Stopping a TWH
Seriously, how do you do this? Several of the TWH's I've seen so far go faster and start pulling on the bit when I sit back and try to stop. I've had to circle them or turn them to the rail to get them to stop. I've been told this is how walkers are trained, so how do you stop them? I ride english (hunters/equitation) so I'm used to a differently trained horse. Maybe I just don't know the cues for a Walker.
And when is a horse too old to be trained to gait? I'm looking at the 7-12 years old range, any breed, and they all pace. Several of them I was able to get a few gaiting steps. But at what point is the pace too set to untrain?
Horse hunting was fun at first and now it's becoming annoying. I'm looking at a 5 gaited icelandic today and the owners have avoided my questions about the horse's age. So many weird people out there. I don't like tall horses, but I'm seriously thinking of taking a second look at a TWH who's 16h, but quiet and actually had some training (side-passes, picks up leads, etc.)
Good training is good training; bad training is bad training. :-(
Many show Walkers are trained to be very heavily on the bit and the rider drives them forward with the spur. So they do get the idea that "heavy in the hand" means "go faster."
The vast majority of modern TWHs are pacers of some variety. This, too, flows from the show world where pacy horses are bred and then "squared up" with devices. While a true running walk can be found, it's difficult. A pacer can be retrained to a point with good riding. I don't know of an upper age limit.
Anybody who "tap dances" on age of a horse is not to be trusted.
Good riding is good riding. You sit a gaited horse like you sit any other horse: square, in the middle. If you're going to jump then shorten your stirrup a bit. For long trail rides drop them a notch (will ease the pressure on your knees). Not all gaited horses are trained this way, but they should be.
Good luck in your search.
Thanks for your response. It isn't just the walkers, it's the fox trotters, the racking horses, the rocky mountain horses, etc. They all pace, no one gaits. I can get a horse to gait a few steps, I just don't know if that's all they can do or they can be trained to hold the gait. The way I look at it, any gaited horse I buy is going to need tons of training, I'm just trying to find one that is quiet and safe to ride.
I agree, good riding is good riding; gaited horses are still horses. However, different disciplines have different training. Hunters take a tap with the outside leg to canter, I've been on western horses that were trained to pick up the canter with three taps with the outside leg. There's little variations, so I thought maybe I just didn't know the cues for TWH's, (or any other gaited breed).
lol the icelandic. The owner ignored my question about age in the email (I assumed she didn't see it), then the trainer said she had no idea and didn't want to guess when I talked to her to set up an appointment. I could cancel, but what the heck. I've never ridden an icelandic so I might as well try and see if it's a breed I'm interested in.
BTW, I did get one TWH to do a running walk and not a rack. That head! He had such a big nod that his mane was moving! :-)
Might be wrong but I'm guessing you are new to gaited horses? While it's **** hard to throw off a naturally gaited walker it's pretty darn easy to throw a pacer out of gait and back into their pace. As Guilherme pointed out, unfortunately the majority on the market have been bred to be pacey by the show world.
The fix? Find a naturally gaited walker (they are out there) or take a few riding lessons then go find your horse.
Malda, I understand about the subtle que's for each horse or breed. I went out to look at a seasoned mft and when I got there I was shown a young greenish gelding. They had him tacked and ready when I got there which made me suspicious.
The barn mgr rode him first, zooming around the arena at break neck speed (where's the eye roll icon?) and after a few passes I got on. I could get him to fw, it took some effort, but he finally settled. When I did ask for speed and he got going a little faster than I wanted I did what my dressage instructor always had me do..close my seat and give slight pressure with my thighs. This horse sped up more, that was HIS que to go faster. He also was heavy in my hand.
I also agree that horse shopping is a pain in the fanny and you'll kick a lot of tires before you find what you're looking for. The majority pace, it's annoying!
Well I feel a lot better knowing that someone else had the same problem. :-) Many people ride gaited horses too fast, they assume that gaiting is the same speed as trotting. You perfectly described what I'm going through. They pace, rush, and have some odd training (or no training at all).
Tried out 3 icelandics yesterday. Fell in love with the breed! My kind of horse: small, foward, sure-footed and bombproof. They also did the pull-back is cue to go forward thing. However, two only trotted (the trainer couldn't get them to tolt) and they wanted 8500 each. The one I really liked turned out to be 16 years old and 4500. Her tolt wasn't set, kept switching gears. Not sure I want a 16 year old horse. But she was a blast to ride on the trails. And I'm getting older, so a safe, quiet horse is important.
Long story short, the SSH in my profile has Wobbler's Syndrome. He's being put down tomorrow. :-( He was supposed to be my forever horse and I really wasn't planning on horse hunting again.
I'm seeing a peruvian paso next weekend and might take a second look at a TWH. I keep thinking about that 16 year old icelandic. So fun to ride.
i would be guessing it's a mix between training and miscommunication
my sisters' horses are trained completely differently than the horses I was taking lessons on so at first i had the one lesson horse frustrated with me a bit becuase I would give her the signal that I knew from my sisters horses and it would mean something different to her.
when the lady i took lessons from came accross the TWH I bought it took us both a bit to figure out what different things mean to her. as far as the pushing back in your seat and her going faster, that is one of the cues to my mare for the running walk.
i tap with my heels and push back into the cantle a bit, then push down with my feet in the stirrups becuase it makes it a bit smoother
If you don't want a gaited horse to pace, don't let them. Start with a walk then keep adding impulsion, quiet seat, going forward off leg. The reins should give them support but not pull them in. As you add more impulsion and speed, if they start to get pacey, go back to a walk and start again.
I spent a long time having to hear those 4 even beats on harder ground to have the sound of 4 beat teach me how to feel it.
You want to ride with less interference to not throw them out of their balance.
Lots of walking. Just follow along with your seat. When you want to halt, stop following with your seat and hands do hold-release-hold-release with the rhythm of the horse. Say whoa as you do it. When he stops, give him a treat. He will learn to stop on a dime. Then you don't have to give a treat every time. Do not pull back on the reins. That will cause a tug of war.
If they pull on the bit at any time, plant your hands on the front of the saddle and let them pull against themselves. Don't pull back.
I hope this helps.
That would have been funnier if I didn't actually know people that trained much like that. ha ha
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