Gaited horses and complete beginners? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 17 Old 11-22-2011, 11:31 PM Thread Starter
Green Broke
Join Date: Nov 2011
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Gaited horses and complete beginners?

Hello all,

So my significant other really wants to get into riding with me, mainly trails and ultralight packing. Bless his heart, he has ridden only a handful of times and then saw a gaited horse (I honestly don't know if it was a MFT or Rocky Mountain or what).

I know all horses have different traits and not every individual can be judged based on its breed, but are there any gaited breeds that are:
A) dog gentle, I mean bomb proof, bordering on plug. He really is a beginner, but is willing to learn. and
B) on the bigger side. He is 5'11" and around 220 lbs (mainly muscle) so the horse would need to be stout.

So what breeds would you recommend that tend to be docile, calm, strong and smooth?

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Last edited by karliejaye; 11-22-2011 at 11:32 PM. Reason: typo
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post #2 of 17 Old 11-22-2011, 11:46 PM
Join Date: Jul 2011
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I'm not sure of a gaited breed. But if you eliminate the gaited part, draft all the way. :)
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post #3 of 17 Old 11-23-2011, 12:01 AM
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It is more of an individual horse thing than a breed thing. Some horses are good beginners horses and some are not, whatever breed they may be.

I have heard it said that gaited horses may not be good for beginners because they are very "forward." In other words, they can have a lot of energy and that may intimidate someone who is a beginner, even if the the horse is well behaved. But you know, I think it depends on the person. Some beginners can ride a plug and if it trips they get scared, and then others seem to be born fearless and a horse with energy doesn't intimidate them even though the rider themselves is green. In the end, he should test ride a bunch of horses until he finds a good match.

As far as size, that is also an individual horse thing. I weigh around 200 lbs (but only 5'6") and I look for a stouter horse as well, but it varies so much within the breeds, that you really can't say "X" breed will work or not. I have a nice stout Missouri Fox Trotter now, but my neighbor has a tiny Missouri Fox Trotter that I feel way too big to ride. I would imagine a lot of Walking Horses are good size, but I know of at least once smaller Walking Horse too. So again, that doesn't help much!
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post #4 of 17 Old 11-23-2011, 12:14 AM
Green Broke
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You can find dog gentle in any breed but finding them is the issue!!!

My hubby hadn't rode since he was a teenager when I got my horse, Red. Barry was confident riding. We bought his horse a few months later and while Sarge is gentle he is by no means a beginners horse as he has a zillion buttons that can be pushed. Barry just kept right on and is very confident with a very advanced horse.

Let your hubby ride different horses til he finds one he bonds with. Rocky Mountains are very nice horses and have gentle natures. While not gaited, a good older Quarter Horse almost can't be beat for a beginner.

Can't wait to see what you get for him

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post #5 of 17 Old 11-23-2011, 01:00 AM
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You have to be willing to pay for a horse that is set in its gait, or you'll have a BUMPY ride.

The calmest horse I've ridden is a Walker. she was DEAD calm. Not the smoothest thing in the world, though..
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post #6 of 17 Old 11-23-2011, 07:45 AM
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Ditto the other posters.

But that being said, generally speaking, Tennessee Walkers are known to be very gentle and forgiving of human error --- generally speaking.

I have three TWH's. Two are like that, the third one is A.D.D. and would take control over anyone he can, given half the chance

In his defense he has oat/corn/soy allergies and when March gets here, he battles dust/mold/pollen allergies. He can't have more than one or two cube treats of timothy/alfalfa every day or that handsome-drags-the-ground-tail of his starts flicking and I have to wallop him.

When Tennessee Walkers get ready to move into their intermediate gait, it feels like they are trying to run away to a novice gaited horse owner.

Their hind legs with come up underneath themselves in a tremendous propulsion of motion (I call it turbo boost) and oftentimes riders new to gaited horses will pull the horse back because they think it's trying to run away with them and it isn't. That, in turn, sends mixed signals to the horse and he doesn't know what to do.

It might be a good idea for your husband to take a few lessons on a good moving and well mannered gaited horse first.

That person doesn't even have to go to a professional trainer; someone that's been riding gaited horses for years should be able to at least help your husband get familiar with the motion.

See if you can dig up a long-time, savvy, gaited trail rider and see if they will loan him a horse and go out on the trails with him for an hour
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post #7 of 17 Old 11-23-2011, 10:14 AM
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Here's a vote for TWH. As a breed they are kind and want to please people. One of the horse magazines years ago now asked vets to rate their favorite breeds to work on. TWH were near the top and the comment to go along with went something along the lines of "I know this is going to hurt but I'll just stand here anyway." That pretty much sums them up.

If you do decide to buy a gaited horse for him, also buy him some lessons from a trainer. There will be things to he should learn. More is better but he should go to at least half a dozen lessons to learn the basics of riding a gaited horse and to learn what the gaits feel like.

Now, here's the bad news. I checked out your horse and you ride a paint. A lot of gaited horses don't mesh well with non gaited horses due to speed differentials. Generally one if not both of you will end up with an uncomfortable ride. So, spend the time finding a horse whose gaited speed is slow enough to be a comfortable ride with your horse. They are out there, just takes more searching to find.

OR, go buy two gaited horses because we all know more horses is better!
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post #8 of 17 Old 11-23-2011, 10:17 AM
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A beginning rider should learn on a trotter in an English saddle. They will develop better feel, balance, and seat. After a couple of years of lessons they can switch over and will be a much more effective rider.

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post #9 of 17 Old 11-23-2011, 10:31 AM Thread Starter
Green Broke
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Thank you all for your input. He is infatuated by gaited horses (especially icelandics, lol) but I am pretty adamant that we find him a really nice, easy going horse that can carry him, regardless of breed! I am trying to convince him that drafts are gentle and won't kill him. If we find him a gaited horse in a few years, that'd be great, but i think he's understanding that the horse's personality is the first consideration for him right now.

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post #10 of 17 Old 11-23-2011, 05:28 PM
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My other half bought me my first gaited horse last year, as he watched me train and bond with her he decided he wanted to get into horses as well. He would have started out on another gaited horse for lessons but there was a reliable trotting horse there who had done tonnes of lessons so he started with her. After 5 or 6 of them, we decided to put him on a walking horse in the arena and after getting used to it he loved it and we hit the trails. He rode a wonderful 16hh TWH ... they really are a teddy bear breed and very calm if they are trained properly, but the thing about a walking horse is they feel as if they are running away from you when they speed up, and unless you are comfortable on a horse they can sometimes be intimidating in their own way by the motor they carry.

My opinion, if your husband wants to get involved and comfortable, have him start lessons on a trotting horse (or any horse that is 3 gaited really, but trotting is great for balance), get his balance and the rudiments of riding and then have him get on a gaited horse. Firstly, if he's anything like my man, he'll be pleased he doesn't have to post anymore and can carry a travel mug and secondly, he'll feel like he's getting the royal treatment by it and want to ride more often bc it is so easy on a good gaited horse to ride for a long time. :)

The one thing I will say about TWH is they are extremely trainable and willing, the way they are built makes it more difficult for them to buck, so that helps, and if you get one with a good mind you liable to keep it forever.
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