First post here!
I have bought a gorgeous Rocky Mountain mare, 6 years old, a sweetie, who is fully trained and has lovely head carriage. I named her grace; my avitar is her picture. Grace was finished by a saddleseat rider/trainer out in MO whom I esteem; I live in WV. I bought her sight unseen, and I love her to pieces. Below is a picture of Charles riding her right before I bought her (in her winter coat):
I am solo, without an instructor, and just returning to riding after about 30 years of raising my kids. Back then, I rode saddleseat on 3-gaited pleasure horses (which, as you know, means just walk/trot/canter using a Land Fox flat cutback saddle and a double bridle, basically).
We bought an abandoned mountain farm about two years ago, and after working really hard to bring it back to life, I'm now ready to really dig into the sport. I bought a RMH because I love how they look, that they're easy keepers, that they aren't super tall (Grace is 15.2, and I am 5' 2") and that they have gentle temperaments. I have NO aspirations to show, and as soon as I can FIND the trails around here, my main goal is trailing. BUT: I need to learn how to school a gaited horse! I keep giving her wrong signals that cause her to stop on a dime. I've gotten her into her gait (not sure if it's a pace or amble or... whatever...) and it's butter smooth. She's a willing worker, but I know that I'm confusing her.
Can someone define for a NEWbie what the basic aids are for signaling the gait (pace?) that isn't a trot? Perhaps also hand carriage/contact with her mouth? I'm riding her in the same bit that Charles used: a medium port long-shanked curb bit with curb chain (John Deere Medium Port Long Shank Bit - Statelinetack.com). She is very responsive to the reign, and obeys willingly. But, I really feel like I'm giving her the wrong signals. I don't want to ruin her. Please help?