The importance of trotting?

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The importance of trotting?

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  • Does trotting build muscle in horses
  • Importance of trot

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    10-19-2011, 10:51 AM
The importance of trotting?

My boy both trots and gaits (half Paso Fino/half Morgan). If I give him his way, he usually paces.

For almost a year I worked with a (non-gaited/Dressage) instructor, and she spent a lot of time focusing on his trot. She said it was good to work on ALL the gaits, so he could both trot and gait on command.
I was fine with that at the time.

Then she went away for 3 months, and most of that time I worked on his gait (which is still very pacey, but he pretty much stopped trotting completely. And every once in a while we get to just gliding along in a perfect gait.). My priorities changed over that time.

Well, she's back, and I told her I was more concerned with a smooth gait than a trot, but preferred to work with her on things like my seat and body position, lateral movements (leg yields, etc), and working him through obstacles such as gates.
So I had another lesson with her, and she wanted to spend the entire time at the trot. Her claim was that the trot builds their strength for other gaits like the canter, is necessary for a well-muscled horse, and teaches them correct balance.
Obviously, most gaited horses don't trot. But is there any truth to her statement? Are there benefits to trotting over gaiting? Is it beneficial (physically) for a horse to be able to do both?

He was clearly unhappy about being asked to trot in the lesson, and I'm not particularly keen on it myself. But I don't know if she's correct, and that I should continue to build his trot and work through these issues, so that he can do both? Or should I stand firm that I don't want to trot him?
Does it make any difference that he's only half a gaited breed?

I wish I knew a gaited instructor who travels near me - but not having a trailer, my options for instructors are pretty limited
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    10-19-2011, 11:03 AM
Green Broke
You are paying the instructor so you are ultimately the boss, remember that. But you also hired someone that knows more than you specifically because they know more than you. Nothing wrong with learning. But that doesnt mean your instructor is the best fit for you.
    10-19-2011, 11:08 AM
Which is why I'm asking here...

I know she is extremely knowledgeable about Dressage. I also know she knows little about gaited horses. That's why I'm asking here, with people know and understand gaited horses.

If she has a valid point, I'll continue down that path. I don't mind hard, even un-enjoyable, work at times if it's towards my ultimate goal.
I dislike hard work that is pointless.

I don't have enough knowledge to understand which category this falls into.
    10-19-2011, 04:48 PM
Work at the trot can be important, particularly for the very lateral horse. Some gaited horses are so lateral that they cannot effectively canter.

If there is no issue with the canter then I'm not so sure how work at the trot helps other gaits. I'm unsure how it would affect muscling for the intermediate gaits that not a trot. I see no harm in it. Adding a "fourth gear" would allow competition in Dressage or Eventing where the trot in a mandatory gait.

Perhaps asking these questions of the instructor and making sure an answer is given would be a Good Idea.

    10-19-2011, 06:14 PM
I am in the same sort of boat... And my instructor has said to work all gaits equally if I want them to all become/stay solid. Her base is in dressage but she and her mom both work with gaited horses now (and hey, why not... Once you bust the myths you can wind up with the best of all worlds if you don't need to be the world's best)

I have been doing mainly Dressage work for the past few years, though I haven't been showing, since getting this 5 gaited mare I have been slowly learning more about her gaits and enjoying it so much. It has amazed me how similar the styles of riding actually are... Superficial image aside.
    10-19-2011, 06:20 PM
Green Broke
Slighty off and on topic...

My grandpa has always had pacing Standardbreds, but he prefers they trot when they are getting excercised, as it builds different muscle then when they pace.
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    10-21-2011, 01:46 PM
A gait is usually done in a ventroflexed (non-collected) frame. A trot that is done properly, where the horse brings it's back up and rounds itself can be VERY beneficial. My gaited pony will trot and gait. She has separate cues for each and it has helped keep her back stronger in the long run I do believe. I am a heavier rider and she has a slightly long back, so I do everything that is possible to keep her back and tummy muscles strong--and that includes trotting. I AM thankful she has a lovely smooth trot though!
    10-21-2011, 06:03 PM
A horse can be rounded at the walk and canter too... why is trotting better?
    10-21-2011, 07:07 PM
It still works yet a different set of muscles. I also don't canter often myself. Not because I feel it ruins the gait, but because I chose not to. My non-gaited mare rarely gets cantered as well. Most of the area I ride in is not safe to canter.
    10-23-2011, 07:21 PM
I was told by a gaited trainer that walking was better for them than trotting. THe slow collected walk, especially up and down hills, builds the muscles for the run walk. Trotting doesn't.

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