So I just about fell off my mare Harper today at a flat walk. I have ridden two horses at a gait in my life. One gaited then ran me into a tree to get me to fall off. Four times. Still haven't given up. That mare hates me, she is evil, and I do not understand why everyone likes her. The other is my pacey little 14hh broodmare who I am in about as much danger of falling off and not landing on my feet as I am to suddenly sprout blue hair from my eyebrows (your visual for the day).
Harper is a former padded show horse, and at 17.2hh is pretty impressive even at her walk. I love this mare to death, but she is really really really fast. Did I mention really fast back there? Cause she is. I was coming down off a small rise in the paddock when I felt her start to pick up into a flat walk. I was only planning to let her walk today, but I figured it couldn't hurt anything to let her for a few paces. Heh. It felt like I was sitting in a convertible on the interstate with the top down, no doors, no back to my seat and no seatbelt. The gait only lasted long enough for her to realize that I was about to fall backwards and sideways at the same time, and her sudden stop did nothing to help me hold on. I did manage to stay on, but only because she shifted her body at the last second to balance me.
How do I get used to a breakneck speed like this? Or maybe slow her down? I'm not scared of it, I just know that if she does it again I will be unable to keep the horse between me and the ground lol.
I am actually considering using a western saddle until I get used to it. She's never used a western before, and I avoid it if I can, but seeing as my Spanish saddle barely kept me from sliding back and off her hind end, I may need a bit more to hold me on!
also, if you are using a huntseat saddle, that could be what's throwing you off - - i would suggest either a western saddle or a cutback flat seat (lane fox) style saddle - it'll help you sit it better :-)
Oh, and squeeze from hip to knee - and let the lower leg come away from the horse
There is a book, (yes I can read) by gaited horse trainer "Don West" called "Paca Paca A Sure Cure For The Trots" Its a great book that all gaited trail horse riders should read. Don West Refers to the speed range that a gaited horse can maintain a rack "the thread". The "thread" for every gaited horse is unique to that horse. For example, my wife and I both have Rocky Mt. horses, her horses thread range is about 6-15 mph while my mare's thread range is 4-10 mph. My horse collects up and starts at a much slower speed than my wife's, While her horse can maintain a faster gait without going into a trot or lope. So what we do is work on expanding the thread of both horses. One way that works for us is to let my horse lead when we want a slower more collected gait, my wife then works on collecting her horse more, bending her a the pole and keeping her behind the slower gating horse. Then we trade off, she leads with the faster gating horse while I loosen the collection of my horse pushing her to gait faster increasing her "thread" without breaking out of gait. It takes time like training a sprinter to run cross country, but it does work.
If you don't have another gaited horse to ride behind, try pushing both ends of her thread by yourself, Collect her up, Flexing her pole while driving with your legs, this should make her more animated, slower, and smoother. More of a show gait.
Don West has a great website where you can order the book http://www.donwest.net/. I've also seen it on EBAY. He also sells some great saddles for gaited horses, Maureen and I own three..
I also have to put in a plug for the Don west saddle- My Dad and I each have one and love them to pieces! Nice suede seat to help you stay into the saddle! :lol: I feel they are well worth the price tag-fits nice and in mine I got extra gel in my seat- wonderful!
I would say if you have a more secure saddle you will be more comfortable and build your confidence and your seat! Also once you get a little better I would say to ride bareback once you get the feel of things because that will really help develop your seat as well. When I feel like I need a bit of work on my balance and seat- I ride bareback- it helps a ton!
Good luck to you.
Whatever saddle you choose a suede seat should be a must:-)
I would've suggested taking a deeper seat on her, but it sounds as if you know how to take your seat on a gaited horse:-)
She just kicks in the afterburners faster than you can and please don't take offense to that because I know the feeling - lol lol
My 21 yo TWH (only 14.3H) remains unbeaten in impromptu neighborhood gaiting races (I retired him from such nonsense when he was 17:D When he would kick in his afterburners, I'd better have my seat:lol:
It's a good thing I am old, prefer geldings, and no one in my crew will be replaced when they go on to meet their ancestors, elst I might be trying to convince you to find her a new home-----------with ME!:D
She sounds to be right up my alley:lol:
Hope you find a saddle that is comfy for her and keeps you on board:D
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