Originally Posted by bweddle
Hi everyone! We recently rescued a coming 4 year old filly from being sent to the slaughter house. The reason given was "I need to downsize my herd". Anyway, Madelyn is a sweet, very smart girl and beautiful too! She is an amber champaign color, but I have no idea what breed/breeds she is. It really doesn't matter though. She and I bonded from the first time we saw each other. She is very special to me, even though we haven't had her long. I saw her gaiting in the pasture the other day and she looked gorgeous. Now, I know very little about gaited horses, but I know I would love to ride Madelyn while she was gaiting like she was. Before that happens though, both she and I will need some training, lol! So, a couple of questions. Will I need special training to ride a gaited horse, since I never have, and will she need a special trainer? Thanks in advance for your help. (P.S. If anyone around northwest Tennessee knows a good trainer, please let me know.)
What's your background and experience? If you've had good quality classical instruction for yourself then I see no real issues. Treat this horse like any other good horse with properly selected, fitted, and adjusted tack. Get a good farrier to trim/shoe the horse to anatomical correctness. I'd do some ground work to see what the horse knows. Has it been "backed?" If not, then you might want to consult a good starter. If it has then climb on and walk around some to get the feel.
Most gaited horses do better riding in contact. This means the Western "loose rein" approach might not be the best way to go at this time. Sit in the middle of the horse with your feet under you (no butt on the cantle and feet on the dashboard). A good example would be Sally Swifts Centered Riding
Gait is more energy intensive than the trot. This means the horse needs a higher level of fitness and strength to perform well. From your background notes I'd bet money this animal is way out of shape. Go slowly and take several weeks to get the horse in shape before you ask much from it.
And it's a four year old. Expect "four year old" behavior. Remember at this age their like human teenagers!!!
For basic work you don't need a "gaited horse trainer" you need a quality
horse trainer who knows what they are about.
Good luck in your project.