Do you care about how gaited your horse is?
I have been riding gaited horses almost exclusively for the last 3-4yrs. When I first got into gaited horses it was after having ridden a few field trials on a Appy, and litteraly beating my guts out. So i got into gaited horses for a smooth ride at the speeds where field trials tend to run.
I used to be obsessed with gait and animation, my first horse was a paso with alot of action. since I have ridden alot of gaited horses both mine and others, and I find that if its smooth I dont really care what it looks like or really even the mechanics.
So for you gaited riders (shows aside) how concerned are you with the action and mechanics of your gaited horse, vs. a clean smooth ride?
I used to not be concerned. Then I felt my horse and I would benefit from learning and using different gaits, basically flat/running walk , and rack.
It's a personal choice.
When the mechanics are right, not necessarily high action, the gaits will be smooth.
I can honestly say I have no interest in the correctness of my foxtrotter's gaits - as long as she heads down the trail in a relaxed and quiet manner then I'm happy.
If you're asking about "action" - no, I don't care. Being flashy has no practical purpose outside of the show ring, and since I don't show my horse I don't really need it. And, quite honestly, I've been to some NWHA shows (as a spectator) and was not all that impressed by the winners of the rail classes.
Some of them moved more like hackney ponies than Walking horses. Many still had the same stiff necked movement that is common among "padded/performance" horses. I guess I'd make a lousy judge, because none of the horses that (to me) looked like very natural, enjoyable riding horses were placing at all. The ribbons kept going to the "action" horses.
Again, that may be the "look" they're going for in the ring, but when I'm on trail I have no need for it. It's just burning energy for no reason. I want that energy so we can stay out on trail longer. There isn't a judge or crowd out there that needs to be impressed.
I want a horse that is smooth, yes. And one that can move along at a nice, swift walk comfortably (for me and for him) for a long ride, but can can shift gears when the terrain requires him to go more cautiously, or when it allows for us to open up and do some cantering. I want a horse that will pick his way through tricky footing, large rocks or downed trees. That's the only time I want or need a horse that lifts his feet.
As long as my TWH's are performing their gaited birth-right (they don't all do the running walk) and they do it smoothly, I'm happy.
If they get jiggy on me and stay jiggy, I call the chiropractor as it's been my experience my horses need an adjustment if they are consistently choppy.
Although, the horse in my avatar has been known to get mad at me and move himself around like an off-balance agitator in a washing machine. I don't know how he does it but, when he lets out a big huff, I know I'm about to get the caps jarred off my teeth, if I don't hurry and get him down to a dog walk:)
Just 'cause the horse is smooth does not mean that all is well in Mudville.
You do have to care about husbandry. If you've gotten "smooth" by screwing up the foot angles you'll eventually have lameness and sorness issues.
You do have to care about the mechanics. If the farrier is not trimming to anatomical correctness eventually you'll have lamness and soreness issues.
You do have to care about form. If you over-ride the gait (i.e., go too fast) the horse will lose form and get rough. Then the "experts" will tell you what devices and techniques to use to make the horse smooth (vice just slow down). Eventually you'll have lamness and soreness issues.
You do have to care about strength and fitness. A horse that weak and unfit will have a poor, often rough, gait. Then the "experts" will tell you what devices and techniques to use to make the horse smooth (vice just propertly condition the horse). Eventually you'll have lamness and soreness issues.
You do have to care about conformation. A poorly conformed horse will have trouble holding gait over time. Then it will get rough. Then the "experts" will tell you what devices and techniques to use to make the horse smooth (vice just pick a better horse). Eventually you'll have lamness and soreness issues.
So, **** straight you'd best care about how "gaited" your horse is. Unless you enjoy inflicting pain on animals and/or paying big dollars to vets, farriers, clinicians, etc.
No one said anything about experts, devices, ferriers or anything else..... my question was the exact opposite. I am looking for people who DO ride their horses naturally for what they are and who ARENT taking shortcuts to anything.
Now I'm not sure if you mis interpreted my question, if I didn't state it clearly enough, or if you just need to let the world know how smart you are.
I'm asking the average trail riding, dog chasing, endurance riding gaited horse owner if they are overly concerned with whether or not their horse looks the part that is depicted on the WWW. or wherever.
I see a lot of gaited horses the range from ex-padded to trotty and most of their owners are satisfied as long as its smoother than sitting a non gaited steed, I just wanted to hear what others thought, most people seemed to get where I was coming from.
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