I am new to Gaited horses and need some advice pls :) - The Horse Forum
LinkBack Thread Tools
post #1 of 16 Old 10-15-2011, 11:28 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: SE PA
Posts: 250
• Horses: 3
I am new to Gaited horses and need some advice pls :)

Hello y'all! I am new to gaited horses but have quite a bit of experience with non-gaited horses... I need some advice from someone with more knowledge than I have.

You see we bought our SSH mare back in Feb of this year and I have been posting about her in various other forums on these boards but since she was in foal when we bought her and has since been nursing her filly we haven't ridden her at all. There are photos of my mare and her filly in her introduction thread that I posted if you're interested.

What I'd like to know is without any knowledge of her previous training what would y'all suggest I do for our first ride? Are there any special cues that a gaited horse is typically trained with or are they usually trained similar to a non-gaited horse? I don't want to confuse her but since I have absolutely no idea how she was trained or what she rides like I need some advice LOL and some prayers that if I do confuse her she doesn't try to get me off her back!

We were told by her previous owner that she is trained to ride and drive but unfortunately the previous owner also has no clue on how she was trained or what specific cues, if any, were used. I plan on working her in the round pen to gain some respect and to get her back in riding shape after weaning her foal so I'll have a basis to go from and it won't be like I'm starting with a horse I don't know.

Also, any specific requirements as far as saddle fit and bit/bridle preference I should start with? I have a western style saddle but haven't had it on her to check the fit yet and we don't have any other kind of tack at this point either so we're starting from scratch.

TIA for any and all advice... and thanks for reading. :)

Show me your horse and I will tell you what you are. - English Proverb
mysticdragon72 is offline  
Sponsored Links
post #2 of 16 Old 10-16-2011, 12:25 AM
Super Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 41,052
• Horses: 2
It sounds like you've got a whole bunch of stuff all rolled into one question post, and it might be best to break these out inot indivdual things. For example. How to wean.
What ground excersizes to do to see what sort of training she still has.
How to fit a saddle to her (with photos of the saddle on her back and such)

To start with , whether she is gaited or not should make absolutle no difference in her basic training. That is something you will want to investigate with her on the ground while doing round pen work or on a lead line. Does she lead well? Does she lead up well? I mean not drag behind if you move off briskly. Does she stop when you do or go ahead of you? Can you back her up with the lead line, without pushing her phsyically? Can you move the hind end and the shoulder over, seperately?
Does she go forward in the round pen when you ask, turn when you ask , things like this. YOu kind of sound her out. But don't overdo it all at once.

The saddle fit is a tough one because is she is very undermuscled now, the saddle might not fit so well. If worse comes to worse, if you have a saddle that is a little bit too wide for her in her undermuscled state, you can use heavy pads to fill it out until she muscles up to fill it out herself.

When you have time. post some pics of her with the saddle on.
YOU can work on the leadline manners right now, and in fact , should be doing those EVERY time you lead her anywhere.

Keep posting your questions, but you will get more detail and meaningful replies if you keep them focussed.
Tianimalz likes this.
tinyliny is online now  
post #3 of 16 Old 10-16-2011, 01:26 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: SE PA
Posts: 250
• Horses: 3
I guess I should of broken my questions down into a couple of threads but I also should have read some of my previous posts before hitting "submit thread" on this one because I had already asked about how to fit a saddle on a gaited horse before... sorry about that! ;)


Show me your horse and I will tell you what you are. - English Proverb
mysticdragon72 is offline  
post #4 of 16 Old 10-16-2011, 07:33 AM
Green Broke
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Surry, Va
Posts: 4,712
• Horses: 0
Please dont put a western QH saddle on her, her shoulders and withers are made different. make sure there is clearance for her withers and shoulders.
I wouldnt worry about cues,train her to the cues you use. wont take long. My horse would horse was trained to the kissing sounds, all fine and dandy but I am completely unable to make them, I cant whistle either.
Gaited horses are also sometimes trained to constant bit pressure as people worry about there head being held just right or seem thp think there head needs support. I dunno I may just be stupid.
It did take me a bit to teach him to neck rein, and that a loose rein "Hip HIp" meant to step out is gait, not to HI HO SILVER AWAY.
I like my guy because he has a steady walk, and a nice smooth faster than a walk slower than a trot trail gait. I'm not to concerned about perfect head position or steps. I guess it depends on what you want the horse to do.
Joe4d is offline  
post #5 of 16 Old 10-16-2011, 10:02 AM
Green Broke
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: SE TN
Posts: 4,657
• Horses: 3
I would suspect she may be a bit pacey until she has a chance to develop her muscles. I think you're just going to have to ride her to see.

My SSH, when I first got her, was in much the same condition as yours, right off a foul and on the heavy side. After she acclimated to her new home she quickly stole my heart.

I keep her unshod and ride her with front boots. If I don't ride her regularly she has a tendency to be pacey, but the more I ride her the smoother she gets.

Conditioning seems to be the most important thing IMO. Work on getting her in shape first before you expect to much.

Like you, I didn't know any of her cues, and had to figure it out. She neck rains, spins on a dime, and is just a wonderful horse to pleasure ride.

As far as saddles, I ride a mid ninteys National Bridle Tennessean, made by Crates. It's a fits her perfectly.

Also like yours, she has somewhat similar breeding with many crosses of Midnight sun and Merry Go Boy, many of the old foundation horses.

Last edited by gunslinger; 10-16-2011 at 10:11 AM.
gunslinger is offline  
post #6 of 16 Old 10-16-2011, 08:24 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: SE PA
Posts: 250
• Horses: 3
I guess since I don't know anything about her training I'll just treat her like I would any other horse. I was just curious if there was anything I should take into consideration that I might not expect due to her being gaited is all....

... Speaking of being gaited.. here is a very short video of her being ridden by her previous owner. I hope this is a better clip than the other one I posted so that y'all can tell me what gait she is doing?

<iframe width="480" height="360" src="Sahara being ridden - YouTube" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

On a totally different note... I am going to be calling up a professional saddle fitter to come out and help me get a properly fitting saddle. Another lady at the barn we're boarding at is wanting the same services so maybe we can split the costs? I dunno.


Show me your horse and I will tell you what you are. - English Proverb
mysticdragon72 is offline  
post #7 of 16 Old 10-17-2011, 10:30 AM
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Middle Tennessee
Posts: 5,936
• Horses: 0
First, if you lunge her, don't lunge her in the tight circles you are used to with a trotting horse. Gaited horses shoulders have a bigger, more sweeping motion and need more room

Second, she is beautiful! It's really hard to say from that video but she almost looks a bit off on the left front; it could only mean she might have stepped down on a stone coming around the turn.

She also appears to move her head side-to-side; again hard to tell. If that is the case, she will rack or step pace; neither of which are bad as far as I'm concerned but many don't agree with that and try to force these natural rackers to perform a running walk.

I have two that do the running walk and one that step paces. The step pacer is every bit as smooth as the other two.

Bits: Use whatever SHE is comfortable with - even bitless if she's ecstatic with that.

Two of my Walkers wear very low port curbs with swivel shanks (I prefer swivel shanks), the third has always worn a hackamore.

The TWH I lost in a freak pasture accident wore a Dr. Cook's Bitless and he loved loved loved that bridle.

Saddle: I honestly would not spend money on a professional fitter until she gets back in condition as I promise you, just like any horse, the saddle won't fit in six months or a year.

Walking Horses can wear any type of saddle that fits them properly, including saddles made for other breeds. The TWH that I lost wore my Arab's saddle, until he filled out, because he was short-backed. I then bought him a wide AmTech synthetic endurance saddle.

The key thing to saddle fitting with a gaited horse is to allow the shoulders plenty of freedom of movement for those huge sweeping motions they make. And, if the horse is short-backed, they are not happy if the the saddle is too long.

At any rate, I would wait a bit before buying her a custom saddle:)

Do you have current still shots of her from the side and even one showing a clear view of her back?

As others have said, basic training is basic training<--- they all whinny the same

Everyone has a different opinion but the way I was taught years ago, was to keep my hands low, the reins a little loose and sit back on my pockets when I wanted my horse to gait.

Keeping them in their gait is a little like power braking your car; pulling back on the reins slightly while lightly nudging them ahead with your lower legs at the same time. Hope that made sense.

Unless you're planning to show, getting the gist of riding her is not as big a deal as some people like to make it. Don't over analyze once you figure out what her cues are; just go trail riding and enjoy smelling the roses at something a lot smoother than a trot

While she might be rusty from not being ridden if she insists on trotting, have a chiropractor look at her and have her hoof length checked. As long as she has papers to prove she is 110% gaited, there is no such thing as a gaited horse that won't gait. They can get ruined right into trotting all the time or they can have something wrong with them.

One thing I have noticed with my Walking Horses is that when something structural is wrong with them, the first thing they do is trot a lot. Unless they're behind my Arab in the pasture and they will mimic him.

One of my Walkers will trot in the pasture when his back toes get too long.

The one I lost in the accident suddenly couldn't hold his gait under saddle and would rather trot. His Atlas bone and sacrum were both out of place. Once the Chiro worked on him and he got some rest time, he was a gaitin' fool/

Hope this helps some
Tianimalz likes this.
walkinthewalk is online now  
post #8 of 16 Old 10-17-2011, 12:51 PM
Super Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 41,052
• Horses: 2
I am so glad to see that "walking" or "gaited" owners came and gave such good, detailed advice. I learned something. I have riddeen a gaited horse a few times, but dont' own one.
tinyliny is online now  
post #9 of 16 Old 10-17-2011, 01:15 PM
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: East Central Illinois
Posts: 7,109
• Horses: 3
mysticdragon72, I was asking these questions just a few years ago, even though I've owned several gaited and 1/2-bred gaited before my 2 KMHSA's that I currently own.
I got busy reading and online questioning bc I wanted to train my 5 yo KMHSA correctly.
First, the gaits are inherited and dominant. Many 1/2 breds gait as well as full blooded.
Secondly, different breeds will ride differently, but it is COMMON for every gaited horse to trot in the pasture. Wish I had a nickel for every time mine have done so. I do NOT want mine to trot under saddle, however.
Third, consider the "running walk" or the "amble" or (fill in the name of the gait) to be the "trot" for you horse, and cue as if you asking for a trot. They canter or "lope" just like the non-gaited horse does, and they need the correct cue for that, too.
Fourth, these horses need to taught collection DESPITE the comfort of their natural gait. You can use your favorite method, or, if you don't have one, you can dressage them.
Finally, gaited horses really like to zoom along in their speciallized gait. DH and I are training ours to slow down. It's perfectly fine to do this. We both hope that by our next summer's riding vacations our 2 KMHSA's will do a nice, mosey-type walk, at least for the first mile out! **fingers crossed**
Corporal is offline  
post #10 of 16 Old 10-17-2011, 04:32 PM
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 958
• Horses: 0
The word "gaited" is an adjective that modifies the noun "horse." So ride the noun not the adjective.

Here is the best manual ever written for riding the gaited horse (or any other one for that matter):

Horsemanship,Volume I - Horses - Books

It's $13.95 plus shipping. Add the DVDs and you've got a basic horsemanship library that you can't beat at any price.

At the National Cavalry Competition this year my wife went 2/19 in Novice Military Horsemanship and I went 3/18 in Intermediate. All the competition was trotting. We each lost 5 points for using a mounting block ('cause we're both getting long in the tooth ).

Here are three photos from the event:




I also competed in Mounted Pistol. I had to scratch from Mounted Saber and Combat Horsemanship for other reasons. Don't go over fences anymore due to age.

We've been riding IAW the Ft. Riley manual for almost 8 years, now. It's just a very effective way to ride a horse, any horse. It won't do if you want to rope or bulldog or do competition dressage or win gait championships, but if you want to ride effectively on a daily basis on the trail or cross country or over fences (including foxhunting) it's the best there is (for both you and the horse).


P.S. The Manual has two parts. Part I is Education of the Rider and Part II is Education of the Horse. They are closely tied in procedure and terminology so that if you want to learn to do something, like a turn on the haunches, Part I tells the rider what to do and Part II tells the rider what to train the horse to do in exactly the same terms and manner. A huge amount of the training literature fails to do this. It is one of the greatest strengths of the program.
Guilherme is offline  

Quick Reply

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the The Horse Forum forums, you must first register.

Already have a Horse Forum account?
Members are allowed only one account per person at the Horse Forum, so if you've made an account here in the past you'll need to continue using that account. Please do not create a new account or you may lose access to the Horse Forum. If you need help recovering your existing account, please Contact Us. We'll be glad to help!

New to the Horse Forum?
Please choose a username you will be satisfied with using for the duration of your membership at the Horse Forum. We do not change members' usernames upon request because that would make it difficult for everyone to keep track of who is who on the forum. For that reason, please do not incorporate your horse's name into your username so that you are not stuck with a username related to a horse you may no longer have some day, or use any other username you may no longer identify with or care for in the future.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:


Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.

Old Thread Warning
This thread is more than 90 days old. When a thread is this old, it is often better to start a new thread rather than post to it. However, If you feel you have something of value to add to this particular thread, you can do so by checking the box below before submitting your post.

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Gaited horses Bearkiller Horse Breeds 18 08-23-2011 11:49 AM
Just got my first gaited horse and need some advice sheawhittet Gaited Horses 23 03-10-2010 12:07 PM
Gaited Horses BluMagic Horse Training 32 02-26-2008 09:42 AM
Kentucky Mountain Horses ( Gaited horses) morningsidefarms Tack and Equipment Classifieds 2 01-05-2008 03:34 PM

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome