Which gaited horse to get? - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 17 Old 08-23-2013, 03:06 PM
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Arkansas
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I just found my horse after five months of looking. I was told by my dr to start riding again as therapy for my back (scoliosis, bulging disks, etc). Everyone had an opinion on what breed for me to get saying X breed is the smoothest and then the next person thought breed Y was smoothest.

After losing count of the number of horses I tried out I learned one thing. Each individual horse was different. I should have concentrated on the horses more as individuals rather than as a breed. Some foxtrotters were ok, some horribly uncomfortable for me. The same was true for each breed. I finally ended up with a ssh/racking/twh gelding. He feels a bit different than all the others I tried. Our movements just mesh well together as individuals. Just get out there and test out as many horses as you can and when it feels right you will know.
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post #12 of 17 Old 08-23-2013, 03:57 PM
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Breeds are templates of certain characteristics. The breed standard sets out the things that should be there (or not be there). The registry then issues papers that certify that an individual horse meets the standard of the breed.

Sadly, I don't know of a North American gaited breed that has a tight breed standard that is routinely enforced. Most are pedigree registries that only track parentage. They say nothing about what the individual horse is. This means that "breed shopping" in the U.S. can be a very frustrating affair.

Still, even when the breed registry lacks any sort of breed standard (as is the case, for example, with the TWH) papers might be an indicator of performance. They may not be a very strong indicator, but then they also might be. It depends on the quality of the breeding in the line. At the end of the day it's certainly better than nothing even if it's not any sort of "guarantee."

Horses are individuals. Horses are also very able to inherit and pass certain specific traits. The smart buyer educates themself on which traits they want to have in a horse and then does research to find out which breeds tend to have those traits. Then the shop for the individual.

Simple, yes?!?!?!?!

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post #13 of 17 Old 08-23-2013, 11:12 PM
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Oklahoma
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For consistent smooth gait, I have not found a better breed than the Peruvian. They also have good feet and can go barefoot in all but the roughest terrain.
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post #14 of 17 Old 08-24-2013, 09:28 AM
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Location: Central Missouri
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Actually, I did not include the Big Lick TWH in my opinion.

I'd never recommend a Big Licker of any breed for trails, but as far as smooth is concerned, all of the ones I've ridding(not many) have been very smooth.

The naturally gaited racking horse, regards of it's breed, is IMHO, the best all around. They are better on our backs and less tiring to ride. Not saying so much for the, trained to gait, rackers, some of them will beat you to death with their in and out of gear gaits.

The single, biggest thing we've found with smooth horses, is their heads have to be up and the nose NOT tucked. It is true you can train them to go heads down, nose tucked, but it, is seldom natural to the horse, and hinders their ability to perform in a smooth gait. As a rule of thumb, if a gaited horse is going naturally with it's head down, and/or nose tucked, it is poorly conformed for a gaited horse. The very first thing I look for in a gaited horse is the shoulder angle(indication of high head carriage), and its way of going in the rear. Most of them will trot at liberty, but you can still see their natural way of moving in the rear and their natural head carriage.

And before all of you THW trainers try and say you get them to gaiting with the head down and walk, walk, walk to get them to start the running walk. Let me clarify. IF you have to do this to get them going they are NOTTTTT, conformed correctly for the gait. AND, unfortunately, this is the case with a very large percentage of them. BEEN THERE, DONE THAT. That's were we started with gaited horses. Practically everyone said the TWH was the best to start with, WRONG, WRONG, WRONG. Took us a lot of horses and many years to find out differently.


Last edited by bbsmfg3; 08-24-2013 at 09:36 AM.
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post #15 of 17 Old 08-24-2013, 09:57 AM
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: BC, Canada
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A friend of mine has a Rocky Mountain Horse. He is a big guy (about 16 hands) and a VERY smooth ride. He also has an incredibly sweet temperament.
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post #16 of 17 Old 08-24-2013, 08:45 PM
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Georgia USA
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Bob, I must be WAY behind in the gaited horse world. I haven't really ridden gaited horses in several years. I had no idea that people tried to get them to gait with a low head carriage. That's crazy. The horses I used to ride always had a high head carriage. If they got lazy and carried it too low, their gait would go to pot.

Carpe Diem!
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post #17 of 17 Old 08-25-2013, 10:39 AM
Green Broke
Join Date: Nov 2011
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If you are in harness racing country don't overlook the pacing standardbred. I had one that would gait with the best of them.

Just to add more choices and confusion.

Buyers market out there. Find one you really like.
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