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pasturepony 07-16-2013 03:06 PM

TWH for Endurance Won't Gait ? BOA Boots?
Hi all, I rescued a little TWH in March who only had 30 days training. She is now an awesome trail horse and we are working on doing Endurance. I'm new to gaited horses.

The problem is she has consistently been hard to get in her gait. A few weeks ago I got her in her gait 80% of the time instead of trotting. Last week I got a new saddle and added studs to her BOA boots so she has more traction (it's super muddy here) she won't gait at all. I worked 10 miles with her on Friday and I could only get her really gaiting once...the rest of the time was that inbetween fast walk or a trot.

My other newer TWH who was gaiting consistently with no problems, I added non-stud BOA boots and now he will only walk and canter or this "cantelope" gait with me and his partial leasor.

Is it me? The BOA boots? or what? Do I give up trying to get her gaiting while we are doing Endurance training and let her trot? or put Endurance training on the backburner until we can gait properly?? Help!

ps- I have no arena or non-muddy areas to work...only lots of trails.

Freemare 07-16-2013 03:17 PM

You can to be consistent in what you do every day. When you change from one thing to something else on a young horse it can mess them up. Such as putting studs on his boots. This makes his feet feel different when he walks, so he wants to do what feels better. Take them off, start from scratch. Make sure he understands what you are looking for. Once he gets it he should gait most of he time. He is still young so dont ask to much of him.

Brighteyes 07-16-2013 03:23 PM

It could be the boots. Boots make my gaited trot as well. Are you wearing boots all around? Mine was less trotty when she had boots on all four versus just the front.

As far as just saying, "Screw it, let's trot." That's what I did with my gaited to an extent. After 30-odd miles, she want always wanted to slip into a trot or pace. To use different muscles, I suppose. Do I developed a cue to give her permission to trot. Having different gaits to use seems to help her.

pasturepony 07-16-2013 03:44 PM

Thanks Freemare, I'll try to go back to barefoot for a bit. She was gaiting when I asked consistently but only for 30 -100 feet. My next step was going to be maintaining gait which is hard to do on the trails barefoot or in the mud.

Brighteyes, what ques do you use for a gait, and what do you use for a trot? Thats a great idea! I'll also try putting back boots on, I normally only do front.

Brighteyes 07-16-2013 04:47 PM

I have three cues for three different gaits: trot, pace, and rack.

Pace is her default. She will pace if I'm not asking for anything particular. She paces in the pasture at liberty; it's the gait most natural and comfortable for her. It's also the gait were her heart rate stays the lowest during exercise. I always start out at a pace and ask for transitions from a pace to a different gait. Your horse probably has a different default. It's good to establish one before you teach your horse to which gears.

From a pace, here's how I get to a trot:

Start posting. Squeeze with legs every time you go up. Half halt, to send balance the hindquarters under the horse and round the back. At that point, my horse starts trotting.

Teaching them this is... Harder. First, when does your horse trot? Up hils? Over tough terrain? I first got mine to trot over poles.

Here's how you get from a pace to a rack:

(Firstly, I don't use my rack very often in competition. It isn't very energy efficient.)

Sit deep in the saddle. Put yourself into a chair set. Using a light see-saw of the reins, ask horse to put her head down (not just her head, mind you; her whole neck goes pole level.) Squeeze legs. Lay on the gas, because racking is easier when it's fast. :wink: Bring horse's nose in just in front of the vertical and your hands up to waist height. Add more gas. Rack like crazy.

pasturepony 07-16-2013 05:06 PM

I will try that barefooted tomorow. Roxy goes into a trot as her go-to gait. She's never gaited on her own unless I repeatedly stop her and ask again and again. and only a slow gait..never a rack, and never for longer than 100 feet without going back to a walk and having to ask again. What's your technique for asking for the pace?

But she's a fast learner (me, not so much! lol)! She learned to canter in one session after months of not cantering unless she couldn't keep up with a galluping horse in front of her. As soon as she gets what I'm asking of her (and I praise her a bunch) she has it pretty down. I think I'm getting lost in translation though being new to gaits...

She's a 9 y/o registered TWH but she does not act like one...hangs her head low like a quarter horse, is slow, steady, mellow, only trots or goes when asked. She wants to please though. Just put to saddle this year after being a pet her whole life.

Brighteyes 07-16-2013 05:25 PM

If your default is a trot, you can ask for a pace in a similar way as asking for a rack. Just with less speed and a higher head. :wink: Bring your hands up to waist height, raise your horse's head (this doesn't sound like something she is naturally inclined to do, so it may take a little work), and chair seat. You may need to chair seat pretty extremely to start; feet on the dash board, all your weight in your butt. Squeeze her slowly into the next gait; don't make an quick transition.

That works for some horses. Horses are more inclined to pace down gentle inclines and on hard ground. Be careful though. Don't run her down a huge hill or move out over pavement. Find a shallow, safe hill.

Remember: the pace is the opposite of a trot. A trot requires a rounded back; a pace requires a hollow back. All the other gaits fall in between. Gaits aren't about legs; they're about your horse's back and its level of roundness. All the ways I'm saying you can manipulate the gaits are based on manipulating the horse's back. The head and neck positions often influence the back's position and roundness. The head is like a leaver -- by raising or lowering it, you can raise or lower the back muscles. But sometimes your horse can be round or hollow in spite of head and neck position.

I sometimes train extremely trotty horses to gait my getting them to pace and slowly working that pace until it's more diagonal. *shrug* All in all, it's a lot of experimentation.

Joe4d 07-16-2013 07:55 PM

your asking to much too soon. She doesn thave the muscle conditioning yet. That fast walk head bob is you runwalk Stick with that collect her down into that pace and hold it. That next gear you are feeling is probably something akin to a fox trot. with the next gear a rack. My guy gets tired he'll drop to a trot. Your girl just needs lots of long slow distance conditioning.

pasturepony 07-16-2013 09:28 PM

Got it! So walk less and trot less but fast walk more.

We've been working our way up and just started working on going faster, which is why she just learned to canter and gait work began. Prior we did me running and walking next to her on the 10 mile loop, then me riding it, then doing it 2 times a week, then adding some occasional speed, And now speed (slow gait or trot) stop, speed, etc. She seems to enjoy it. Not saying its the right way but she's doing really well. :). I was hoping to start adding a few more miles at the walk this month.

Joe4d 07-16-2013 11:07 PM

yeh make that fast walk headbob gait the default, slow to a walk if footing is dangerous. but get some miles in that gait. Especially on hills, hold the collected gaits up hills will build some muscle.

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