How old should a TWh be to develop a gait - The Horse Forum

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post #1 of 14 Old 10-11-2013, 09:57 PM Thread Starter
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How old should a TWh be to develop a gait

Howdy All,
I have a two year old TWH that I have been working with. She rides great, turns, stops, backs up like a dream. I have had several walkers over the years but never one this young. I am trying to develop a good gait on her. She is in and out of it. I have done a lot of reading lately and many folks are saying don't worry about the gait until she is around five. Does this sound reasonable to y'all? I am also very open to any good suggestions on how to keep her in step.
Many Thanks Good People.
KennyT

Last edited by KennyT; 10-11-2013 at 10:00 PM.
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post #2 of 14 Old 10-16-2013, 06:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KennyT View Post
Howdy All,
I have a two year old TWH that I have been working with. She rides great, turns, stops, backs up like a dream. I have had several walkers over the years but never one this young. I am trying to develop a good gait on her. She is in and out of it. I have done a lot of reading lately and many folks are saying don't worry about the gait until she is around five. Does this sound reasonable to y'all? I am also very open to any good suggestions on how to keep her in step.
Many Thanks Good People.
KennyT
Hi Kenny,
I have two walkers 4 and 6 years old. My gelding was started lightly at 5 years old and we are just now getting serious under saddle. Last winter he grew from 15 hands to 16.2 within the span of 4 months. His body changed dramatically! He was very lateral and pacey and now his running walk is one of the smoothest I've ever ridden! That said the best advice I ever got from a gaited trainer was to WALK! WALK! WALK! Slow walk, fast walk, ect, ect. Your mare is still a baby at 2. So don't expect perfect gaiting! Or, anything more than her to be " in and out of it" It takes time and practice for them to develop the muscles they need to gait and at 2 she is trying to get comfortable with her ever changing body. I had very good results with riding my greenies with mature gaited horses. They catch right on!
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post #3 of 14 Old 10-17-2013, 07:42 PM
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Ditto Appymom

Some do get their legs un-tangled faster than others but it still takes them awhile.

Also, as Appymom commented, it is not uncommon for them to have a sudden and big growth spurt right when you think they're done growing.

My Generator-bred gelding had a huge growth spurt between 6 & 7 years.

What I might suggest is to watch the horse you're training at liberty. Get her to move out in the pasture or arena, with nothing on her. Watch her leg movement.

When her leg movement stops being gangly/all in a tangle and she starts moving with fluidity, she is getting her legs co-ordinated with her gaiting birth right.

When one of my TWH's was a youngin', he would get his legs in such a twist in the pasture, that I marveled how he even stood up He was coming four, by the time he grew out of that and he did have a beautiful, natural running walk under saddle.

I also agree to walk walk walk walk walk and walk some more.

My apologies but I do not agree with starting a 2 year old under saddle - never have and never will, unless it's being worked from the ground

A Good Horseman Doesn't Have To Tell Anyone; The Horse Already Knows.
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post #4 of 14 Old 10-18-2013, 10:44 AM
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I agree with what everyone has said so far.

I bought my TWH at age 3 /12, and he was broken only about six months before I bought him, and lightly ridden. I would go so far as to say that was too soon. Especially when he grew from 15.2 to 16.2 as a 5 year old.

He really didn't display a good runningwalk until he was 5 1/2 years old. He would 'gait', but it was sloppy and inconsistent- and his canter was akin to the old comic dog Marmaduke. Amazing he didn't tie his legs up in a knot lol

You'd never know it now, though- he gaits like a dream and has filled out so you'd never recognize him from his younger years. He's also Generator bred, like walkinthewalk's horse, so maybe they mature much later than other lines. But I've been around TWH's for awhile now, and I haven't seen one really mature before the age of 5.
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post #5 of 14 Old 10-18-2013, 01:31 PM
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Ohhh... Those Generator bred walkers! My guy is Prides Generator with Ebony Masterpiece and a few others thrown in there. Has a wonderful temperment, solid mind and gaits like he was born to do! If he weren't so smart maybe he could stop getting into so much trouble!

That said, Walkinthewalk is spot on with my opinion that 2 year olds are still babies and shouldn't be started under saddle. I would wait another year at least and maybe two depending on the horse. Groundwork introducing a saddle and bridle maybe even a 10 to 20 minute ride around the round pen a couple times a week but that's about it for anything under 4 at my house. I do 3 to 4 hour rides in the back country-mountains. Starting them before they are physically (and mentally) mature enough and you end up with a horse that is going to break down.
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post #6 of 14 Old 10-18-2013, 01:52 PM
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I would say that you should see signs of gait by 6-7mo out on pasture. As far as under saddle I wouldnt get too concerned about a consistent gait until their 2nd year undersaddle. There is a certain amount of muscle memory involved, I feel like most folks push too hard for the faster gaits and promote pacey ,trotty horses.

Jim
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post #7 of 14 Old 10-18-2013, 07:32 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks everybody for responding. She can strut her stuff in the pasture, I think its just a matter of time and patience.
Once again, many thanks.
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post #8 of 14 Old 10-21-2013, 06:16 PM
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My mare was 2 when I got her and she had a solid flat walk...I started training her at 3 and it took us a few months to get a run walk...that being said it was my first walking horse so she probably would have been a lot faster under someone with more experience. She is now 5 and since she was 4...unless she is sore she never goes out of gait, ever. It took some time and a lot of dog walk and flat walk to build their muscling up. That seems to be the general thing for the typical walker.

That being said. We bred 4 mares this past year all show winning horses in flat shod classes (my mare included) to a flat shod stud and each and every one of those foals has a flat walk and a runwalk in the pasture and have pretty much from day one. It is actually amazing to see the little guys coming in together with their little head bobs and natural movement. I like to this this is TWH moving in the right direction and away from the pacey pad breeding.

Anyways, that is my experience with training. :)
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post #9 of 14 Old 10-21-2013, 07:23 PM
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"I also agree to walk walk walk walk walk and walk some more."

Is plain baloney. Ditto, if they gait or don't gait in the field is irrelevant to what they will do under saddle.

If they are not natural at the get go I don't want them, PERIOD. Yes, you can teach them the gaits, but why should you spend all that extra time and effort when there are so many good, naturally gaited stock available at very reasonable prices(much less than the cost of training one to gait). If they are naturally gaited they will gait anytime you start them under saddle, and you may or may not, see them gait in the pasture.

If you have to train gait, the odds of needing to continue training for gait are very high.

Bob
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post #10 of 14 Old 10-22-2013, 08:34 AM
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I don't know much about training a gait on a horse but when I had my first paso finos they were about a year old and they would gait on their own when we were refining the gait it was pretty much just to make him drop his legs faster
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