I sent my five year old, Red Man, to the trainer to be broke for 60 days. He has roughly 2 weeks left to go.
I really like the trainer, he's gentle and consistent, explains EVERYTHING he uses and why, and puts up with my thousand questions.
Now, Red Man is a Missouri Foxtrotter. He's never been the most 'gaity' of horses, never gaited at liberty or anything (unlike my two year old TWHxMFT Squeaker, who pretty much only gaits, when he trots he gaits). BUT, Red DOES gait.
MY problem is that the trainer has only trotted him that I know of in the first several weeks. He'll pick up that foxtrot, but he won't hold it consistently. His trot is a lot like riding a jackhammer. He has a pretty straight shoulder, so there is no smoothness in the trot. At all. Ever. Never ever. You have to post like a lunatic and use X-TREME MUSCLE POWWWAAA! to keep hold when he really picks up the pace.
My question is, how big of a deal is this really? Should I be concerned? Will he ever properly gait? Is he perhaps just too green yet to really move proper?
I'm rather afraid that I'm not pushy enough with him. He is green and I don't want to overwhelm him, but at the same time, he knows how to collect, move from the hind, and gait like he was bred to do.
He does like to work and go out on the trails, but it seems like he can sense my reluctance to push him limits and gets lazy.
I bought a pair of rowel spurs and rode him last him in those, he responded perfectly, I didn't have to be as insistent with my legs and henceforth could focus even more on my seat and hands. I felt very 'in tune' and in control...buuut...he didn't want to gait. Did briefly, and I can FEEL it, it just won't come and stay put!
I have also only ridden him alone so far. I'm going to ask the trainer if maybe he can take one of his horses out with us and go down the trail. My theory is with an older, more confident horse with him, he'll really get in the groove and pick up like he's supposed to.
Like I said, I love this trainer. I rode Red FAR out down the road. Three very rattly old cars passed, not so much as a flinch. We just plodded along and he was very mellow and felt extremely safe and pretty confident in himself. His ears where almost glued forward, but if you talked to him they swiveled back and listened.
I stopped him and dismounted to check his front feet because he stumbled a few times (I'm pretty sure it's because he was moving at the slowest possible pace, just ambling). Picked them up, looked around, didn't move a inch when I swung back up.
Even on the way back he ambled, just doodle-doodle-doo, I'm smelling the roses and enjoying the dayyy. I'mma horse, and I'm puttering down the road. Doo-doo-doooo.
The trainer has been riding him daily and says he's really picking up that gait well...but this not gaiting for me is a bit of a irritation.
Oh! And the saddle and blanket fit OK. It's not *immensely absolutely incredible perfect* but it's not pinching and sits well. It's just, obviously, not a custom fit for him exclusively.
For an all-purpose, rather cheap piece of tack, it does it's job well.
And he loves his bit. It's a medium port (a more rounded port, not a tiny square one) sweet iron curb bit. He works off legs and neck reins, but he apparently likes how it sits and feels on the tongue. Put him in a mullen and he did tongue gymnastics. Figures.