How can I keep my mare in her gait? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 5 Old 01-06-2009, 03:54 PM Thread Starter
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Question How can I keep my mare in her gait?

I got a little racking horse filly (who just turned 3) about three and a half months ago as my first horse. We started her training just before her third birthday, and she caught on really well. She orginally went into her rack all by herself, and then after that I started pushing her into it a little more. But she doesn't ever keep the pace for longer than a few minutes (if that). I've ridden gaited horses before, but never been real 'good' at it.

Maybe I am doing something wrong? I was taught to lean back slightly and put pressure right into her girth while collecting her head while trying to gait. Is that the proper way?

How can I teach her to gait longer? When I know I'll be trying to get her gait, I ride her bareback so that my western saddle doesn't get in her way, it seems to help a little and doesn't take so much effort on my part to get her to go. Or maybe I am just pushing her too young?

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post #2 of 5 Old 01-06-2009, 08:36 PM
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For my part, she is too young to ask for speed and/or endurance. She is still trying to find her legs

Were she mine I would work on keeping her gait consistent for the period of time SHE is comfortable with

As she gets older she will be able to hold her intermediate gait longer, but Gaited Horse #1 is not always capable of holding the gait (and hold it at speed) as long as Gaited Horse #2.

My step-pacer is only 14.3H. I retired him from neighborhood gaiting races, unbeaten, when he was 16. Every horse he beat was bigger than him and some were 16H and really athletic

Point-being they don't all have it in them for a lot of speed for extended periods.

That all being said, if she is having trouble holding her gait at a speed she is comfortable with and continually breaks into a trot, I would also consider having the chiropractor look at her.

My then 3-1/2 yr old suddenly couldn't hold his running walk for more than 30 feet and I noticed he was trotting way too much in the pasture.

It turned out that his Atlas bone (head/neck area) and his sacrum (butt area) both needed adjusted. I was instructed to give him a week off, but it ended up being two weeks.

When I did ride him again, I gave him his head coming home. His running walk was smoother and faster than before and he had a beautiful head nod. He felt so good that I had to make him dog walk because he was still too young to gait the two miles up hill to the house.

Hope this helps some
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post #3 of 5 Old 01-07-2009, 08:24 AM Thread Starter
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That does help, thanks =) I'll lay off her a little more and let her flow her own pace.... though I hope it isn't too long, her trot is like riding a jack rabbit, LOL. We just started going out of the walk, and she isn't real sure about going faster, maybe she just needs more time.
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post #4 of 5 Old 01-08-2009, 01:30 PM
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With my mare- I was told to walk, walk and walk so more. My mare was out of shape after having a baby and I worked at the walk. We started just walking and then I would push to go a bit faster still at the walk. Kept working on that for a while (yes, a bit boring as we all want to test out the gait :) but it really did seem to help. She was gaiting better-maybe worth a try!
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post #5 of 5 Old 01-12-2009, 04:10 AM
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I kinda agree with the above post...if your horse is just getting used to its gait...maybe it does need to be built up for longer periods of time. One thing though...if you notice your horse is getting tired slow him down, but I wouldnt just let him change pace on his own. I have a TWH who has an excellent running feels like you are riding on air. I kinda let him get fat and lazy while trying to educate myself on horses (im a first time owner) so he cant really keep it up for long periods of time anymore. If I let him slow down whenever he wants...I find that he starts trying to decide the pace we go all the way around. What I do...If he wants to go faster than what I ask...I pull his head around to the left, then back around to the right (wich makes him stop...but if he wants to go fast thats the perfect discipline). If he tries to slow down from what ive asked...I let him do it...then give him a little tap with the rein, wich is a form of discipline to him. It works for me...hope it helps for you!
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