Walking horse help - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 13 Old 10-09-2009, 12:11 AM Thread Starter
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Walking horse help

I just wondered if anyone could help me with my friends walking horse. I have a saddlebred, and pretty much know nothing about walking horses, and she wants to start to show him. She would like to do both western and saddleseat. I will try to get some pictures of him and post them if i can figure out how too. I'm also trying to find the pictures from the one horse show we went too.

So here we go... I need to know what we can do to get him to flex and set his head, and also what is the proper head set for a walking horse? I've looked at a lot of the pictures and have a picutre in my head of what i think it's supposed to look like. He has a really straight neck, like my friend looked at one of his pictures and had no idea he was a walking horse. Right now she is riding him in a smooth snaffle.

I have a hard time trying to tell the differnce between the gaits. I can tell for sure when he is pacey, and racking, but that is about it. She said she has a hard time getting him to uh... flat walk i think. i've been trying to read on some websites and stuff, but she wants him to get his head set without using any "contraptions". I know what to do with my saddlebred, but don't want to do anything with him that would hinder is gait, and mess him up. Should i add he is the most pig headed horse in the world, i thought my saddlebred was pig headed. Any advise would be great cause i'm kind of in the dark, and she just wants to show at our small local shows nothing big. I mean any advise on bits, what she should do on the ground, in saddle, anything will help.

Oh don't know if it matters but he is ten and has only been trail ridden, and pretty much has never been asked to set his head or anything.
SaddlebredGrl is offline  
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post #2 of 13 Old 10-09-2009, 06:16 AM
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Most of the Tennesse Walkers who show have a natural overstride. When he travels in his gait, his back hoof should land at least 12 inches ahead of the front.

However, she could show him western, or in trail classes, there are other fun classes for TWH whose owners are unwilling to sore, or abuse their horses (sorry, I hate TWH trainers who hurt their horses).

Maybe if you quit thinking he is pig headed, he will quit acting pig headed LOL

When my husband calls me a bi#$@#$%, he gets one....
Susan Crumrine is offline  
post #3 of 13 Old 10-09-2009, 12:31 PM Thread Starter
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Ok first off, if you read the entire post it's not my horse, and therefore i don't ride him, and so i don't know how me thinking he is pig headed is going to make any difference.

This is what i'm seeing from the ground, and maybe pig headed is the wrong description.

Maybe i'll reword my post, and maybe someone can point me to other posts that might help.

My friend has an 10yr old TWH that she has been doing parelli with and trail riding for the past 6 years. She just bought him last year and has decided she wants to show him, at SMALL local shows, where the horses are shown in some non abusive walking horse classes! She is a memeber of some organization that actually comes out and inspects the horse to make sure it's not being sored! She would like to show him both english pleasure and western pleasure. I just want her to be able to show him and he actually look nice, right now the horse will not flex, or give his nose or anything, and i think it's because he has never been asked to do any of this.

So if anyone has any advise of how to start him getting to get his flat walk down, and his other gaits that would be great. I also would like some advise on how someone works their pleasure walking horse. Anything would be helpful pictures or links to other places that has training advise. She would like to take him to a walking horse barn that is a member of her organization but she doesn't have the money and they are all far away. I'm just trying to help her out.

I do not belive in soring, and never have.
SaddlebredGrl is offline  
post #4 of 13 Old 10-09-2009, 03:45 PM
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I think the issues with flexing are just general training issues...as far as getting a flat walk down...I have no idea. It's supposed to come naturally, as well as the running-walk. I'm sure there are lots of ways to enhance the gaits, but they should be born with the basic gaits. He really shouldn't be racking or pacing, although I think a few people on here have TWH's that sometimes pace...but I'm not sure.

Does he bob his head when he walks? I have seen people hold their walkers heads back way to tight, which hinders their gait. A good piece of advice I once heard (and I think it's true) is that if a TWH can't bob its head while gaiting, he's not doing it right.

Sorry I can't really help much, my horse only trail rides. :(
Lori1983 is offline  
post #5 of 13 Old 10-09-2009, 10:30 PM
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Here is some general advice ( I am no trainer):

Though the horse may be a TWH - he may or may not do the signature runwalk gait. Many a TWH with step pace, rack or such.

IF he does do a run walk gait - you should not restrain or confine the head into a "head set." That is because the horse will nod his head down as he does his gait. Contact with the bit will more or less be on and off as the horse nods his head down. If you trap the head either up or down you will end up with rack or pace or step pace.

Here is a link to a pretty good place to get familiar with the running walk:


Here is a pretty good example of a few nodding head sets:

YouTube - HannahPulvers's Channel Sorta high head set horse. At the end you can see how the trainer is on/off the bit to influence his gait and to a small degree his head - and you can hear the nice 4 beats....

YouTube - utahkimi's Channel A moderate head set & slight head nod... One of my fav videos of the fine easy gait of the TWH! Bareback pad & snaffle.

Deeper head nod.

Recent Reserve Champion Trail Pleasure
hurleycane is offline  
post #6 of 13 Old 10-09-2009, 11:57 PM
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Ok first of all, not all walkers have a strong head bob, yes it is "desired" but not a requirement. My boyfriends registered walker has hardly any head bob and he was successfully shown. As far as enhancing the gaits and teaching the flat walk if you go to GaitedHorses.com | Gaited Horses | Rescue Horses | Horses Saddles | Quarter Horses For Sale they have WONDERFUL and descriptive articles, definantly check that site out...its helped me a lot with my spotted saddle horse. there are many many ways to enhance the gaits and get proper headset without "devices" or "contraptions" also kimberwick bits are good for gaited horses, most walker horses, and my personal favorite the Imus Comfort Gait Bit is a miracle worker for me...they have a forum too all about gaited horses, with several specialists on it as well as a bunch of good articles once again against all abuse and short cuts. that site is Brenda Imus Gaited Horse Info and Products

its a longer process to actually train the gait and headset but its better than the short cuts you can take with "training aids" and "gadgets"

hope that helps a little bit
charlene1985 is offline  
post #7 of 13 Old 10-10-2009, 12:08 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks a bunch i'll look into those bits, and articles. He doesn't bob his head very much at all. I'm going to get some picture hopefully this weekend. I'm still looking for his pictures from the show, which he was extremely overweight, and which might have hindered him a little. I appreciate the advise, and will keep you updated.
SaddlebredGrl is offline  
post #8 of 13 Old 10-10-2009, 12:21 AM Thread Starter
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Ok so i finally found a picture from the show, i don't know if this link will work or not:

Sarah Dickerson Photography - E-mail Address Required

oh i guess you have to log in, but if you have time after you log in the show is the kc carriage and driving show, and it's class 18 picture four.

This was from june or july i think, and he was extremely overweight he is know slimmed down. Give me your opinion.

Last edited by SaddlebredGrl; 10-10-2009 at 12:23 AM.
SaddlebredGrl is offline  
post #9 of 13 Old 10-10-2009, 02:27 AM
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Hi SaddlebredGirl,

I show my TWH in our small local shows. My horse does a rack, though, not the preferred running walk. None of our judges mind, we have several Walking Horses in our saddle club, and they all rack except one, and he does a running walk. If you were to show in a big show, that would be a requirement. I'm pretty sure all the gaiteds are barefoot (or keg-shod) at the local level, and we all hate the padded community. Our saddle club added three gaited classes for us a few years ago, where we simply "Walk" and "Pleasure Gait" (that's what the announcer says). We can also show in the Western GAYP classes, but we aren't supposed to go in the pleasure classes because they require a trot. We can enter them if we want, but they can't pin us because our horses don't do those gaits. I'm not sure about Saddleseat, but I'm sure someone else will be able to help you with that. Our judges helped us out quite a bit when we first started our gaited classes. You friend might be able to do that also before she enters her first Saddleseat class.
Please tell her good luck for me- it's a lot of fun!
luvmytwh is offline  
post #10 of 13 Old 10-10-2009, 06:49 AM
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Good news is he gaits! And good that he is low verses hi on hus head.

The saddle looks popped up in the back - might be too wide and pinching his shoulders.

Might be fixable with a good felt pad... might not.

I would start there - till he is comfortable - not much gonna go right.

He looks like a horse with potential to walk!!! A good thing.
hurleycane is offline  

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