Need help getting my TWH in her gaits!

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Need help getting my TWH in her gaits!

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    11-13-2011, 07:16 PM
Need help getting my TWH in her gaits!

I have a 3 year old TWH mare that I am having a lot of trouble getting into her gaits. I'm pretty new to getting a horse into their different gaits & all I know right now is to keep her head in a higher position to encourage gaits. When my dad lunges her she will get into them but when I ride her she will barely get into them & if she does it's only for a moment then it's back to a bumpy ride. I actually don't even know what TWHs gaits are called, just that they're smooth (yea it's kind of embarrassing). I know she is gaited & she's registered with a good pedigree, it's just me I guess, or maybe both of our inexperiance combined? Also I think I'm confusing her to, after I get her moving faster with my feet I pull back slightly on the reins to get her head placed better, which makes her think I want her to slow back down, which makes sense. An older TWH I rode I could get into its gaits by doing what I mentioned, but of course that horse knew what I was asking from it. I just have no clue how to get her to know that's what I want her to do & I don't really understand why she won't naturally get into her gaits when ridden but will while lunged. I'm definitely inexperienced & I'm sure it's probably more me than her but I have no idea where to start so any advice or tips would be really appreciated!

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    11-13-2011, 08:03 PM
Green Broke
How much head pulling up and bit contact does she have when your dad is lunging her and she is gaiting fine ?........think on that for a minute.
    11-13-2011, 08:10 PM
Green Broke
I like walkers as trail horses, are you trying to get her to move out on the trail or do flashy steps for the show ring ?
She should just have a natural smooth gait wich is faster than a QH walk but slower than a trot. And the a run/ walk which is faster than a normal trot but not a canter. That bit you are using has a huge amount of leverage. Something I am not a big fan of. Not sure why people feel the need to throw those huge bits in Walkers. Get a basic short shank curb bit, and teach her to neck rein. Keeping a tight rein on cross country terrrain is a recipe for snatching the heck out your horses mouth when you hit a bump.
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    11-13-2011, 08:26 PM
She is just a trail horse, I'm not a big fan of most of the training methods used to train show walkers. Also I don't know much about bits at all so am more than willing to change it if it needs to be, what bit would you recommend? I know she is gaited & I've seen her do it, I just am having trouble getting her to do it while riding in a faster pace than just walking. While actually trail riding it doesn't bother me & maybe she does it more then, I don't really ask her to go fast on the trails. Just while on a road or straight stretch I sometimes get her going faster & that's when I can't get her in her smooth gaits. Thank you for your reply, everything said is helpful!
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    11-13-2011, 08:30 PM
Oh sorry I just saw what bit you suggested, thank you I will definitely look at them, my horse's comfort is very important to me. Also I keep my reins fairly loose while trail riding, the only time they're tight is when I'm specifically trying to get her into her smooth gait, which is almost never during when I'm just trail riding her.
how much head pulling up and bit contact does she have when your dad is lunging her and she is gaiting fine ?........think on that for a minute.
That's a good point, I'm honestly not sure if I've ever tried getting to her smooth gait without trying to get her head in place. The of reason I even do that is because that's how I was told to do it with another horse, but they're all different.
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    11-13-2011, 08:35 PM
Maybe I misread it... but which gait are you trying to get her to do? I can help on the rack (obviously for anyone who knows my horse ), but never done a running walk.
    11-13-2011, 08:39 PM
Any of them that are smooth lol! I don't know the actual names of the gaits TWHs have (think I'll go look it up now) so any advice you have on how you get your horse into their's (rack?) is very appreciated, I'm pretty much starting from square one on this haha...
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    11-13-2011, 08:42 PM
Ok so the TWH is a 3 gaited horse, with the flat walk, running walk (rack??) & the canter? Please correct me if I'm wrong...
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    11-13-2011, 08:47 PM
Dude it's cool, I remember first trying to figure out the gaits too, it's tricky sometimes. First you should probably figure out which gaits she has, I'm not familiar with gaits all that much outside the rack.

Racking Gait

That helped me out a lot starting out.

Now... what works for Indie and I (so I'm not saying it'd work for everyone, but my personal experience is what I got to work on here.), is pretty simple. I ride in either a full cheek snaffle, mechanical hack or a halter. When asking for a rack, I sit up in my seat a little more- more on my crotch than you usually would for western. I then stiffen up the reins a bit... not TIGHT, but enough so I can conversate with Indie a little better (and not riged either, I keep a motion with her head so that I am not constantly pulling.). Once I have her attention, I nudge my heels into her side until she starts speeding up, I then collect the reins and hold her back just enough to soften her into the rack. Once she is steady in the gait I loosen the reins back up and let her have free motion of her head, however for Indie I have to keep a reminder with my heels occasionally bumping her into speeding because she likes to be lazy and slow down on her own.

The most difficult part is keeping the rack going, specially if the horse isn't used to it for long periods of time. After season breaks, I find that I often either have to slow down, or speed up mid-Rack to keep it from going into a bone jarring trot.

Once you learn the movement of your horse and their patterns- catching them breaking the rack and into a trot becomes easier and you can correct it before it happens.

I always like to reward a well done and consistant rack with a break, but that's just me personally x)

I do hope that helps some.
    11-13-2011, 09:00 PM
Oh yes that was very helpful, so it seems the slight tension on the reins works for you to. That may be where I'm messing up, if she starts getting smooth I keep the reins that way, I've never loosened up on them like you said to do. The "bone jarring trot" is exactly what Miley does once she falls out of her gait. I believe most of the times that I do get her smooth, however how brief lol, she's gone into a flat walk (the slowest gait they have?) but I have gotten her in the 2nd gait or at least the next fastest gait & never the canter. It seems there are several verities of the 2nd gait or running walk & I have no clue which one she has. Videos should help me figure that out
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