Really new to gaited horses - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 16 Old 07-08-2010, 02:30 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Canada
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Thanks for that!

She does have a little bit of trouble striking the canter on the lunge right now. I've been told by a previous owner ( a couple of owners ago) that she never used to. She doesn't neccessarily gait on the line though (occasionally she has), generally she will try and "run" the trot into the canter (which I will then slow her down and try again).

As far as we know she's never had any "formal" training to gait. This is something she's doing, to the best of my knowledge, because she feels it's more natural for her. She is very laterally inclined - something many of the coaches her leasor has worked under have mentioned.

She is trimmed to fit her conformation... not to suit a particular "style". I have no idea if this has been the case her whole life, but for the past 3-5 years I know this to be true. (I use the same trimmer as the lady we got her from did)

Her saddle fit has been assessed by a professional and has been deemed "as good as it gets without spending big $$ on a custom saddle". Right now her biggest issue is a lack of topline, making any saddle fit difficult.

I'm not a fan of Chiros in people... originally I thought that was my only option for the horse (in my area anyhow), but it sounds like we have come across a massage therapist/ myofascial/naturopathy practitioner who has agreed to come and assess and adjust her if needed. *yay* I'd just feel better if someone took a look.

Conformationally she's "correct" as far as the breed is concerned. She comes from top bloodlines, has been used as a broodmare and has produced some very high quality foals. That said... she does have the typical hindquarter for the breed, and though isn't as long in the back as some, she's far from having a "short" back too.

Her rider does contribute to the issue, sometimes. Like all riders she's not always totally correct - but nor is she really creating the problem most of the time either. I do find that as she gets frustrated the horse gaits more... so part of it may be a tension issue as well.

We'll have her assessed, then just keep working on gently asking for what we want. If she's determined to gait, I'll have a TERRIFIC trail horse (because she is the most comfortable thing going, and has a really solid mind!) and beginner friendly walk/trot mount and I'm really OK with that (was why I actually wanted her... her recent excursions into the hunter/dressage arenas have been because the leasor wanted to try).
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post #12 of 16 Old 07-08-2010, 02:40 PM
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Kentucky
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Is your horse registered? What's his registered name(I'll look him up)?

A natural gaited Saddlebred is almost never shown in five gaited classes. (I know of one showing right now who came from the very competitive speed racking circuit who is now in 5G classes). In any Saddlebred the trot is the most important gait. Only a few are "worthy" of being five-gaited. A natural gaited horse will have the tendency to mix his gears, and might get to the point where you lose the trot. Essentially, it is easier to teach a trotting horse to rack than a gaited horse to trot(horse in this instance means ASB). They all have the natural ability to learn to rack, though some are better suited for it.

I can think of a few things that might be partially to blame for this canter issue. Pain. Unfitness(being lazy). Confusion.

If you are not asking how the horse knows, then he might just try anything until he gets it right. I know a gelding who gaits whenever he gets confused, or worried. "Ahh!! I don't know what you want so... slow gait!" Horses are lazy creatures. They will always try to go back to what is easiest for them. My five gaited mare, would try to break into a canter when she got tired or lazy at the rack. "This is WORK. I'm going to canter." And of course pain. It might cause discomfort or pain somewhere to balance a rider and canter. I would check back pain, and I would also check to see if he had ever been foundered or has any pain in his feet, as this could also discourage the canter. It would discourage the trot too. It is just something to add to your check list. You could try giving him some pain meds and see if that helps. If it gets better, you may have found your root.

As for feet, if you want to discourage the rack, look into your angles and length of foot, front vs. back.

Were either of your horses(the OP and the other one who posted about canter issues) started as saddleseat horses? Knowing that might help.

Other than that, I'd say post your question on There are many people there who can help you with your issues including many trainers of all seats, who have trained and transitioned Saddlebreds for and from all different areas. They can tell you just about anything you need to know.

Good luck!
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post #13 of 16 Old 07-08-2010, 02:45 PM
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Ooh didn't see your last reply, and forgive me for calling her "him". I'm on my phone and unable to go back and reference.
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post #14 of 16 Old 07-08-2010, 03:48 PM Thread Starter
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She is "Taking Chances" - I actually have an ASHA membership... it never occurred to me to look for a show record LOL
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post #15 of 16 Old 07-14-2010, 12:33 AM
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Henderson, Texas
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Hey I don't know your particular horse but if my MFT wants to get pacey or gaity coming down from the canter I might try using groung poles. For instance placing poles (landscape timbers whatever) in a 60 ft circle ten feet apart or closer depending on how pacey my horse is and trot her over the poles. When I move up to the canter, canter around the outside of the circle, when bringing her down from the canter move back over the poles.

It is a good tool for muscle memory at least. The poles just sort of force your horse to get square.
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post #16 of 16 Old 07-14-2010, 10:56 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks, maybe we'll try that!
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