Originally Posted by sjwrightauthor View Post
Figuring each other out. We're still doing that. That's so weird that you just got a Rocky too! How do you like him so far? I love the idea of doing dressage with my gelding, but I know very little about it. It looks amazing when I see the professionals doing it on video.
I just got a set of videos by a guy named Larry Whitesell who is a great trainer who works exclusively with gaited horses. He talks a lot about how to move the front end and back end without using very much rein pressure.
I'm not sure about your saddle problem. You may need somebody experienced with gaited horses to give you their opinion. I have been using an Aussie saddle on Mission with mixed results. I did have a good trainer with experience dealing with Rockies check out the saddle fit for me. One thing I've heard over and over about saddle fit for gaited horses is to make sure there is plenty of room between the girth and their front legs so they have space to move the front end. Please let me know what you find out about your saddle and how your new guy is doing!
Update on Mission: I rode on Wednesday in the round pen. He was good at a walk but was pacey when pushed any faster. Not much of the floating rack that I was hoping for. I've done "join up" on the ground with him about four times. Each time he gets better at following me. My cues on the ground are getting better (except for back up). Also, I tried to get him to back up under saddle and could not get my point across. He just grabbed the bit and fought me. He did that a few times when I asked him to go left too. He's in a plain D-ring snaffle. I don't really want to get anything more severe, especially since he's great at flexing in both directions and because we're just getting started with each other.
He's definitely starting to see me as the leader the majority of the time. I'd like to ride him outside of the round pen, but I'm also a little timid about getting him out in the open after our episode in the indoor arena. So far he's shown no indication of bucking, kicking, nipping or anything else that would qualify as a bad habit. Although he did show a little bit of being gate sour. I just worked him through it with leg pressure and a firm tone of voice. He figured out pretty quick that I wasn't letting him get away with that. Overall, things are going well.
Well, I really like my Rocky he is really beautiful! I need to take some more pictures of him, maybe tomorrow. Chivas already follows me around in the pasture. I think the 9 hour drive home really helped us bond, but he is not as affectionate as I want yet. We are still working on that too!
Which Aussie saddle do you use? I've ridden in a Aussie saddle before, and it is fine for short rides, but I can't do long trail rides in them because the saddle seams to just hold me in one position and my rear can't handle that! i have to shift around some on long rides.
I think I am going to save up and buy a Tucker endurance saddle for him, they run about $1500.00, and in the meantime ride bareback or with my kid's western saddle, even though I hate having a horn on my saddle (they rarely use it - it's more for guests).
I have been researching what works best for Rockys and is comfortable for riders too, and everything points to a Tucker saddle. They even look comfortable. There is a gaited endurance that is really nice looking. The saddles can be custom for your horse's back too, I think for the same price. And made in America.
What happened in the indoor? I didn't read that part...round pens are kind of weird to ride gaited horses in, they seam to do better going straight forward. Something I do to relax me and a horse is to walk them around the area before I get on their back. It kind-of takes the pressure off.
Are you allowed to have that gaited trainer back or are outside trainers still not allowed? I have never heard of that before, usually outside trainers can come for a small fee. You really need to work with a gaited trainer if you are not used to gaited horses.
The bit I am not sure of. Most of the ones I saw in Kentucky used bits with shanks on them, same as the gaited folks use down here. I am using an "O" ring snaffle though, but it has an extra oval link in the center, usually called a "bean" snaffle. The bean makes it brake in two places, so it does not hit the roof of the horses mouth, thus is an easier bit. I got a copper mouth one, and Chivas really seems to like it.
If your horse is getting "pacey" it might be that he is used to a different bit and often gaited horses need contact on the bit to gait right. My horse tends to get "trotty" instead of pacey according to the previous owner, but he has not been that way with me. I more have a problem with him slowing back down to a walk...
I've ridden gaited horses before, but never seen a Rocky in person until I went to buy him. I always had trouble fitting a saddle to them and I knew going into this that Wintecs just don't seem to fit on gaited breeds. I really don't know why that is, but it is just my experience. When I ride friends gaited horses I use a cut-back saddle, but they are soooo uncomfortable! No way will I use one on a trail.
Anyway, I am going to send the wither tracings in to Tucker to see what they say about a saddle. I know of a really good saddle fitter in the closest large city who I have used in the past on my Dressage horses' saddles, but I don't know if he knows anything about gaited horses. They move much different, and Chivas has a low whither and kind of high butt right now, but since he is not yet 5 yrs, he could still grow. It is a problem!