My first gaited horse, and a new experience
Hi forum members! I know i've been off for a while, things weren't going the best, and we had a few technical issues with the computer. But i'm back, and here to ask a few questions and seek some advice. So i just got a new horse, an 8yo Mountain Pleasure mare, who is considered green broke. She is the first gaited horse i've ever owned, and it's a whole new experience. She reminds me of my moms former mare Magic, she's a dozer on the trails, and truly loves to be out on them, the issue is she was kept in a herd of about 30 horses/mules/donkeys/hinnys. And her training was sort of rushed when she was 4yo, it really only touched the basics before she was used as broodmare. The way her breeder explained it to me was, there were several days in the roundpen, then 2-3 rides in the roundpen, then 3-4 rides out on the trails. Then she was bred to their stud. Her owner only rode her maybe 4-5 times the whole time he owned her, and when she was ridden it was only about an hour. And he said she was rather buddy sour or barn sour.
Now i've had her for about 2 1/2 weeks now, and we've been brushing up on ground manners, and saddling. I've ridden her 4 times, 3 out of 4 were nice 2hr long rides. She's rather cinchy, and of course walks away when i try to mount up, and she thinks she can just turn around and head back to the herd, but i correct her with a circle, and then straight to where we're headed, and a light smack on the rump with the reins. Once she's away from everyone, she's perfect. Couldn't ask for a better horse. Now when i try to ask her to gait she won't, she will gait going down hill, but i can't get her to gait on a level or going up hill. I'm still new at this. :oops:
When i ask her to gait, she will trot, and won't gait. :? Her gait is nice, very smooth, and nice correct 4-beat. I have yet to try her at a canter. How can i ask her to gait more often?
Thank you for your advice!!
You said "Mountain Pleasure?" What is her breeding? Is she:
Rocky Mountain Horse
Kentucky Mountain Horse
Tennessee Walking Horse
The differences in gait are subtle, but they are there.
Still, I'm thinking that she lacks the muscles right now to easily carry a rider, therefore she feels more comfortable at the trot while you are aboard.
I have owned several TWH's, and crosses, and 2/3 of my current horses are Kentucky Mountain--my gelding is a KMH and my mare is KMHSA.
Mine are in my backyard of 5 acres and I get to watch them all of the time. I also own a QH. My two gaited horses can often be seen trotting at liberty and cantering at liberty, also gaiting at liberty. They KNOW how to trot and will do so when I ride if the footing isn't great.
Gaited horses can be Dressaged. It strengthens their musculature and creates obedience.
Look into that and continue basic training so that she will develop trust in you. =D
Do you observe her gaiting out in the pasture? Are there other gaited horses in the herd? One thing I suspect is that she is out of shape and needs to build her muscles up and another thing (I'm a foxtrotter owner myself by the way who needs a loose rein to stretch out a bit so she can do her foxtrot) is how you are riding her with regard to rein contact and body position.
And yes she is out of shape, but getting better with each ride. I have watched her gait across the pasture. There is only a Paso Fino filly, as in the only other gaited horse in the pasture. :) i will continue working with her. Thanks
I asked if there were other gaited horses in the pasture because I had read somewhere (perhaps here even) that horses tend to mimic each other with regard to gaits. So if there were no other gaited horses like her in the herd then there may be a possibility that she was just not doing it enough to keep her skills honed. I'm sure (but can provide no statistical data to support this) that since I brought my foxtrotter home that she gaits less and trots more when she's in the pasture as the other three trot.
I am working on riding with weight with my 7yo KMH gelding. (My 15yo KMHSA mare is a babysitter and doesn't need the training.)
Too many people start gaited horses heavy handed and they get to leaning on the bit. When I first got "Tyke" (1970-1998, RIP) TWH/QH, he leaned on the bit, too, but I worked him out of doing that. He was 15yo when I bought him.
The thing to remember is that they are just like your other non-gaited horses, with an extra and smooth gear.
AND, you and I stepped on some toes already. I had never heard of these breeds--except I had seen ads for RMH's in periodicals in CO--until I bought my excellent mare. I have heard that some breeding has created high strung animals in this field of breeds/registries, but I don't believe it.
EVERY gaited or 1/2 gaited horse that I've owned--7 in all--has preferred to gait instead of walk. It's a pain in the...neck...when one is riding gaited and YOU are not. You switch constantly from trot to canter to trot to canter. It was always fun when my DH rode "Tyke"
and somebody else was riding "Ro Go Bar", (QH, 1982-2009, RIP) bc had a road trot the same speed as Tyke's fastest running walk, and you had to know how to ask him to break to a lope!
Agreed the horse most likely needs some conditioning but that won't help her, if you aren't able to learn the basics:-)
The best I can offer is Liz Graves.
Watch her short video. Judging from your writings, you're plenty savvy to get what she's talking about:-)
Also, this her web site. It's been changed around since I last visited but there's an "articles" button and other informative links in the left bar that might help you.
Even though Tennessee Walkers are mentioned front and center, Liz has articles regarding all the gaited breeds. Your primary issue right now is to figure out what intermediate gait your mare is inclined to want to perform. My best thought would be to video her at liberty and go from there.
And yes, they will mimic what another horse is doing. My TWH with the champagne-smooth running walk trots every time he gets behind my Arab, in the pasture, but he has never once offered to trot when he's being ridden.
Liz Graves:Gaited Horse--Gathering of Gaits
Also, within Liz Graves' website is some valuable information that Lee Ziegler put out. Sadly Lee Ziegler passed away a few years back.
Lee Zieglers classroom
Hope this helps:-)
The best to do is walk, walk, walk, up hills, down hills. She is like a young horse just learning to balance with a rider. Give her time and soon enough gait will come. It took my mare a month of consistent riding to learn to carry my weight and balance herself to gait. She was most likely broke out like all of them so she could be certified in gait, then bred and put out to pasture.
Also setting up spaced poles for her to walk over will help a lot. It is good that she trots instead of pacing. Much easier to move into gait.
Hope you post pictures of her. Is she a descendent of Moon? He was one of the premiere stallions in the mountain pleasure lines. We had a mare who is a grandaughter of his. The Mountain Pleasure groups are very small, but gaining momentum. A lot of them double register as KMSHA and do shows as well as the MPH shows.
now go back and read maclady's post again, and again, and again,
You need to spend a couple months just walking on trail rides, then move up to her gait, shes skipping the gait and going right into a fox trot most likely due to lack of strength and conditioning, tell her NO and collect her back down into a gait, watch for the head bob as you speed up, and keep her at that pace. But really you need to build up the basics first.
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