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momo3boys 03-25-2011 10:24 AM

what cues do you use?
My RMH has some seriously gorgeous gaits on the lunge line and I would like to use as many of them as possible. This is my first gaited horse and I love him to death! He can walk, pace (would rather not use this one), step-pace, run-walk, Rack, an amazingly smooth trot for a gaited horse, canter and gallop, and even do this strange half trot, half canter thing that looks cool, but I am not sure what it is.

So my question is, what cues should I use for the gaits that I want? I suppose I would like to see the walk, run-walk, rack, trot, canter, gallop? Any ideas? Do I want the stepping pace?

I will see if I can get a video of them if that would help..

CloudsMystique 03-25-2011 11:03 AM

Do you want to know a cue to use on the lunge or under saddle?

On the rare occasions that I lunge my mare without a surcingle, she will sometimes do some messed-up gaits because she doesn't have me to help her hold herself together. I personally like to do this every once in a while... to teach her to hold it together on her own.

Does your horse know verbal cues for "woah," "walk," "gait," "canter," "speed up," and "slow down"? If not, I would definitely teach him that.

My mare knows the words "woah" and "walk." I use "trot" for gait, and I cluck quietly to tell her to speed up and cluck loudly for canter. I say "whooooop" when I want her to slow down.

If she goes from a walk right into a slow pace or a stepping pace, I say "ahh" and step out in front of her a bit. This causes her to go back to a walk and realize she did something wrong. Then I say "trot" again.

If she goes from the gait I want (foxtrot in my case, runwalk or rack in your case), it's typically because she's going faster than she's ready to go. In that case, I tell her to slow down.

If she's not cantering correctly (or foxtrotting into the canter, which I HATE), I speed her up and then let her slow down on her own. She knows when I'm lunging her that she needs to be collected at the canter and she knows if she doesn't she's going to have to canter faster.

Now if you're talking about under saddle, it'll be pretty similar. If you ask him to gait and he goes from a walk right into a stepping pace or a pace, scold him. Say "ahh" and bump him back to a walk. Then ask him to gait again.

If he goes from a runwalk or rack to a stepping pace or pace, scold him and slow him down until he gets back into the runwalk or the rack.

I never encourage horses to trot/gait into the canter. If you don't want him to do the strange gait (and trust me, it's NOT comfortable under saddle), try speeding him up to a normal canter and letting him slow down on his own. If that doesn't work, I would make him stop every time you ask for a canter and he takes a step in something that's not a canter. And then ask again...

I wouldn't encourage the stepping pace if I were you, especially if he's wanting to do a hard pace as well. It'll only make it worse.

Hope that helps!

Jacksmama 03-25-2011 03:53 PM

As Cloudsmystique mentioned, they often do some funky gaits on the lunge. My gelding tends to trot on the lunge or at liberty but is a gaiting machine under saddle. When lunging I use more vocal cues than anything, Jack knows "walk", when I click my tongue it means speed up to a trot/gait, when I tell him "hup" it means canter, easy means slow back to a gait/trot, and "Whoa" to stop. I had this firmly entrenched when I started him under saddle and I honestly believe it made it easier for him to understand what I wanted under saddle. We slowly transferred those vocal commands to leg and seat cues and now he knows what I want by those cues. However, if he gets a bit frisky the vocal commands reinforce my cues and tend to penatrate the "fuzzies".

I agree that you shouldn't encourage a pace of any kind, even a stepping pace. It's actually bad for their back to travel in that manner.

momo3boys 03-28-2011 03:02 PM

Ok, so now I'm confused. I thought that a pace was a desired gait? All these gaits' are So confusing! I trained him yesterday to pace at a double kiss and walk when I say 'walk'. Still working on whoa, not the favorite word for a 3yo! lol I will try that 'ahh' and stepping in front of him to see if I can get a constistent 'rack'

CloudsMystique 03-28-2011 03:30 PM


Originally Posted by momo3boys (Post 977698)
Ok, so now I'm confused. I thought that a pace was a desired gait? All these gaits' are So confusing! I trained him yesterday to pace at a double kiss and walk when I say 'walk'. Still working on whoa, not the favorite word for a 3yo! lol I will try that 'ahh' and stepping in front of him to see if I can get a constistent 'rack'

Nope, almost nobody likes a pace, especially for a RMH. It's really only encouraged in Standardbreds and Iceys.

IMO, I don't think a pace should even be considered one of the "gaits" of a gaited horse. Gaited horse gaits are generally considered "anything that isn't a walk, trot, or canter," but I don't like that. A pace is two-beat and it's bumpy. It's the polar opposite of a trot, but it couldn't be more different from the other intermediate gaits. The "gaits" of gaited horses should consist of everything in between the trot and the pace.

IMO, there's no reason to teach a gaited horse to pace (aside from Iceys and Standardbreds). It has the up-and-down bounce that a trot has, but it also has a horrible side-to-side motion. And, like Jacksmama said, it forces them to travel in a hollow position and it hard on their backs.

momo3boys 03-29-2011 09:55 AM

I rode a Standardbred/racking horse the other day and he paced under saddle, he wasn't hollow at all, he was smooth as silk. It was a bit of a stepping pace but mostly a pace. No side to side at all! When my RMH step-paces he isn't hollow either, he looks smooth and graceful. When he trots he looks like Morgan, head up tail up and smooth. I am going to try and remember to bring my tripod today so that I can film it.

Anyone know what that crazy gait is called when they canter in the back and trot in the front?

Jacksmama 03-29-2011 10:51 AM

Tranter! Lol, Jack is bad about it too. Definitely not a desired gait and it's very uncomfortable to ride IMO. It's a result of your boy not being physically mature/coordinated and he's not sure what to do with his feet. By definition, physiologically the way the horse had to hold themselves to hard pace they are hollowed out. It may not be as obvious in some, but they are hollow. The Standie/RH you rode, how fast were you going? When they're pacing at slow speeds it's not nearly as uncomfortable.

Check out this article about pacing. Keep in mind a lot of terms for gaits are regional(i.e. to me a stepping pace is a pace that is just BARELY broken and still bad for the horse and not a desired gait, in the article they use slightly different terminology. )
Cure That PACE!

Brighteyes 03-29-2011 06:12 PM

If you have a problem with pacing, say no to that stepped pace. It's just too easy for him to slip between one and another and you not notice. My mare's pace and stepped pace (when she gives it to me) feel about the same (and they both suck). Stepped pace will make a pace worse. :wink:

My cues...

Dog walk = Soft click with verbal command "walk out" and a little squeeze with the leg.

Flat walk/run walk = Harder click with verbal command "walk out" and a combination of squeezing/nudging, but never kicking. I sit deep in the saddle and drive with my seat.

Trot = Lighten seat, kiss, and say "trot". The key difference between asking for a trot and a walk is that I'm not sitting deep.

Canter = Sit back, drive with seat, and kiss with verbal command "canter".

I don't have one for the rack, even though she'll give me that gait once in a while. I don't encourage it.

momo3boys 04-09-2011 09:16 PM

Here's the video, Let me know what you think. Right now I say 'walk' for a walk. double kiss for the gait, (whatever THAT is!) and can-ter for the canter. What should I use for the trot? The word? How do you think his trot looks?

NOt the best video I know so do your best....

CloudsMystique 04-10-2011 03:32 PM

His trot looks good, but he did pace quite a bit. His canter needs work : )

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