Re-training gaited horses...
Let me start by saying that Im not a newbie to the gaited horse I have been riding, breaking, and training Paso Finos for years but recently have decided to branch off because I am wanting calmer trail horses so here goes
We bought a 14 y/o double registered SSHBEA & NRHA horse (but both parents were grade TWH). We are trying to figure out what has happened to his gait. When we test rode him he did pretty good and was pretty smooth for a horse that had been ridden 3 times in the past year. He is now breaking his gait into this horrible trot. I have done some research on TWH and training to gait. We have tried draw reins, half haults, and slowing him down when he breaks gait, but he is still doing it. We have had him and have been working on it for 6 or more months. We currently ride him in a IMUS comfort gait bit which he seems to like (when we test rode him he was chomping the bit nonstop in hers and when we swapped him after we got him he stopped and actually started to drop his head to take the bit). We bought a BIG HORN walking horse saddle for him and ride him in a SMX Air glide pad. We also rode him a couple times in an english hunter/jumper saddle to see if it was the saddle bit and didnt notice a difference. I cant seem to get in touch with the previous owner to ask her. He was a show horse for years so i know he knows the gaits we are just having problems keeping him in it. Oh also he was shod in the front but we took those off 2 wks after we got him and gave him hoof supplements to help them grow out. Our farrier claims his feet are great and no issues there. ANY suggestions? Oh we can get him to keep the gait if we are on the trail if we keep him back and let the other horses get way ahead (not a good training method I know). Also I did research to make sure I was holding my seat correctly and I am with a deep seat but not leaned back as to put pressure on the far back of him. Just running out of ideas, and Id give up but I know its there.
PS- No arena to work him in
He probable needs his shoes back on. He needs to be shorter in front and longer in the rear hoof. Mine won't gait if he is barefoot, he has to have shoes. But I do have my trail mare that goes all day long with no shoes and never misses a lick. Hope this helps.
You have done everything right. Well done :)
My horse has the same problem. Have you ruled out back issues? Take your thumb and index finger nails and glide them down both sides of the back bone. Does he flinch? Sit down? Move? If he does, that is the problem.
A trot is easier to fix than a pace. Are you collecting him or letting him have his entire head? You will get nothing done with his head held loose and flopping completely. He needs to get his forehand up and his nose back towards the vertical. His butt also needs to be lowered.
You said he wasn't being ridden in a while. How much time are you willing to spend on this? Have you been riding him lately? It isn't going to be a fix-in-5-minutes kind of thing.
How short are his feet cut? Shoes don't have much to do with anything, but again all horses are different. Mine gaits beautifully barefoot.
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