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Gaited horses and complete beginners?

This is a discussion on Gaited horses and complete beginners? within the Gaited Horses forums, part of the Horse Breeds category
  • Quarter horse or fox trotter for beginner riders
  • Gaitedhorsetherapy.com

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    11-23-2011, 06:21 PM
  #11
Super Moderator
Hi,
Brand new to this forum but have been reading for a while. I had a sort of similar issue that I thought I would share...

I'm an experienced rider and owned/rode for 20 years, but had to give it up when my son was born with major medical issues. Long story short, after 10 years of doctors, hospitals, weekly physical/occupational therapy and focusing everything on him, he is doing very well and I can add a horse(s) to the farm again.

However, I had to consider my son in my horse decisions. While he's doing great, he has no confidence with large animals, only small ones. Plus, he is about the size of a twig and he lacks the deep core strength he would need to sit a trotting horse, ride a bike on his own, ect.. (he's still in physical therapy for development of that.)

I've previously ridden many types, breeds, and diciplines of horses, including several gaited breeds and decided a gaited horse(s) would be a good horse for us. Finding a horse of any breed than can give an experienced rider a satisfying ride then turn around and embrace his inner therapy horse for a child is a tall order! Yes, most gaited breeds have big engines and like to go and darn near every gaited horse (no matter which breed) I saw seemed like that. It made finding the right gaited horse very frustrating and while I found plenty that were suitable for me, they would have really intimidated my son. I nearly decided to buy a "me" horse for me, and a special therapy horse just for him. However, I was convinced there was one out there and I was going to search until I found him/her!

I had to really widen my search area and take my time, but take heart... I did find the right one and I think you will too. It so happens my guy ended up being a Kentucky Mountain horse who has a slow and mellow engine. He's not a steppy horse, but gaites very well and extremely smooth. He was also regularly ridden by two little girls who are 7 and 10 years old. Good thing to have on his resume for sure!

My main focus/search was TWH, gaited Morgans, Appys (that do the Indian Shuffle) Missouri Fox Trotters, Rocky Mountains, Spotted Saddle Horses, Kentucky Mountains and mixtures of the above. Having previously owned a Morgan I was partial to the idea of a gited one, but it was this particular KMH that won our hearts.

I didn't really find one particular breed to be better for the bombproof horse as a whole, but for an adult who wouldn't need a "therapy horse" minded horse, I did find several really nice "suitable for new timid adult rider" type gaited horses with slower engines. They are out there.... take your time, see lots of horses, and you guys will find the right one.

Besides, searching is half the fun..... right?
Leah
     
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    11-23-2011, 10:06 PM
  #12
Weanling
The one thing I haven't seen asked from you (unless I missed it) is what type of horse you are riding. Often when you put a gaited with a nongaited there is a difference in speed. Generally the nongaited breed ends up trotting to keep up which makes a very uncomfortable ride.

That would be my first concern. We have both QH and RMH and while I love them all if I am going out on a trail ride I so rarely move faster than a walk, so if that is the type of trail riding you would do definitely save yourself some money and get a QH.
     
    11-23-2011, 10:32 PM
  #13
Green Broke
Quote:
Originally Posted by Macslady    
The one thing I haven't seen asked from you (unless I missed it) is what type of horse you are riding. Often when you put a gaited with a nongaited there is a difference in speed. Generally the nongaited breed ends up trotting to keep up which makes a very uncomfortable ride.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Darrin    

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.
I had forgotten about this! It unfortunately can be very true. Before I bought my Fox Trotter I rode (and still own and ride) a BLM Mustang. Think short, stocky Quarter Horse or miniature Belgian.

I had a friend with gaited horses and we could never keep up! She would either have to hold her horses back (which she hated doing) or I would have to trot up from behind to catch up, which got her horses really agitated. So it was really hard to ride together and have fun. One of us was always trying to compensate.

Now if she actually GAITED her gaited horses, we were fine. Because the trot and the intermediate gait usually matched up speed-wise. It was the WALK that we had trouble with. Most non-gaited horses don't have a gear that matches the flat walk.

Now I have a Fox Trotter though, and she will pretty well slow down to walk with the QH's if I put her behind. If I ride in front she leaves them in the dust. But now I have a horse for either occasion- the Mustang for riding with the slower stock horses and a Fox Trotter for riding with the gaited bunch or faster stock horses. So it's all good!
     
    12-03-2011, 07:12 PM
  #14
Foal
I was/am in a similar boat. I am a beginner rider, now 59 years old. My first horse, bought a few years ago, was a TWH that unfortunately was very alpha. Too much motor, too twitchy, too much horse for me. Sold him and the search was on for the right horse. I looked at a LOT of horses, some 5 hours away and finally found my horse. He's a KMSH, 12 years old, built like a small tank. Great personality. My TWH friends gave him their stamp of approval and I bought him. We've been on rides at Big South Fork without a hitch. I rode him for 4-5 hours the last time out and he took care of me everywhere. And I'm big. Didn't phase him one bit. He can do a quarterhorse walk, or get in his gait and motor on down the trail. It WAS intimidating the first few times I got him in the running walk, but I learned to relax and try not to smile too hard. I love him...

I think you just have to look at a lot of horses until you find the right one. And I would second the opinion that you match your SO's type of horse (gaited or not) to your horse.

MK160
     
    12-03-2011, 07:13 PM
  #15
Foal
Gaited horse for a beginner....

I was/am in a similar boat. I am a beginner rider, now 59 years old. My first horse, bought a few years ago, was a TWH that unfortunately was very alpha. Too much motor, too twitchy, too much horse for me. Sold him and the search was on for the right horse. I looked at a LOT of horses, some 5 hours away and finally found my horse. He's a KMSH, 12 years old, built like a small tank. Great personality. My TWH friends gave him their stamp of approval and I bought him. We've been on rides at Big South Fork without a hitch. I rode him for 4-5 hours the last time out and he took care of me everywhere. And I'm big. Didn't phase him one bit. He can do a quarterhorse walk, or get in his gait and motor on down the trail. It WAS intimidating the first few times I got him in the running walk, but I learned to relax and try not to smile too hard. I love him...

I think you just have to look at a lot of horses until you find the right one. And I would second the opinion that you match your SO's type of horse (gaited or not) to your horse.

MK160
     
    12-06-2011, 05:50 PM
  #16
Foal
Leah,

I also have a son with a disability. He was born with spina bifida. I'm 41 years old and I've been horse crazy for a very long time. I've never owned a horse, but I've taken a lot of lessons and I'm pretty comfortable working with horses on the ground. Unfortunately, about a year ago I realized that every time I tried to get up in the saddle, I was scared as hell. Terrified of falling. I've never ridden a gaited horse before, but it's one thing I really want to try. I'm thinking that the bounce of a trot is probably what scared me off from riding. Anyway, in September I had to go through neck surgery. I want to get back into the saddle to get over my fear, but I'm thinking a gaited horse may be safer as far as my neck/back problems go.

My youngest son, Cameron, attends a riding therapy program in the spring and fall. He's definitely not into horses as much as I am. But it's so great for his self-confidence. I realized that I need that for myself as well.

So I think I'm going to try to find a good instructor who can help. Finding a gaited horse in a decent lesson program is going to be a little difficult, I think. Can anybody recommend a program in the Dallas/Fort Worth area?
     
    12-06-2011, 07:13 PM
  #17
Weanling
I have to second it about TWH. I have a niece which is 13 years old. She wanted to go on a trail ride with me. She had only been on a horse a couple of times, riding in a small arena to learn the basics. I put her on a 15. 1 hand TWH that is also 13 years old but has had lots of trail riding experience. I had her ride in the arena again to get comfortable on him and go over the basics how to ride him. A hour later we were off on a large trail ride consisting over 200 people. I had her to ride next to me so I could give her pointers. My the end of the ride she was giving others pointers and braging on how smooth her horse was and acting like she has ridden all her life. Needless to say, I have a riding partner, she is always calling wanting to know when and where the next trail ride is. She likes the smooth, fast glide that the TWH has.
     

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