Gaited horse a good option for a first time horse owner?
Been thinking for a while about getting a horse, and only a few things to really think about before I move forward with it. Getting a horse isn't a guaranteed yes right now ( I just have to make sure its the right decision- I have the savings fund for vet care and board and all that, but much more thinking is needed for other aspects)
So, even if that day isn't coming soon, I just had a few questions about gaited horses.
Some basic background on myself:
I rode when I was younger and have been riding again for the past 3 years. Area of focus is dressage. I never rode a gaited horse. Naturally, I am sure one tip is to ride one first to try one out, and all I really need to do is find someone with a gaited horse. But keep in mind- I am not at that point to look to buy yet, but just gathering info.
So, would there be any reason why a gaited horse would be a bad option for a first time horse owner?
Trying to answer it myself- care wise would be pretty much the same- the only aspect that I read that can be different is how their hooves are trimmed- so make sure the farrier can trim gaited horses. For the saddle- I also read as long as a saddle fits well and doesn't really interfere with the shoulders, it would be good OR you need a racking saddle.
One concern would be there may be a major difference between riding a gaited horse versus a non-gaited.... but I also read what matters is balance- just like riding another horse. I am reading up on riding gaited horses to try to find any differences.
The barn I work at and ride at only has non-gaited horses. I am sure some aspects of riding for each type of horse overlaps, but I do have to ask the manager if she can teach me to ride correctly on a gaited horse as well. ( I read that you don't necessarily have to have a gaited horse instructor, just a really good instructor in general) However, I can always look into if there is a trainer in my area as well.
What I would want for a horse is basically this:
I don't want a horse that is green. Would prefer a been there done that horse. ( age wise for the horse- looking at the 10+ year olds) I'd be willing to work with the horse on some things- but nothing major since I haven't trained any horses nor do I really want to.
My ambitions with a horse is to simply bond with the horse, and be able to leisurely ride it and work on the dressage aspects and to love it as part of my family. I would like to do ring work and do trails.
I have been reading about finding the right horse ad making sure the horse isn't too much for me- and those threads have been great! I am not really looking for any breed specific- I know there are tons out there that would fit what I am looking for in a horse, but of all the videos and reading I have been doing, I am liking the gaited horse.
Like I said prior- I need to simply ride a gaited horse, but I see no harm in asking this question right now and see what other people say. So, feel free to speak to me of your opinions and info and such.
thank you for your time. :D
There is absolutely no reason why you shouldn't own a gaited horses as your first horse if that is what you desire to do.
The thing with gaited horses is you need to know there are different levels. What I mean by that is, it all depends on what you are looking for. If you desire a gaited show horse, a fast “racking” horse, or desire a showy mover, you may (maybe) need to think about what more is involved, however remember that first and foremost a gaited horse is..well..just a horse.
I grew up riding and owning all different kinds of horses, gaited included. Right now I own a gaited RMH. He is barefoot and gets regular barefoot trims just like any non gaited horse. Gaited horses who wear regular shoes like a regular horses are often referred to as “flatshod” and it’s actually quite common. Gaited horses have functioned like normal horses for hundreds of years and will continue to do so without “fancy” interventions.
Like anything having to do with horse, there will be some who are convinced all gaited horses must be treated or ridden only in a certain way, with certain shoes, or certain bits….. and no other way will work.
Well, there is not just “one” way train a dressage horse, ride a jumper, reiner, cutter, WP, etc… Same with gaited. And don't let anyone convince you a gaited horse can't do X,Y, or Z. They can do anything a non-gaited horse can do....jump, trot, chase cattle,..atc...
Sometimes a little differently, yes, but they are still a horse.
I applaud your efforts to learn more about them before considering owning one, keep at it. Just know that if all you've uncovered so far is a world of interventions or special shoeing surrounding gaited horse…there is a whole other world out there in gaited horses.
Standard care issues are the same and as with any horse, the diet, care, etc..will need to be tailored to the individual horse and riding goals. Saddles vary…some horses do better in gaited saddles, other gaited horses do fine in regular saddles. It has as much to do with how a horse is actually put together as anything else.
If you can ride a regular horse, you can ride a gaited horse. There isn’t a huge amount of difference and again, don’t think in terms of only “one correct way.” You need to be a balanced rider, just like any other horse, and will pick up the specifics with no problem. Gaited dressage is also gaining in awareness too.
Personality wise...gaited horses are known for their big and generous hearts. :D
My horse experience consisted of having a Shetland pony as a kid which was ignored after I got a mini bike. More recently I've been taking my daughter to lessons for the past couple of years. I decided that my daughter needed a horse and that I should have one to ride with her. The trot was uncomfortable to my 40+ year old back so I bought a Rocky Mountain gelding. He's a great horse with a big motor who loves to go and is a blast to ride. More recently I thought my wife needed a horse and bought her a Tn walker mare who is laid back and loves to just walk. Shes the perfect beginner horse. We've got 2 entirely different gaited horses but really enjoy them both. I can't answer the dressage part of your question as were backyard and trail riders.
First I would take some lessons on the breed of horse you want. All their gaits are different and you should know what a proper gait feels like. If they are ridden incorrectly they might "loose" their gait.
Another thing to consider is they tend to be forward horses. Not hot, but they were bred to move a good rate of speed long distances. The TWH I works with a fall pretty good "bomb proof" wise, they are sweet and forgiving. Of course it varies horse to horse, but overall I like the breed.
Speaking from experience (two of older friends are under my "supervision" with their TWHs) I'd say id say go for it!! If you have any questions send me a private message, I'd be happy to help!! :D
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For those new to gaited horses, the speed of the run/walk can be disconcerting as they feel the horse is running away with them. Gaited horses aren't dawdlers. You'd be riding a Ferrari, not a VW.
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thanks for your input guys.
Many more things to consider, but at least I know there is not a major differences between the gaited and non gaited that it wouldn't be good to start with one.
Definatly gonna google around for some gaited horse to ride.
But s far as the gaited horse- do you have a recommended book on riding them that I would benefit from?
thanks again for your time and input!
There is going to be a big difference going from one to the other.
I'd say look at YouTube videos about gaits and gaited horses.
But the biggest thing is going to be experiencing them first hand! Especially the breed your interested in. Different breeds can have different gaits.
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In your post you mentioned that you work and ride at a non-gaited barn and also that you want to also ride trails. So I wanted to add this for you to think about.
Most people that I know don't like to ride in a mixed group of gaited/non-gaited horses. Even at a flat walk most gaited horses will walk faster so either you are constantly having to move ahead and then circle back or the non-gaited horses are having to trot to keep up. You can put the gaited horse behind a slower one to force it to slow down but then the horse usually gets frustrated because it can't go at the pace that's comfortable. Then if you want them to do their gait the other riders really have to speed it up.
If you want to stay at your current barn and ride with the people there I'd lean more strongly towards a non-gaited horse. If you really want a gaited horse, I'd shop around for a new barn.
And just because I love this story and it fits here...
I bought a 13 hand gaited pony that was supposed to be a resale project but of course I fell in love and couldn't part with her (RIP Cherokee, I still miss you). The first time I took her on a trail ride with some friends, who were riding quarter horses, the general consensus at the beginning of the ride was that I should lead the pack so that the little pony wouldn't get left behind. We weren't gone for 15 minutes before they were all hollering at me to get in the back. Those calls came from way behind me and I was laughing my butt off at them, I had never gotten out of a flat walk.
Just to add to what JC says, most gaited horses go at a faster clip than non gaited horses but that's not an absolute. Some can and do slow down for their non gaited brethren. In general though, if you intend to ride with non gaited horses than I would suggest buying a non gaited horse.
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