I've recently invested in a wonderfully spirited TWH mare. She's 5.5 years and 15 hands and has a wonderful personality! I don't know if she's typical TWH temperament (as she was in heat when I met her; a little moody at her worst), but what a wonderful ride she was! She's been trained on light-shod and barefoot - any pointers on the best way to maintain a Natural barefoot gait?
I've been doing some reading and research, both in books and online and had a question about saddles and which would be best for a gaited horse and her new gaited-horse owner? I've been looking heavily into treeless saddles, as I've a small frame, but I was wondering about the benefits/disadvantages between each kind of saddle (treesless vs flex-tree vs treed gaited saddle)? I'm kind of new to the riding world in general, but know I will be riding exclusively Western style. I realize you really just have to ride to determine true comfort for both parties (horse and rider), but I need conversation on this beyond what Google searches and texts have to say.
I'll be purchasing a bit from the training farm I purchased her from, but I honestly know very little about bits. Help? I know these horses need to break at the poll and collect themselves, which helps them spring into the full Walker stride while gaiting, and I know some bits are harsher or softer, but I really don't know differences beyond Brand names... and that doesn't help me understand how they work on a gaited horse.
Any pointers on her diet? She's been mostly on pasture with 12% protein/8% fat grain on days she's been trail-ridden or worked really hard, but has been mostly on pasture land in the last 6 months, just being a horse. When I do finally get her shipped to her stable, she'll be on grass and grass hay most of the time with 11%protein/--% fat grain feed. I don't know which would be best for an animal that will be ridden for about eight hours a week, either in a ring or on the trail, nor how many times a day; I need an idea, anyway. I don't plan to show at this time. Nor breed (thank goodness...).
Anything else I should consider? Thanks for your time in reading this post and for your comments.
I'm so excited... I can't wait to see my mare again!