-2014, 10:28 PM
Thanks for the recommendations, guys! :) Yes, he is pacing. The very first thing I would do is train him to relax and drop his head way down at the walk. Sometimes people think you need your horse's head up in the air or the nose "set" to get a gait. Start by getting the horse to relax first. (yes, my first DVD does talk about relaxation). LOL

Yes, you can get him gaiting, but until you get him relaxed and see him moving, it might be hard to say how much work it would take.

This is an older video I made; I will be redoing it soon. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F6HNYXdW5xA
tinyliny likes this.
    07-17-2014, 11:29 PM
Green Broke
I can get him into a flatwalk pretty easily, but he can't seem to hold it worth beans.

Before re-training starts, has the horse been looked at by a chiropractor?

I know from experience, if a TWH can't hold their gait for beans, it could very well be they need adjusted.

Some years back, my long 3 yr old couldn't hold his gait, under saddle, for more than 30 feet before he would break into a trot (trotting is easier than gaiting when pain is involved).

It turned out the Young Lad needed both his Atlas bone and sacrum adjusted. He was a hard playing rascal in the pasture

The chiro instructed me to give him a week off, which turned into two weeks, due to work.

When I got back on that horse, he was not only a gaitin' fool but, I gave him his head coming home and he held his running walk, uphill, for 3/4 mile before he slowed himself down.

Once a chiro gives the horse a clean bill, then re-training can proceed
    07-18-2014, 09:26 AM
Have you tried riding with another established TWH or gaited horse?
Kind of a follow the leader situation, it can help.

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