The most versatile gaited breed
What do you think is the best all around gaited horse, what horse can do it all, like trails, english, western, driving, etc. Then say why
I kind of like the Missouri Fox trotter.
Fox trotters! They can progress in just about everything whether it is endurance, cow work, dressage, jumping, cutting, western riding in general, trail, pleasure, and they generally have pretty awesome manes and tails :)
Two of the very first horses my mom bought when I was little were a pair of geldings, Shadow and Midnight- Shadow was a Missouri Fox Trotter and Midnight was a Tennessee Walker. Both were great, hardy horses, very dependable. Shadow was the one we did the most on though, and he effortlessly barrel raced, baby-sat, ran up and down mountains, went on long trail rides, and jumped well too. Both of them were older, so were rather grumpy and didn't like to do much, but when you could get Shadow to pick up the pace, he really picked it up! He loved being cheered on, and would prance and bow his neck if you clapped for him, it was cute, lol. Shadow is now a parade horse and Midnight is a man's hunting horse.
I have never ridden one, but the ones I have seen are just the nicest conformed horses and seem to be really positive, curious and willing. That is a generalization, but that's what I've seen so far.
Hmmm, good question.
My gaited experience is with TWH, Paso Finos, and Saddlebreds. However, I think there are some Appys out there that are considered gaited because they gait in what is called the Indian Shuffle. From experience, I've known some terrifically versatile Appys that have been able to do each and all of the afore mentioned disciplines very well, so if one owned an Appy that did the Indian Shuffle, I would have to say it was a good contender.
Secondly, after the Appy I thought of the MFT too, but I don't have any experience with them so can only speak from what I have read or heard about them.
Then there are gaited Morgans. Morgans as a whole (that ones I have known or owned) are wonderfully versatile and strong in all the disciplines with perhaps the exception of dressage.
I hear the Bashkir Curly (sp?) is a terrific horse that has a gaited off shoot.
While I like a bare footed TWH and think they excel at many things including some jumping, I'm not sure they would be near as strong in driving as a Saddlebred, which can also jump, but probably not as well as a TWH. Not sure typical Saddlebred conformation is geared towards scrambling over rocky trails either.
The Pasos I've known were pleasure horses with huge hearts and wonderful to ride, but I'm not sure the breed as a whole is the strongest for driving or jumping.
So, having mumbled through all of that, I guess I would vote for an Indian Shuffling Appy, a MFT, or a gaited Morgan. But I would really like to hear what others think.
I kind of got turned off to gaited horses when the Rocky that I rode a few times could not really canter. That bothered me. So, made me assume that all gaited horses could not canter. So, I AM wrong, aren't I?
The two that I mentioned above could canter. I don't think they could gait, though, but I was only ten when we had them- 7 years is a while... I do remember them having really nice 'trots', which may have been a gait, I really don't know.
I have ridden a MFT and loved the gait....makes me want a gaited horse because they are very smooth rides....called the "glide ride".
Fox trotters and walkers. It's not the breed, but mostly the gait. The walk and the fox trot can exhibit more true collection then, say, a rack or a step pace. Racking gaits can only be contained, not collected in a dressage-y sense. Rackers also have problems bending their bodies while in gait. It causes them to lose the tension in the shoulders and neck they need to perform a rack. They usually break into a step pace when asked for bending in a circle. Some learn to bend their necks, but I've never met one that could bend his whole body during a circle and not break.
Many rackers also have problems cantering normally, where walkers and fox trotters have that problem less.
Aside from that, any breed goes. Get an animal with good conformation and spirit. My SSH (despite her racking horse problems) does very well for herself. We do CTR, endurance, and show jumping. We're learning barrels and gaming. I'm getting her use to loud noises so I can shoot a gun off her back and go to a couple shooting horse events.
In the future, we'll take up fox hunting and hunter pacing, as well as do a few dressage and eventing schooling shows. Just anything that strikes my fancy.
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