Admittedly, I haven't had a lot of experience with gaited horses. I've ridden a few and loved the smooth gaits. So when the horse bug bit me this last time, we looked at our finances and decided that we could afford a horse. I bought a 12-year-old Rocky Mountain gelding who had a lot of show experience, excellent training (for the show ring) and high sensitivity to the mood of his handler.
My confidence was shaken a year ago when an old temperamental horse I was leasing attempted to buck me off TWICE. I did not fall. But the experience stayed with me, along with the fear.
My Rocky has no buck in him (as far as I know). I bought this horse without riding him because I totally trusted the place I was buying him from. I still do. The problem is with me, not my horse. I had a wonderful trainer come out to his barn and she was able to ride him without any problems as well as get me up into the saddle and moving around the round pen at a walk only.
Unfortunately, the barn has a rule about outside trainers. They won't let the boarders bring them in. They have a trainer they've hired who specializes in western pleasure, barrel racing, reining, etc. I haven't been given her contact information.
I want to be able to confidently ride this horse. I already adore him. He listens to me well on the ground. He will back up readily, lift his feet, lower his head when asked. He does try to get away from me in the pasture when I first approach, but not every single time. I can usually catch him in ten minutes or so.
From what I've heard from his original trainer, he's not great on trails. I've thought about hand leading him out a few times before getting into the saddle, but my confidence level is only fit for the round pen at this point.
He really is a great horse. I want this to work out.
The first time I tried to ride him, I was alone. I ended up falling off him because he went into his gait while I was fumbling around for my stirrups. He headed straight towards a fence and took a hard left turn, dumping me in the dirt. Equipment was not adjusted properly, and I have a major problem balancing and/or steering. Even in the round pen with the trainer I had a very hard time keeping him from going into the center of the round pen.
P.S. He's in a plain snaffle.