Gaiting on pavement? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 7 Old 05-13-2011, 09:26 AM Thread Starter
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Gaiting on pavement?

Can anyone explain why my TW gaits so incrediby well on pavement but not on the trail? I don't like to ride on pavement and I believe it must be bad for the joints, but there's about 1/4 mile of road from my house to a nearby trail. I try to stay on the shoulder but sometimes the shoulder runs out and we end up on the road. One day recently she spooked very slightly at a passing car and to my amazement speeded up into a beautiful flat walk. I've tested her, just briefly, a dozen times since and it's the same - flat walk and run-walk on pavement, and as soon as we're off the pavement and onto the trail, nothing but a regular walk and a pace. Anybody have any ideas?
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post #2 of 7 Old 05-14-2011, 03:24 PM
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Well I know when we train to gait they do better when they hear an older horse gait. They tend to copy the 4 beat.

Now with your it may just be the fact you are on a level surface. Regular ground especially on trails is never level.

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post #3 of 7 Old 05-14-2011, 04:24 PM
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Agree with Macslady. They do seem to copy other horses gaits. (like whenever I ride with another horse, his walk is faster, not sloppy).

As Macslady said, its may just be the level surface.

If your horse says no, you either asked the wrong question, or asked the question wrong.* ~Pat Parelli
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post #4 of 7 Old 05-14-2011, 06:50 PM Thread Starter
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Somehow I need to get her to copy that onto less level ground, if she can. I wonder if, at 17, it's getting a little hard for her to pick her feet up high enough? I just got her last summer and have no clue about her past, but she's never gaited well. I've just been working on building up her back muscles as she was quite swaybacked when I got her. She has a lot more muscle now and out of the blue she's gaiting on pavement. Just not sure what to think or do.
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post #5 of 7 Old 05-14-2011, 10:39 PM
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A hard surface has less "give" and allows the horse to get more "purchase" when loading and breaking over prior to lift off in the hoof. The downside is that it also increases concussive forces. The Big Lick crowd will sometimes induce a mild "road founder" by riding horses on hard surfaces as part of the soring process. This is one is difficult to detect.

I've heard for years that gaited horses will "copy" the gaits of companion animals. I don't believe it. If it were true we could put serveral dozen (if not several hundred) gaited horse trainers out of business in short order. IMO this is an illusion that occurs when groups of riders ride together at the same speed. If all the horses are, for example, Walkers then very many of them will have at least some commonality in way of going. This can lead to the illusion of horses "standardizing" their gait.

It's very possible that a 17 year old horse is beginning to feel the pangs of "aging." I have three in this age range and all are a bit slower to warm up than they used to be. A vet consult may be in order to see if there are any signs of arthritis beginning to show up. Depending on the results of the consult use of something like Adequan or Cosequin might be in order to give the horse some "help" in dealing with minor joint pain. I note these two meds specifically because both have a good science behind them with professionally done clinical trials. A lot of the "over the shelf" stuff has all kinds of testimonials, but the plural of "anacdote" is not "data."

I've used Adequan on my 17 year old mare and for her it was a "wonder drug" that turned the clock back several years. She had undergone hock injections (her left rear does have some issues) but I wanted to try something less intrusive and with fewer possible side effects. I've known people who used Cosequin to good effect (one of our better local equine vets was a student at Auburn Vet. School when the Consequin tests were run and he endorses the product strongly).

These two meds are not cheap but they have a proven track record of effectivness.

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post #6 of 7 Old 05-15-2011, 06:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Macslady View Post
Now with your it may just be the fact you are on a level surface. Regular ground especially on trails is never level.
No gaited horses here, but our mares (all with no health/joint/hoof problems) certainly have a preference whether at the walk or trot. Given the choice, our lead mare will always choose nice, smooth asphalt over the holes (and trash) on the side of the road, our middle mare will always choose the grass regardless of how rough it is, and our youngest doesn't care, but will avoid concrete.

On the sixth day, God created the Quarter Horse.
On the seventh day, he Painted the good ones.
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post #7 of 7 Old 05-15-2011, 10:40 AM Thread Starter
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Now that I think about, she does always try to get on the pavement if she has a choice. I always make her stay on the shoulder because riding on pavement makes me nervous. She's about due for her shots anyway so I'll ask the vet about these things.
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