Getting her to gait consistently (TWH)

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Getting her to gait consistently (TWH)

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    05-25-2014, 11:43 AM
Getting her to gait consistently (TWH)

Hi all,

Last November I rescued a TWH mare, 18 y/o. She's double registered TWHBEA and RHAA and is linebred. Jet black with only a small bit of white on her upper lip. 14-3 hands tall.

She came to me severely underweight and so weak I thought for a while she wasn't going to make it, but she has and I've been riding her lately, mostly bareback as I don't have a saddle that fits her.

She's easily the best horse I now own... She's kid-broke, can be ridden walk, flatwalk, rack, running walk, canter and gallop in just a rope halter and bareback. Has a good stop, etc... (doesn't backup, but we're working on that).

My dilemma is getting her to gait consistently. She will go into a running walk and a rack easily enough, but if I don't keep her checked, she tries to go into a trot. Her previous owners (both the girl who first bought her and took care of her and the man I got her from who didn't care enough to even feed hay during winter) were complete beginners who knew nothing about gaited horses and let her trot all the time.

She has a smooth, slow rack, but when I try to get her to speed up her rack, she tries to trot.

She has a wonderful rocking horse canter, but when I ask her to slow back into either a rack or a running walk, she trots.

She has a fairly fast running walk, but when I ask for it, after a few moments of doing it, she tries to trot.

How can I get her to gait consistently without resorting to using gaiting chains? I have a pair, but do not want to put them on her!
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    05-25-2014, 12:39 PM
Green Broke
I think it's just a matter of consistency. If I felt the TWH mare I trained attempted to trot I'd lift my reins and push her forward. If she broke Id immediately throw on the breaks and then get her right back into it. She probably need to rebuild the muscles she needs to preform a running walk.
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    05-25-2014, 01:44 PM
Green Broke
You may also just need to let her get consistent first at slower pace.

That way you also will steady yourself as well.

And she may not be able to sustain more than her running walk. Not all horses that are gaited can do all of them well.

Do you have video of her?
Chasin Ponies likes this.
    05-25-2014, 03:53 PM
No, no video's... I don't have anyone to take one for me when I'm riding her. May have to rig something up.

She actually racks better than she does a running walk. Her confo, I've been told, is better sited to hold a rack than anything else...
    05-25-2014, 03:54 PM
Also, I ride her in a Little S Hackamore. She absolutely hates a bit.
    05-26-2014, 04:49 AM
Since she was manurished and emaciated it takes time to develope muscles and muscle tone. Time is part of the key. When my rescued mare was beginning her retraining/muscles building via exercise she was all over the place. Its normal. She was hard wired pacer and it was horrible at first. I SLOWED her down and collected her up in intervals. I half halted her to recollect her, and slowed her down and in the beginning she had no clue what I was asking but after some time she caught on and her pace became like a WP horse's jog.

If she does rack easier then indeed use that as your goal gait (if you so choose). Slowing her down is part of the other key. If she breaks into a trot bring her back down and ask her again to rack, don't allow her to speed up, half halt her and ask for some collection in the rear. Push with your seat while asking for a half half to drive the rear forward. If she is racking then let her rack at the comfortable speed but don't allow her to speed up and don't ask for speed right now. FOr now that is all you can ask for because she may not be physicaly able to do more thus breaking into a trot.. That is when time comes in. Building the right muscle groups for the gait you want.
HagonNag and Corporal like this.
    05-28-2014, 11:56 AM
> She will go into a running walk and a rack easily enough, but if I don't keep her checked

What do you mean by the "if I don't keep her checked"?
    05-30-2014, 12:37 PM
I mean that she tries to slide right on into a trot unless I hold her back slightly. She has been owned by people who didn't know what they were doing and let he trot all the time, so now she thinks she's supposed to trot.
    05-30-2014, 01:52 PM
She needs to learn how to carry herself or "collection." Considering her poor background, I would suggest strengthening her hindquarters and basically muscling her up FIRST, and then teach her to collect, which is useful on gaited horses as well as non-gaited. She is now trotting, too, bc the trot is a balanced gait and she is secure. It is possible that being underweight the previous owners may have been heavy people and trotting was the only way that she could carry them. =/
If you have hills ride her up and down them at the walk. This will cause her to carry her head in the correct position to also balance herself without messing at ALL with her mouth--except to slow her down bc all horses will canter uphill, if you let them.
Spending loads of time going slowly up and down hills will REALLY strengthen her up. THIS is what made my older herd, that I used for lessons to get really strong, and when I asked for collection they could do it and maintain it bc they had the muscle.
When she gets REALLY strong, like after a full summer of regular riding (one hour every night or 5x/week would be best), you can begin collecting her by pushing her to an extended walk. The extended walk (for the horse) is the fastest walk she can perform without breaking. Teach her this, then half halt back to walk when she breaks to EITHER the trot or the running walk. This is a natural speed and my KMHSA mare has a very fluid transition from the extended walk to the amble (the "running walk" for a KMH.)
Trotting instead of performing a running walk is only really important for the show ring, but I realize (bc I own two Mountain Horses) that people buy gaited for the gaits.
Trotting is NOT a fault since all gaited horses will also trot at liberty. I see my two do it all of the time after a heavy rain the pasture or through muddy gateways, yet when I ride they always give me an amble. =D
HagonNag likes this.
    05-30-2014, 11:13 PM
Is the horse breaking into a trot from the walk, the running walk, or both?

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