Conforming to the gaited crowd- for some reason it annoys me!
Okay, I have friends with gaited horses. And I have friends with non-gaited horses. I have one of each- a laid back Mustang and a Missouri Fox Trotter.
The gaited horse folks really don't appreciate my Mustang. He walks slow. He is relaxed. He is darn near the most perfect trail horse you will ever encounter. But did I mention he's slow? This leaves me trotting to catch up to the flat walk of the gaited horses. I am the one doing all the trotting and I don't mind it at all. But it seems to disturb the peace among the gaited horse owners whose horses are more high strung and get excited if we trot to catch up.
I am not trotting past them, I am just trying to catch up. My horse is a perfect gentleman. Why do I feel guilty for wanting to ride him? If my horse is well behaved and their horse is a spaz, is that my fault? Well, it feels like it is. :evil:
Okay, so just ride the Fox Trotter you say, problem solved! Well I like to rotate my horses so they both get ridden about 50/50. And the horse whose turn it is to be ridden isn't always the one that matches up with the people I am riding with.
Now if I am riding the gaited horse with non-gaited folks, it doesn't bother me one bit. I stop and wait, stop and wait, no biggie. I am not in a hurry. But the gaited horse people don't enjoy doing the same for me when I am on my Mustang. I think they find us annoyingly slow, and if we trot to catch up, we are a disruption.
Now this is really more of a rant than a real problem. Because I will ride whichever horse I choose and if it bothers them that much we just don't have to ride together. But one of the gaited horse folks is a good friend. So I know she would rather not ride with my slow horse, but the slow horse needs exercise too. So I sometimes ride the slow horse and then feel really apologetic about it.
I hate feeling guilty because my horse doesn't fit in with the "in crowd." Unless I am doing something dangerous I don't see why I should always be the one conforming to them. If their horse is a spaz because my well behaved horse has to trot, or heaven forbid they might have to slow down a little, well, why am I the problem? Whose to say the horse that won't walk slow is the problem instead?
Even my Fox Trotter, because she gets ridden a lot, is just not as "fast" as the gaited horses that don't get ridden routinely. They are all fired up and ready to go. I ride about 5 days a week. My horses are just not chomping at the bit raring to go. That should be a good thing, right?
I guess I just had to vent!
Around where I am, gaited horses are not so common. When we do encounter one on the trails, our horses get very upset when the gaited horses start gaiting, so we are always asking them to please come to a walk when they are near our horses. So, I guess we are the wussies. Something about the way the gaited horses move comes off as "frantic" and gets our horses worried and frantic themselves.
The trotting might make the gaited horses feel frantic. Remember that while YOU know you're just trotting to catch up, the horses don't know that. They just know that the slow guy is suddenly starting to speed up and they think OMG WHY IS HE GOING FAST? MONSTER!
Could you schedule your riding so that you can plan around the group rides and adjust the exercise schedules of your horses accordingly?
I would do my own ride and let others get in a froth about their problem.
Maybe turn the tables and you set a fast trot/medium canter pace.
My gaited horse CAN walk & keep back w/the others, & my Arab has a very ground-covering walk-so for me it's not really an issue. I don't want to ride alone any more so I make the adjustments & keep my horses as calm as I can.
This is why riding alone is so much simpler :lol:
I ride a walking horse, my wife rides a quarter horse. I stop and wait on her, and I don't mind at all.
I like the Cadillac ride....and of course, she loves her quarter horse, so we manage to co-exist.
Mum's QH gaits... he is the oddest horse, he walks, ambles (honest to goodness, it's just like a running walk), trots, paces and canters. I hate riding with them though because I'm ALWAYS trotting to catch up, and I can't set a faster pace because her horse freaks out and gets all panicked and unco. Which then makes my bipolar idiot all panicked and out of control, and it snowballs into a big problem.
I have considered trying to get my hands on a gaited horse specifically for trails so that I can ride trails with my mother, because I adore her and it's our mother-daughter time, but gaited horses are really uncommon here (I have heard of ONE) and I can't afford to import. Plus I couldn't afford to keep 3 horses, 2 is more than enough!
As a gaited horse owner, let me give you my perspective.
First of all I like to ride, not sit and wait. While I can sit and wait, that can be done at home without the expense of owning a horse. AKA it's annoying to me, I'll do it occassionally but not often and is one reason why I rarely ride with non gaited horses.
Second. When you come trotting up from behind the horses will often break gait and get jiggy for a couple of steps. Yes I get them right back into gait again but having this happen every few minutes gets extremely annoying. But this is not only a gaited vs non gaited issue for me. Any rider that can't maintain a constant speed irritates the beejeebus out of me. Unfortunately the wife is one of these but I have to live with her, you I don't have to. This is the second reason I rarely ride with non gaited horses but with this one I also don't ride with gaited horses whose riders don't maintain speed.
Darrin some horses are not capable of keeping up with some other horses. My horse for example, CANNOT walk as fast as my friend's 16.3hh Thoroughbred. He also CANNOT maintain a trot slow enough to keep pace with the same mare. He can do a western pleasure type jog for a few strides, but he is not physically capable of maintaining that jog for any decent amount of time.
The same applies between my non-gaited Anglo Arab and Mum's gaited QH.
Perhaps if your horse is getting jiggy when a horse trots up from behind, you should train it NOT to get jiggy? It's easy enough to do. Just get someone to trot up behind you constantly until your horse stops reacting. Your horse is training you when you allow a reaction to what other horses do. Your horse should be focused on you and it shouldn't matter what other horses do around it.
Yes, I have the same issue with my horse, he doesn't cope with horses overtaking him and trotting or cantering off ahead. I don't avoid the issue, nor should I. Indeed I embrace it, I view it as a challenge and all part of the fun!
You being a gaited person I can understand how you don't necessarily get that non-gaited horses don't have in-between gaits so that they can go at a speed between their maximum walk speed and their minimum trot speed, but it's attitudes like yours where it's always the other person's fault when your horse breaks gait (and not a training thing) that really irritate me. You wouldn't ride with me, because my horse doesn't gait. I wouldn't ride with you, because I don't like being blamed for things that I can't do anything about.
For the record, I have a friend who gets REALLY annoyed if I trot when she's walking. This is the same friend who has the big TB my horse physically cannot keep up with. I told her to deal with it, because there's nothing I can do that will make my horse walk faster. He can't give any more than what his body will let him. I offer you the same. My opinion is that you should train your horse better to cope with perfectly normal things like a horse trotting up behind it! All issues with jigging are training issues, not "oh it's just him" - the problem is that the horse is allowed to do it and it stops the trotting up behind so the horse learns that the jigging is a way to get what it wants - which is of course for no other horses to trot up behind it!
Yes, some gaited horses are hot. My horse can be hot too. It doesn't mean they can't be trained.
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