Learning to Trot

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Learning to Trot

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  • Why does a horse rack on when you want him to trot
  • Can a TWH learn to trot

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    06-05-2010, 05:58 PM
Question Learning to Trot

Ok, so, My 7 year old Tennessee Walking Horse knows how to trot. When I first got him, he would rack and trot under saddle, but they were kinda scrambled up and he would switch between trotting and racking. We taught him how to stay in the rack and not switch between, and I have not asked him to trot under saddle since then.
Here's my problem: I'm switching to Saddle seat, and he needs to know how to trot when I ask him. Does anyone have any ideas how teach him to do that?
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    06-05-2010, 08:45 PM
Green Broke
I'm confused.

Why does he need to learn how to trot? TWH typically do not - most CAN, but it's not for showing. And while a TWH is a gaited horse, it's not a "Saddleseat" horse. A Saddleseat horse requires some form of lifted movement such as a Morgan or Arab or Friesian. A TWH would never pass the muster in even an open Saddleseat class? Why would you choose a discipline that doesn't match your breed of horse at all?
    06-05-2010, 09:23 PM
Actually, MANY Tennessee Walking Horses are ridden saddle seat. Saddle seat is just a discipline to show off horses with fashy movement such as gaited horses, Morgans, Arabs, some Friesians, and of course Saddlebreds. I want to learn saddle seat, and we've decided to board at a barn that deals mainly with Saddlebreds. Normally gaited horses would not be asked to trot in actual shows, but for training purposes he needs to learn how to trot on que again.
    06-05-2010, 09:45 PM
When walkers are ridden saddleseat, they are ridden in their gaits. If your saddleseat shows do not support that, I would find another breed related show. Trotting can do permantent damage to your horses gaits.
    06-05-2010, 11:34 PM
Green Broke
^ Agreed. TWH are not a "saddleseat" breed - if they are doing saddleseat, it's to show off their OWN natural movement. Sticking a TWH in a class of Arabs and Saddlebreds and asking him to trot doesn't make sense in my opinion.

In answering, no I don't know how to make him trot. I suggest you buy a breed that does trot instead of trying to mold your horse into something he's not.
    06-06-2010, 10:32 AM
Yes, I understand that Walkers are only asked to gait when being ridden saddle seat. But I am not planning to show him. I want to ride saddle seat for fun. My horse used to trot and rack under saddle. Both. He both trots and racks on the ground. All the time. All his life. 7 years. No damage yet. He trots on his own. He trots in the pasture. He trots in the ring. Trotting will do no damage to his gaits at all. Now all I want to do is train him to trot when I ask him to in the saddle.

Oh and by the way, how the heck am I molding him into something he's not? It's not like I wanna go HUGE in the shows. He'll never be a show horse like that. All I wanna do is ride for fun.
    06-06-2010, 10:36 AM
If all he is doing is racking and trotting and you are considering those his 'gaits' then you have done damage. A walker should flat walk, running walk and canter. THE END. In the 'walker world' a rack or a trot are not really desirable.
    06-06-2010, 01:10 PM
Green Broke

Agreed with corinowalk. TWH don't just do a running walk on their own - it's there, but it must be "nurtured". A TWH that is not encouraged to do his natural gait will resort into trotting, pacing or racking. And after they learn that, trying to teach them a running walk is a royal PITA. My friend's mare will finally do it after about 5 years of trying after she was allowed to pace and trot her whole life and even then, sometimes she'll jump back into pacing.

Just be aware that if he won't trot with you under saddle, there's no way to MAKE him. Regardless of what he does in the pasture, he needs to learn to do it under saddle and constantly messing with a horses gaits is a good way to screw him up. The only possible way I can think of is to ask him to move out from a walk, and begin posting - if he tries to rack, rein him back a little bit and continue a posting motion to encourage him.

Trotting is the only gait that is diagonal as opposed to lateral such as racking, pacing, running walk, etc. Hence why it is difficult for TWH to do - they are lateral moving horses, and it makes sense why he would confuse the trot and rack. Trotting just flat out is NOT comfortable for most TWH - most learn to pace or rack as opposed to trot if not being asked to do a running walk.
    06-06-2010, 05:38 PM
Corinowalk, yes, you're right, my bad, I used the term racking because I'm way too lazy to type out running walk and flat walk. He does do them both, but I normally ask him to do a running walk and I got into the habit of calling it a rack. And I really don't care one bit what the walker world considers desirable.

He used to trot under saddle before, that's why I know he can. I worked with poles today and he trotted over them. I asked him to flat walk and he did. I asked him to running walk and he did. He's not screwed up. It's done no damage.
    06-06-2010, 11:16 PM
I am actually surprised they would 'require' you to teach the horse to trot when that gait is not 'natural' for him...he's been bred to gait, not 'trot'... And a show certainly will not require you to trot him, if he's not a normal gaited breed; he would be expected to gait.

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