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Just got my first gaited horse and need some advice

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        02-27-2010, 08:49 PM
      #21
    Green Broke
    Thanks so much everyone for the info. Luckily I own several different saddles, so I think I will try different ones on my Foxtrotter until I find the one she goes best in.

    I have one more question. If gaited horses don't really collect, how do I know if I have her in the right frame and not ventroflexed? For instance, my Mustang will tuck his head in and really get nice and rounded up and his trot will get smoother. I call that collection, at least for my level of riding ability. (I'm just a trail rider).

    So how do I know if I have my mare going okay? If I can find the intermediate gait and hold it there for a little bit, do I know if I have found the correct position for both of us?
         
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        02-28-2010, 09:47 AM
      #22
    Weanling
    Trailhorserider, you ask a valid question.

    You seem to have a sound base of experience in trotters. So I must ask a question: Can you feel a trotting horse if it ventroflexes? If so, the feel on a gaited horse is just the same. If not, find an instructor to help you develop this feel. Once you know what the horse is doing you can address it (polish it or change it). It's harder to feel in a Western saddle (due to sheer bulk). This might mean some time in an English saddle (a frightening thought to a Western rider ) but the English saddle will allow you a better feel for the horse.

    Also, how do you "collect" your horse? Do you push the horse to the bit or pull the bit to horse? The first method will give you collection; the latter will produce "false" collection. Again, if you've got experience with it you know the feel. If not, get an instructor/coach to help you.

    Forget "frame." That's a competition Dressage concept that has no place in "real world riding." In reality "frame" is about the appearance of the horse to others, not how it is moving. Not much help to the rider or horse, really.

    To "collect" a gaited horse in a bascule, as noted, will mean loss of gait. So to "collect" a gaited horse you want a neutral to just very slightly dorsiflexed back. This will permit the horse to use its back end (where the "motor" is) and will help prevent back soring.

    It will also mean a less smooth ride. A ventroflexed back permits a more lateral gait and that's smoother. This means the rider must ride more effectively to stay comfortable. This means a balanced, centered seat (think Sally Swift or her inspiration, the "Ft. Riley Seat" taught by the Cavalry School from the early 20th Century to the end of the horse cavalry in 1948).

    While I really hate the word for a bunch of reasons, effective riding is a synergistic process. You ride the entire horse, all at the same time. In a training session you might concentrate on one aspect but, at the end of the day, you’ve got to put it all back together again. Way too many “gaited horse gurus” (and other gurus, too) forget this.

    Good luck with your horse.

    Guilherme
         
        02-28-2010, 09:08 PM
      #23
    Foal
    I do find that I have the same issues and questions that you guys are having! And I do find the decussions to be helpful and intersting. Since I have never owned a gaited horse, all the help I can get is worth the while!!! I find that all the different people I talk to have different views but it all seems to find the same meaning..HAVE FUN!!
         
        03-10-2010, 12:07 PM
      #24
    Trained
    Congrats on getting a new friend :)

    I can't offer specific advice without more information, but I can give you a couple tips from owning Rico for so long.

    Paso's will typically bond to one person. There is usually a week or two "Mourning period" for their previous owner. Don't ask too much during this time, just let him get settled and trust you more. They are incredibly loyal and trusting once they get to know you. Rico would've walked off the edge of the earth if I asked him to.

    A lot of gaited horses are incredibly intelligent. Do not underestimate that. I taught Rico to walk, shake his foot, and move off my leg within four days of training. I could'nt dream of doing that with any other horse.

    Good luck!
         

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