Okay, I have friends with gaited horses. And I have friends with non-gaited horses. I have one of each- a laid back Mustang and a Missouri Fox Trotter.
The gaited horse folks really don't appreciate my Mustang. He walks slow. He is relaxed. He is darn near the most perfect trail horse you will ever encounter. But did I mention he's slow? This leaves me trotting to catch up to the flat walk of the gaited horses. I am the one doing all the trotting and I don't mind it at all. But it seems to disturb the peace among the gaited horse owners whose horses are more high strung and get excited if we trot to catch up.
I am not trotting past them, I am just trying to catch up. My horse is a perfect gentleman. Why do I feel guilty for wanting to ride him? If my horse is well behaved and their horse is a spaz, is that my fault? Well, it feels like it is.
Okay, so just ride the Fox Trotter you say, problem solved! Well I like to rotate my horses so they both get ridden about 50/50. And the horse whose turn it is to be ridden isn't always the one that matches up with the people I am riding with.
Now if I am riding the gaited horse with non-gaited folks, it doesn't bother me one bit. I stop and wait, stop and wait, no biggie. I am not in a hurry. But the gaited horse people don't enjoy doing the same for me when I am on my Mustang. I think they find us annoyingly slow, and if we trot to catch up, we are a disruption.
Now this is really more of a rant than a real problem. Because I will ride whichever horse I choose and if it bothers them that much we just don't have to ride together. But one of the gaited horse folks is a good friend. So I know she would rather not ride with my slow horse, but the slow horse needs exercise too. So I sometimes ride the slow horse and then feel really apologetic about it.
I hate feeling guilty because my horse doesn't fit in with the "in crowd." Unless I am doing something dangerous I don't see why I should always be the one conforming to them. If their horse is a spaz because my well behaved horse has to trot, or heaven forbid they might have to slow down a little, well, why am I the problem? Whose to say the horse that won't walk slow is the problem instead?
Even my Fox Trotter, because she gets ridden a lot, is just not as "fast" as the gaited horses that don't get ridden routinely. They are all fired up and ready to go. I ride about 5 days a week. My horses are just not chomping at the bit raring to go. That should be a good thing, right?
I guess I just had to vent!