Getting first gaited horse - a TWH...questions!
Hi guys....I am new to the gaited world and have always had stock breeds, TBs and warmbloods. Just put a deposit down on a TWH gelding who is double reg and 12yo. I fell in love, he was very sweet and so smooth! He has been a trail horse for beginners that come to these peoples farm along with being a show horse some for country pleasure. So here come my questions....
He is a slim made TWH - he has such a small chest area and Im so use to the huge stocky QH and paints. I guess this is a natural thing?
Im not a small gal - Im about 5'7 and lets just say over 200 lbs...his owner is maybe about my size and he carries her and I rode him all over and he carried me fine so I guess I am not killing him?!
He wears a light plantation shoe on front and keg shoes on back. They had the light plantations on for the showing some that they were doing. They are not the type that need bands. They said he stays a little smoother and less tender footed in these shoes. So I guess I should leave him as he is. Although I was thinking of having my farrier pull the back shoes.
Well any other advice or info would be great! Thanks
Welcome to the wonderful world of walkers.
-A lot of TWH are slab sided and slim, I have a 16.2hh walker that I can't fit my hands sideways between his front legs but he can carry me all day long. I swear it looks like both legs come out of the same shoulder socket when you look at him head on. It's just a matter of re-calibrating your eyes for walkers instead of QH's. You will not be killing him at your size.
-If he's been shown then he probably has been show shod which is different than trail shoeing. They are also done differently than you shoe a QH so talk with your farrier about your plans for him. FYI, for show they generally will have long toes while you want short toes for trail riding. Those long toes give more front end action, "flash", but would make your horse work way to hard on trails and cause stumbling. They also are not shod like a QH with high heels and steep angles. Have a good discussion with your farrier prior to your first shoeing about what to do.
-One more point is saddle fit. Walkers need their front shoulders free to work properly. Ensure your saddle has plenty of room up there to work (no full riggings) and that while sitting in the saddle their withers don't come in contact with your saddle. Cutback pads help too.
Thanks for that info! Could you help me with some fitting ideas? Do I need to get a gaited tree saddle with the gaited riggins? Right now I just have a pleasure style saddle that I use to use on my paint. Also they said he needs a bridle with the piece that goes around his nose to keep him from wanting to chomp the bit so much. What are these called?
You don't need a nose band! Your current bridle will work so long as it fits him. Do ask for what bit he's been ridden in and use one like it at least until you get to know him.
Saddle. You don't need a gaited tree but it doesn't hurt to buy one if you are going to need another saddle anyway. If your cinch D ring is directly under your horn, that is a full rigging saddle and don't work with walkers. If it is set back then it is 7/8 or 3/4, then it may or may not work. Next put the saddle on his back and see where it hits his shoulders then walk him around while watching his shoulders move. Are they clearing the saddle or hitting the saddle? Again if his shoulders are getting into the saddle it wont work. Feel the gap between saddle and withers, no gap no go. Get in the saddle and feel the gap once again, no gap no go. Now you can ride him in your saddle, if he's really smooth it's not bothering him. If he's choppy it gets tough because there are several things that can cause choppiness with saddle just being one of them.
Please set yourself up some lessons with a walker trainer. How to get a walker into gait and keep them there takes some teaching. He may feel smooth to you coming from QH's while actually not gaiting. A trainer will work with you on what the gaits feel like, how to get him in gait and how to keep him there.
I'm also interested in looking at gaited horses but am like aimcat, I've always ridden QH. Can anyone shed some light on where in central FL to go for information on gaited horses. I would like to try riding some to see if it is for me. I'm gun shy to buy one without a little knowledge about gaits as they all seem to be moving differently in video's I've watched. I'm looking strictly for trail riding and camping.
I've heard that the older bloodlines are a better choice for smoothness and natural gaits.
Any info on what to look for or what to avoid will be appreciated.
Let me tell you this, riding a good walker is so much smoother and for camping and trail rides, at the end of the day when you have ridden a walker and are ready to settle for the night I promise you, you wont be sore.
Wallee, that's what I've heard and at my age it seems more and more the way to go, LOL! The most important thing you said is "riding a good walker". I'm just afraid of making the wrong choice since I don't know anything about how they are supposed to move. It's frustrating trying to get some good info on gaited in general. Im considering TWH, Mountain Horses, and Fox Trotters.
Anybody have any suggestions????
I would go for a TWH just my op and I am biased to them because I have owned a few in my lifetime and enjoyed them all. Now in my exp. with them a bad walker who didnt know his gait was still smoother than any qh but if you try them out you will know when they are gaiting. Its hard to miss its so smooth and quick. I would look around and buy from a reputable barn who breed walkers and train them and that would be your best bet at getting into the gaited world as if your buying a horse I am sure they will be happy to show you the ropes on it before you ever leave!
Thanks Wallee, I'm in the process of contacting some sites that have gaited trail horses for sale. I've been checking the reviews to see what others think about them. Two that I've heard good things about are GG Flatshod Farms in KY and Hard Rock Farm here in FL. Does anyone know anything about either of these places?
FYI, TWH's love a long, straight trail and they REALLY take off at their running walk on one, while dropping their quarters and moving at about 9 mph. When you work a TWH in an arena they will give you 3 gaits that you didn't ask for:
--broken washing machine
You can ride him in a snaffle or a loose-shank curb. People used to train them to lean on the bit in order to gait, and some still do. It' okay to ride them like that as long as your contact is soft.
TWH's have "rubber legs". You see them sometimes cross one back leg over the hock of the other.
I've owned several TWH's and TWH-crosses who also gait like a TWH. I own two KMH's that travel similarly, except that they are better at climbing hills than TWH's since they can take shorter steps.
ALL gaited horses have BIG motors--hardly ever will you have one that is lazy.
Several folks that drive (here) have suggested that driving will teach a TWH to stop the running walk and to trot, instead. Don't know, BUT if your TWH trots, it's best to post it.
BTW, ALL gaited horses will trot while turned out sometimes. I keep mine in my back yard and I've witnessed it.
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