Tell me about TWHs? Specifically training...
At my work, there's a little TWH [named Skippy, in case I refer to him by name]. He's not set in his gaits whatsoever and my feeling is that he's had very little training geared towards his gaited side. They were previously working with him on "flexibilty" and, to that end, lunging him on the end of an 12ft lead rope to "encourage him to bend".
ANYWAY, my goal is doing this the right way! Only problem is that the only gaited horse I've ever worked with is my mare and she's about as ungaited as you can get for a horse that pops out a gait every once in a awhile. I've tried to "set" her gaits and failed miserably but she's really not very gaited at all - just a little flat walk and a little rack.
My boss is hoping [this horse is a therapy horse for kids with disabilities - he has a great mind for that...but is a huge brat the rest of the time :lol:] that we'll eventually get him set enough in his gait that we'll be able to "lunge him at a gait with a kid on his back" or at least predict what gait he'll choose when we gait him in hand, with a kid on his back.
He does seem to be 'extremely' gaited, in that I've never seen him do any kind of "normal" horse gait outside a walk. I've heard that he will canter, but I've never seen it or asked him for it.
He definitely has at least 2-3 gaits in between walk and canter. He happily does an identifiable flat-walk, then some kind of maybe-pace [to my untrained eye, it looked like the legs on one side were hitting the ground together...but I really don't know, both legs on each side were definitely moving together], and then some other kind of head-shaking, higher-stepping, FAST thing.
Anyhoo, I'm inclined to think that getting a 'good' gait on a lungeline might be a sort of pipe-dream since I've read that circles=/=gaited horses...but who knows!
It would be great to know if that^ was possible and how I might begin to train him to do one gait or another on command. He'll gait if you ask him to go faster than a walk...just which gait is up for grabs! haha
Thanks! I know you gaited horse people are super on top of it. I'm excited. :)
Problem is with a walker you dont just sit and let them gait- youll get a choppy rack instead of a running walk- you have to have pressure on the bit to keep them in desired gait.
You want to teach him collection.
I didn't even think of that, they do need 'support' don't they? Huh. Well then. Hopefully someone will have some ideas for me!
Most of these kids are pretty disabled, they aren't riders by any means. The goal isn't really for them to become riders either - the horse is just facilitating their external therapy via movement.
That kind of confirms what I thought though...maybe side reins would help??
Anytime, Maggie, anytime! I'll be here all night. :rofl: Glad to give you a chuckle! :)
yes they need something to brace against to be smooth- their flat walk is different than a quarter horses flat walk too- its more side to side action- can put someone more off ballance if not used to it-- my opinion.
You really need to be able to ride a walker-- they tend to make bad decisions on their own.. ask mine! She thinks walking up a tree is OK, lol. :-P
"Anyhoo, I'm inclined to think that getting a 'good' gait on a lungeline might be a sort of pipe-dream"
Very few gaited horses of any breed will do what you are asking. I've seen more Pasos do it, than any other.
The vast majority of gaited horses will move best ridden in contact. Riding in contact is a skill that must be developed. To say they have to "brace" may be true for some ways of going, but for most pleasure or trail riding just being able to feel the mouth (and the horse just being able to feel the hand) is going to be just fine.
I'd abandon any thought of "gaiting" and make sure you're safely "packing."
:shock: Do you have a clone of the TWH mare that I ride?! Tree-climbing is her speciality. Either that, or she thinks if she hits them enough times they'll learn to jump out of her way. *head desk*
In all seriousness though Wallaby, I'm NO gaited horse expert at all but I think your boss is being a bit of a dreamer when he/she thinks of getting the horse to gait on a lunge/in hand with a disabled child. I've only ridden two gaited horses in my life; a Peruvian Paso mare (who MAY have been ok with a disabled kid while gaiting, but she was older and very seasoned) and crazy Corona, my current mount. I kid you not, that's her nickname. She's not a BAD mare in any sense, but it took me a billion and two serpentines, circles, and half halts to get her even remotely controlled, balanced, and quiet at any gait faster than a walk. I don't particularly encourage her to gait (she only paces and racks as far as I can tell) but I do know that when she's in 'gaiting mode' theres no stopping her quickly and no 'slow' gait. The slowest I've gotten her gait down to is about the same as her most forward working trot. Its pretty crazy! That being said, maybe I'm just no gaited horse trainer and it IS possible to train them to slow down at a gait, so don't take my word as law xD
Actually, ALL of Corona's gaits are faster (and when it comes to trot, canter, and hand gallop, choppier) than the usual horse. Thus she really isn't a good candidate for out therapy kids. Again, not because she acts out or because she's dangerous (if no trees are in the way) but because she's just got one speed. Fast xD fast walk, fast pace, fast trot, speed demon canter. She also rides with a LOT more contact than I'm used to as a western rider, even at 'normal' gaits, which is pretty crazy. If you don't hold your contact, she's very likely to start getting unbalanced, panicky, and even faster. If you hold it though, she's typically a pretty smooth ride. I can't really see a disabled rider (or lead line walker) being able to give a gaited horse anything like her the support needed to stay balanced at anything past a walk.
Getting anything aside from a pace/trot on a lunge line is tough stuff! I've had limited luck with Baby Girl using side reins. She needs support to gait. She does a step pace-y racky thing. Which is smooth, but not quite a "proper" gait. But I suppose smooth is what you're going for.
When I use Baby Girl for lunge line lessons, she sometimes gaits if someone HEAVY is on her. She ignores little kids, but she'll step pace or sometimes rack with an adult on her back. I have no idea why.
I've worked with a couple horses who do a faster flat walk on a lunge line. Push for speed, however, and they either pace or trot.
I am glad to have worked with a Number of twh's in my time working with horses of a good breeding program that need absolutely no support. I have video of several in fact including a 2 y/o stud colt that had never even had a set of reins around his neck.( If anyone wants to see them you can pm me an email as I can't post pics or video on my cell) My personal gelding will fully gait under saddle on a loose rein. So yes with a good horse to start with and patient correct handling it can be done. It is the speed of these gaits that would concern me with therapeutic riding.
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