rocky mountain gait

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rocky mountain gait

This is a discussion on rocky mountain gait within the Gaited Horses forums, part of the Horse Breeds category
  • Kentucky mountain horse paces
  • How to get my rocky mountain horse to gait

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    12-12-2010, 12:28 PM
rocky mountain gait

I am so confused about all of this! I am new to the whole gaited horse breed but love it. Eventually I need to train my Rocky to stay in 'gait' undersaddle and I keep getting conflicting information about it. On the associations website it says a four beat gait. Jacoby does a stepping pace, (while lunging) so does that count? When I read articles about developing the gait however it says that the stepping pace isn't wanted! This is what I read today:

"The stepping pace may actually be smooth, but it's in bad form and is hard on his hocks and stifles. It also hinders your ability to obtain gait consistency.".

I am not looking for how to train him to gait yet, we still have a while to go for that! But when I get there what am I looking for?
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    12-13-2010, 10:17 PM
First and foremost is ground work is accomplished just as with any other horse. Then basic under saddle training, by this I am talking about whoa and go. Our horses on a lunge line and at liberty in the round pen trot, the minute you get them under saddle they will gait. Most Rockies don't come into the ability to maintain a solid constant under saddle 4 beat gait until they are 4 - 5 years old. Until that time it requires a lot of walking up hills down hills and on trails with some light gaiting added in. This all helps build good solid muscle in the right place. Most feel that too much too soon is what leads to gaits such as the step pace since they don't build muscle correctly.

Some people (including myself) prefer to gait on dirt or paved areas as this allows you to hear the 4 beat which is pretty much the same as a normal walk, but when you ask them for more speed it just sounds faster. You will notice the difference. Once you hear it you will know you are in the correct gait.

Also do you know anyone who has an older well gaited horse? They are wonderful teachers. All you do is ride alongside them and most youngsters will match the sound of their hoofbeats.

Hope this helps a bit.
    12-14-2010, 08:24 AM
We have done A LOT of groundwork in the last 6 mos, and I know we have a lot more to do. When he is at liberty and lunging he gaits beautifully. The one time he tried to gait undersaddle he tripped. I figure he just isn't ready and we have a lot more strength training to do.

My question is more, what am I looking for. At liberty he does a stepping pace. Is that what I am looking for? Because the article and other things I have read say that it isn't a desirable gait, but it looks SOOO smooth!
    12-14-2010, 07:56 PM
I am sure he is doing it since it's easy for him, maybe try speeding him up a bit so he goes into a trot. Our trainer says it's easier to get them into a steady honest gait from a trot than a pace.
    12-14-2010, 08:43 PM
He does a trot fine, only under saddle, never free. BUt what IS the "steady honest" gait? Is it the stepping pace?
    12-15-2010, 09:05 AM
What you want is to hear and even 1-2-3-4-1-2-3-4. You do not want a hesitation. A stepping pace is typically more 1-2-- 3-4, 1-2-- 3-4. A lot of horses want to move out at a stepping pace, my trainer calls it "being strung out". It kind of sounds like he needs to figure out how to bring his hind end under him and power off of it. The saying,"the motor is in the back" is true for all breeds IME, but especially so for gaited horses. How old is your Rocky? It can take them a bit to coordinate their balance, especially when carrying a rider.
    12-15-2010, 09:15 AM
He is almost 3 so still just a baby. I have never seen him do anything but a walk - stepping pace, then a canter. When I look online for videos of rockies at gait, they all look like stepping paces to me....have you ever seen a video with the other gait? And what is it called?
    12-15-2010, 10:01 AM
Officially the RMH does a rack or stepping rack as some call it.
Here is a video of CCFs Shiloh(just happens to be brother to my boy,lol). He has a very even gait, if you turn up the sound you can hear the 1-2-3-4.

Here is a video of a UMH/Rocky show. In the video you can see two horses. The second, a black horse, is doing a horrible stepping pace, almost a straight pace. This is a pretty blatant example, but you can see how both feet on one side hit at almost the exact same time.
Your boy is still very young, as you said I think he just needs some time and maturity, and also muscle development to be able to hit a nice even gait. Something that you can do to strengthen his gaiting muscles, surprisingly enough, is walk walk walk. Other breeds are not so much this way but with the Rockys because their gait is basically a fast animated walk you can build muscle by walking. Try some hills, riding in tall grass, etc...
    12-15-2010, 10:12 AM
THANK YOU!! Now I know what to look for. We do a lot of walking now, no hills for us this winter but lots of walking and learning how to whoa! Then to the hills again starting in the spring. Thanks again!
    12-20-2010, 12:02 PM
You want an even four beat gait. It should be 1 . . 2 . . 3 . . 4 not 1,2 . . 3,4 like the stepping pace does. You need to slow him down. First, dog walk him. Let your reins out until he lowers his head as low as he wants it. Walk him in this position for a few days. The dog walk will build a gear box in your horse's hindquarters. After you have established a good, impulsive dog walk, speed him up to a flat walk. All gaited horses should be able to perform the flat walk. Without the flat walk you have no gait. A good way to build a good flat walk is to take him uphill doing the flat walk often. After building both the dog walk and flat walk, you may then start to gait him. Remember to build him up very slowly. This will establish an excellent, impulsive gait.

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