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donemoven farm 01-03-2013 01:05 PM

cantering a gaited horse
Hi all,
My first post. Bought a missouri foxtrotter gelding. 13yr. old. My first
horse in 50 yrs. Everyone said this if a good horse for an old guy like me.
My question is should I canter this horse? Some have told me it will ruin
his gait if I do. Also, he seems to stumble a lot when he is trotting. Is this normal in a gaited horse? I ride in woods and pasture, not trails.
Thank you.

Brighteyes 01-03-2013 01:12 PM

Yes, you can canter your horse. It's a huge myth that gaited horses can't canter and cantering will ruin them. :wink:

As far as stumbling; might not be normal. How are his feet? Has he been trimmed/shod properly? Does he stumble over easy terrain or just tough stuff? He could just not be very sure footed.

DancingArabian 01-03-2013 01:18 PM

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It won't ruin his gait, just be sure that your signals are kept clear and consistent. Some gaited horses "can't" canter under saddle because not all of them are taught(allowed?) to canter under saddle. Finding a gaited horse trainer to help you learn all of his buttons and how to ask for his foxtrot I will be a great way to help you two build a better working relationship.
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donemoven farm 01-03-2013 01:29 PM

thanks for reply
Ya ,it is tough stuff were riding in. I have only had him 2 months and never rode in a nice flat area yet. He does have nice trot and did not
want to hurt it, but I do need to learn how to sit it properly.

Britt 01-03-2013 01:40 PM

Yes, you can canter and gallop a gaited horse. I own two Tennessee Walkers and my family owns two Racking Horses and a Racking/Quarterhorse cross and we canter and gallop them pretty often, and the ones that know how to gait still gait.

Brighteyes 01-03-2013 02:17 PM

Yeah. He might just be having a hard time with the footing. No big deal, unless he is stumbling often. Than I would take it easy fox trotting in rough places.

From the horses I've ridden, I've found the fox trot to be a sort of strange feeling gait. :lol: It isn't ROUGH, but it isn't smooth like a rack or even a running walk. I was use to riding racking horses; I had to sit the fox trot a little differently.

bbsmfg3 01-03-2013 04:28 PM

If your not a very good trainer and want to keep your gaits, forget the cantering and galloping. Yes, some do it and get by with it, most don't, then they wonder what happened.

The canter and gallop require a completing different set of muscle than a foxtrot, running walk or rack. Hence, your training them not to gait when you canter or gallop.

Guilherme 01-03-2013 08:23 PM

Bob's advice is very traditional. I was told the same thing when I bought my first Walker in 1987.

Unfortunately that advice was wrong then and it's wrong now.

It's a great "half truth" that different muscle groups are used for the canter or the running walk. They are used in different ways, but that is NOT a bad thing. It's just functional "cross training."

There are some horses with a very lateral, four beat gait that have trouble with a three beat gait like a canter. If this is the case then the rider needs to get some advice from a knowledgeable person about the cause of the trouble.

It's been my experience that adding the canter to the well conformed, well moving Walker will do nothing but IMPROVE the running walk and flat walk. I would think the same would apply to the Foxtrotter.

Good luck with your work.


Malda 01-04-2013 12:09 AM

I still hear "you shouldn't canter a gaited horse". Which is sad, because some gaited horses have an amazingly smooth canter. I've tried several walkers who cantered like this, and the Icelandic I was going to buy before I got Dovakiin had that canter. Unfortunately, she didn't pass the PPE. Oh well, I'm happy with my new guy, his canter is easy to ride, just not super smooth.

walkinthewalk 01-04-2013 10:50 AM

I have three Tennessee Walkers (TWH's). I don't canter any of them simply because I don't need to.

They will all canter, they are all allowed to canter, but the intermediate gait on all of them is so fast and smooth they don't need to canter ---- not when I am old enough to be retired and my horrendous back issues are why I went to gaited horses 22 years ago:-P

I agree with the suggestion to find a trainer well versed in the ways of the Missouri Foxtrotter to help you:D Not somebody that glibbly comments "oh yeah, I can help with that". No they can't - lol lol You need somebody that is experienced with Foxtrotters:D

Congratulations on you new Bud - may you enjoy many "Happy Trails" with him:D:D

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