New rider with 1st horse-TWH! Help!
QUESTION: Can a TWH just walk, SLOWLY and not go into a gait? (and is that called a dog walk?)
Love this TWH, but he's too FAST! As soon as my butt hits the saddle, he takes about 2 steps, goes right into flat walk, then onto running walk, and onto canter! I'm a beginner, and lose control of the reins and just hang on for dear life to the saddle!:shock:
I'm in my mid 50s and have taken a bad fall, already. Now I'm afraid to get back on him.
Yes, I know. I am taking some lessons to work on ME. And I'm having someone else ride him for exercise, but this "trainer" knows NOTHING about Walkers and is very HARD HANDED on the horses mouth--even though he using a plain snaffle bit--no shanks--poor horses has raw places on both sides of his mouth.:cry:
I know NOTHING about this TWH's history...Maybe he was "taught" to go fast and not WHOA. At first he wouldn't stand to be mounted.
I did ride him about 4 times on trails before I got hurt. He ALWAYS had to be in FRONT! Wouldn't just stand still, while we riders talked. It was just always a struggle. I could slow him down with the shanked bit I had, before he could get to the canter! After I learned about shanks I didn't want to use it anymore.
Any opinions? Help? There are no TWH trainers within an hour of me.
My advice is for you to find a trainer who will work with both of you. Perhaps you might need lessons on a different horse for a while, but in the end you want to learn how to ride your own horse. If you aren't happy with the horse's current trainer, pull him out of that barn and find a new place that you're happy with. Being a beginner, you need hands-on teaching. An internet forum is wonderful for many things, but not this instance, other than someone maybe recommending a barn for you.
When I read your headline I thought to myself a beginner has no business with a walker. Then I read your post and you do have no business with a walker. Did you ride this horse before you bought it? Walkers are fast horses and you do not know how to keep your composure and ride the horse properly and he will just get faster. YOu can't just hang on and see what happens. An hour away is close, I would go take some lessons asap before it gets worse. I am guessing some of it is the horses personality but I am sure you are sending him mixed signals also. It took a while before I could get my Walker to go slowly and he will stand for hours or go go go but if I get a little nervous he gets tense and reacts. If I stay calm he stays calm.
As noted the problem here is not the horse, it's the rider.
Get some classical equitation lessons and you will learn how to rate a horse. You rate a gaited horse just like you do any other; it doesn't take any "magic" to do it.
Good luck but do it now before you get hurt.
One thing you can try (after you have more confidence and better seat from some lessons) is when he starts to get too fast, work him into a circle. You pick up one rein and start circling him . He will have to slow down. When he does, immediately let him out. He will speed up. Circle, slow him, let him out. You will have to do this a thousand times, but eventually, when he starts to speed up, just him feeling you pick up ONE rein, will tell him that if he doesn't slow down he is gonna have to do another Gol Durned circle and he'd rather not. So he will slow with just that. And you must immediately drop that rein to reward his slowing. He'll start to slow from just picking up one rein.
However, this will not change the fact that he will want to move out rapidly most of the time. TWH just are that way. Once you are more comfortable with his gait/walk, you will stay calmer on him and then my bet is that he will not panic speed into a canter. Horses run away from fear and pain.
So, if his mouth is sore from the bit, he will only fun harder against the pain when you apply the bit to slow him down. Gotta let his mouth heal and then figure out why the bit is rubbing him raw there.
Applying the bit strongly isn't a crime. After all, the horse will have light pressure once he learns to come off it. The trick is that you have to remember that you want him to come OFF that pressure, not ride it.
So you have to be as strong as it takes for him to give to your pressure, which is just a bit more than equal to his pull on the rein, then when he gives to you, you have to give the reins, totally. He will learn that there is relief for him the second he gives to the pressure and there is NO tug of war. However, it can look ugly for a few minutes when he pushes against the bit. you have to meet his pressure and an ounce MORE, so that he does give, then it's total freedom for him until he tests again. So, one may have to be really strong for a short period of time to make a horse soft to the bit, especially if they have learned to lean on the bit and go right through it. I would go back to a snaffle for awhile and maybe get a Dring so that there is no pinch risk at the corners of the mouth.
Sorry but I have to interject something here!!! TWH are great horses for beginners!!! They have stunning personalities. Like any other breed they do as they are TOLD!! DO you have any history on him? I know Some (not all mind you) younger and older folks train them to jump on and ride away. If you aren't sure what you're doing Please find a knowledgeable trainer for you AND your horse!! He is simply doing as he was taught to do. Or he has already figured you for a push-over.
I agree with Rascaholic. I ride a TWH and ride with friends who also ride them. Some go fast and some go slow. Usually it's the speed their rider wants to go at. My horse will go very slow because we often ride with QHs. If we're riding with other gaited horses she will go as fast as they do if I allow it. I have noticed that TWHs that have been show horses will often be speedy because they spend most of their time under saddle at a run-walk. I trained my TWH myself and have had her since she was 16 mo. old. She's now 15. She stands still to be mounted at a mounting block because I have arthritis in my knees and she is 16.2hh. Sometimes if my knees are extra painful it takes several tries to get on. She will just stand and wait. I will state no two horses are the same, but I have found most TWHs to be gentle and patient and an excellent choice for beginners.
For a beginner rider, I'm not surprised your confidence is shaken - a TWH that's ready to go will feel way too fast. I have ridden quarterhorses for years, and the first time I was on our new gaited horse at a medium-fast gait, I thought I was out of control! Very scary when you don't know what to expect. I agree with the advice to get a trainer. The trainer can help you to evaluate the horse to make sure it's safe; if so, learn to ride, and learn to stop - the one-rein stop is a key safety maneuver. I rode at first in a round pen while I got used to the gait and speed, where I felt safer and the horse couldn't get away from me and canter before I was ready. This was after a time when I'd been hurt in a fall and lost my confidence...I had to get used to what was 'normal' for that horse and then learn to slow it down or speed up on commnd. Another caution - if the TWH has been only used for trail and taught to go-go-go, you might have to actually teach it to turn its head to the side and flex for the one-rein stop. They can be really stiff if they've only been ridden in firm contact with long shanks, and they have to learn to loosen up before they can do the one rein stop.
You really don't want to risk getting hurt. Walkers are very alert and energetic, at least from my experience with them. Get you a nice little paint or something to start off... haha.
Walkers, in temperment, range from firecrackers to deadheads. There is no over-arching breed temperment. There are, however, "line temperments."
Many Walkers move too fast because their riders don't know how to slow them down and "rate" their cadence. This is an over-arching rider fault, not an over-arching horse fault.
Again, the OP does not need a trainer for the horse, they need an instructor for themselves.
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