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Shenandoah 09-14-2010 09:20 AM

What gait is that....?
I'm sure this is a stupid question, but being new to the gaited world...

When I'm riding, if I ask my horse to speed up, how can I tell if he's just walking faster, or has he actually started gaiting?
Is there any way to tell from the saddle for someone relatively inexperienced in gaited horses?

He has a tendency to trot, so I've been working on that. I now have certain situations where I can push him forward and get what feels like a distinct change in movement (it feels more like floating, and seems to have more suspension. His head comes up a bit, and it's definitely faster than his regular walk). I think he's gaiting, but I'm not sure if I'm deceiving myself.

charlicata 09-14-2010 10:31 AM

If it feels like he's kind of floating along, he's probably in his gait. If he gets bouncy, more than likely, he's trotting or pacing. The faster the gait, the smoother they are. Rookie has a tendency to start pacing...which I recently found out how to control, and get him back into his gait.

Of course this is my opinion, someone else on here that's more experienced with gaited horses may be able to give you better advice.

Shenandoah 09-14-2010 10:54 AM

I can tell when he's trotting (even though it's actually not very bouncy - he's really smooth). I'm more confused about knowing if he's just walking faster, or actually gaiting, since both are 4 beats.
Right now I can't get a fast gait out of him, he just trots. So we're on the slow end of the gait. Once I can consistently get him into a gait, then I'll work on picking up speed.

charlicata 09-14-2010 11:07 AM

He probably just needs to build up those muscles. I was told that was what Rook's problem was. He was used for team penning from the time he was broke up until he was about 7 yo. Which I think is pretty bad...considering he's a TWH. But he was gaiting in the field when I went to look at him, just not under saddle. I can now get and keep him in his slow gait (just since Sunday before last), but when I ask him to go faster, he goes into a pace. The one person that was watching and actually knew Rook when he was younger told me that he just needed to build up the muscles by doing A LOT of the slow gait. She said that they use different muscles when they are gaiting compared to when they're trotting or pacing.

Good Luck!!!!!

Shenandoah 09-14-2010 11:23 AM

Yeah, thanks. I know he's never really been asked to gait.
He sometimes gaits in the field, too, and occasionally will do it under saddle when I ask for more from the walk (especially if he's having fun, like once when we were out in a field with grass above his ears, deer nearby [he LOVES deer, thinks they're his best friends], on a perfect temperature day, he went into the most beautiful gait) - but probably 95% of the time we get a trot instead.
On his vet check flexion tests he was gaiting half the time, trotting half the time - silly boy. We were all laughing at him.

IF I'm correct that this is a slow gait that I'm getting him into, then I now have a place/condition where I can get it on command, which gives me something to work from.

I get what you're saying about building up the right muscles. I could definitely see that he wouldn't have those muscles right now, since he hasn't been worked that way. But to do that, I need to make sure he IS gaiting in the first place, and working the correct muscles now :D

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