^^ Maybe I need to make myself more clear. First of all, I have no experience in Iceys, but I have heard that they are multi gaited[trot,tolt,canter,etc].Idk if that is right but that is what I have heard..TWHs, SSHs,etc, don't trot unless they are at liberty. [ie. In pasture with no rider]People have gotten their gaited horses to trot, but it IS NOT a good idea. Horses are creatures of habit--they might get it into a habit. I do not however, agree with changing bits. I only put that on there for ppl that are desperate. A shank creates leverage, raising their heads, making it EASIER for them to gait. Personally, I prefer a snaffle or halter. A trot for a TWH, is not normal--therefore, when they DO do it, it is most likely going to be hard and bumpy and unpracticed. For a gaited horse (maybe not Iceys) a gait is completely NATURAL. That is what most gaited ppl will say, and it is true.
Yes they are. And the gait is natural to them too, they (many of them) do all of their gaits in liberty, bot trot and rack/tölt, some trot more and other rack more etc tho. :P
It's not a good idea - if you don't want the trot
. But the trot itself isn't bad for the horse, just inconvenient for the rider. And there are good things with trot, that complements/helps the gait. And there are ways to teach the horse to gait when it should gait, and trot when it should trot. But I'm starting to doubt if it's worth the hassle :P And if the horse trots at liberty it's certanly a natural gait for them, isn't it? But I also agree with you that they should gait willingly without any sharp methods or bits, since the gait too is natural. And the rider can decide not to trot, I don't think it's a bad idea, but the trot itself isn't bad for the horse, or impossible, or destroys the gait. It just need more work.
Also, all gaits, first time performed under a rider, is unbalanced before it's practiced and trained. The gait might be easier for the horse to first balance in since it's smoother (= no unbalanced rider) and different than the trot, and thus they chose it at first. But it's not more - or less - natural than the trot. Both are natural in a naturally gaited horse.
I don't think the horse should gait with that lifted head, maybe as a help in the start, but the raised neck does mean a lowered back = a weak back and bad collection.. anyway, that's a completely different story, and of course you can't demand a collected, perfect gait immediatly. Just my opinion. :) That would be like asking for a piaff in the first time in saddle :P
I agree with you with the bits, I probably wasn't clear. Personally I think a horse should be able to ride with any bit, r bitless, you choose. But they have different effects and can be more or less helpful.
(Edit: I think all green horses would prefer to gait instead of trot if they just knw how to do it.. trotting a green horse is far from balanced and nice.. x__X Even the non-gaited)