Walkers 101? - Page 2

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Walkers 101?

This is a discussion on Walkers 101? within the Gaited Horses forums, part of the Horse Breeds category

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    05-26-2010, 02:27 PM
Green Broke
Excellent Post!! Very informative and very well written, free form naive assumption and overt opinionation.
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    05-26-2010, 02:36 PM
The Poster Horse for abusive practices remains the Walker, as people in that breed engage in some truly horrific methods to obtain a “running walk.”

Read more: http://www.horseforum.com/gaited-horses/walkers-101-a-55782/#ixzz0p3eih2w7

I could not disagree more. The well bred walkers that I have ridden will gait from birth in the field with no coersion. Others need to start with a flat walk and work up to a running walk. The major difference in the gait is speed. While I can say that some big lick barns have abused horses in the past but that is for action, not speed. But since Big Lick is going the way of the dinosaur, its not even worth mentioning. A flat shod, plantation style walker is trained to refine gaits...and if you consider asking a horse to extend the walk is abuse...you should see what dressage people do to the trot!
    05-26-2010, 02:45 PM
Green Broke
Thank you for that lovely post, Guilherme! Very helpful! I'll save that one to the desktop for future reference.
    05-26-2010, 05:02 PM
Originally Posted by Brighteyes    
Thank you for that lovely post, Guilherme! Very helpful! I'll save that one to the desktop for future reference.
De nada!!!

If you've not gotten Lee Ziegler's book then please do so. I learned a lot of what I know from reading her work and speaking with her.

Be very careful of what you get from the Gaited Horse Sense site and Gaits of Gold. While there is some good information there you will also find some real dangeous stuff.

One of the sad truths about Walkers is that what's under saddle today was planned in the breeding shed 4-6 years ago. So if (note the conditional) the Walker breeders are, in fact, changing their ways and the Big Lick is going the way of the dinosaur we've still got a boatload of "inventory" with some real questionable breeding behind it. I'm a 20 year veteran of the Soring Wars and I've seen the "industry" swear to amend it's ways on three separate occasions. Nothing has ever changed over the long term.

Work the horse and see what it will give you. Ride a Walker the way you'd ride any good horse. Good luck with your critter!!!

    05-28-2010, 12:10 AM
It easyer to tell gait difference under saddle than it is to watch. For me atleast

(rode/showed tennessee walkers for 2 years) it was fun. Didnt like the way they were shod or trained tho.
    05-29-2010, 01:56 PM
Originally Posted by Guilherme    

Third, the rider has to learn to ride. Go to a trail ride with lots of gaited horses and you’ll see plenty ridden by what’s best described as the “old sack of wheat” rider. They’re not riding, they’re just sitting there. They are often devotees of the “kick and jerk” school of equitation. You can imagine how this will affect way of going.

G's entire post was excellent, but I just wanted to highlight the above because it is something I have seen a LOT.

There are many, many owners of gaited horses out there who think that having a horse that moves swiftly and smoothly means that they (as a rider) do not actually have to be good riders.

As we go into a long holiday weekend, the riding trails and campgrounds will be FULL of people who fit that description. They give no thought to their own positioning in the saddle, or the total amount of weight their horse is being expected to carry during the ride.

So, in addition to the weight of the rider and (often poorly-fitted) saddle, the horse frequently has to carry the weight of saddle bags full of beer and ice. The saddle bags may get lighter during the day, but the trade-off is that the rider becomes even more deadweight.

There is often a lot of bragging amongst them about how fast their horses can go, but often what I see is that their horses are moving at a rack or pace rather than a true "running walk."

Happily, I don't see those particular people more than once a year or so. . .sadly, they are almost always on a new horse and don't speak of the whereabouts of their previous horses.
    05-29-2010, 02:27 PM
I totally agree JB. Unfortunatly smooth gaited horses attract the untrained rider because of the comfort that a walker gives. It really is sad, some of the best trained horses I've known have been gaited, they are all versitle and yet they usually end up in the hands of someone who could care less about refining gaits or leg yeilding. They just wanna get on and go. We have a rescue horse who is a well bred SSH whos gaits were totally blown. He was pacy and spooky and we were told to 'give him a try but he's beyond repair'. Only to find out the person that owned him rode him 3 times a year and knew nothing about horses, let alone gaited. He's now back to having consitant gaits and though he spooks, he no longer bolts. He may, in fact, have been one of 'those peoples' old horses...we hear she has another horse, a RMH, now. :(
    06-09-2010, 10:53 PM
Green Broke
Got to ride her for the first time yesterday!

Everything went great! She's a saint! I mean, the horse in front of us was pitching a fit and she didn't even raise her head. Very sweet. I like her a lot.

I'm going to be riding her in the NATRC clinic soon, so I'm going to have days to just practice and get to know her, to make sure I like her. It's like a full lease without paying!

The only concern is how fast her regular walk is. Walking horse, yes, but I couldn't get her to slow down to a normal speed for more than a few steps. Is walking fast just natural for them, or am I being too passive with my half-halts? (Keep in mind I was trying to slow her to Quarter Horse pace.)
    06-10-2010, 12:33 AM
Im so glad you like her! Its nice to get one with limited issues every now and then...(they all have some, walkers and 'regular' horse alike!)

As far as her regular walk goes its like any other horse. Scooter, our current walker, pokes along at a QH pace. Other walkers I've ridden have stayed right at the edge of a flat walk at all times. She might just need some practice...if she doesn't mind staying at the end of the line, id keep her there for a while just to let her know how you like your pace. I don't know her background but she may have been a pull and kick trail rider for a while so she might have to adjust to more skilled manuvers like half-halts and such. She sounds truely lovely! How bout' those walker gaits tho eh? How do you like that so far?
    06-10-2010, 01:18 AM
Green Broke
She's a little hard mouthed and isn't trained to move off leg pressure (freaks out a bit every time I touch her), I'm guessing that she was owned by a pusher-kicker at one time. Not too big of a thing to deal with, being that I've ridden many horses who were like that. A few weeks and a little work should smooth that out.

As far as the gaits... Brilliant! I thought I was going to miss trotting. I was mistaken. So. Smooth. The only other walkers I've ridden were a little pace-y, so I expected a little bumping, but, to my great suprise, I could have sat perfectly in the saddle drinking a glass of champagne without spilling a drop. And my friend who was riding with me was stuck on a jack hammer of a Quarter Horse. I feel lucky.

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