TWH Gait - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 18 Old 04-05-2019, 05:58 PM Thread Starter
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TWH Gait

What is a gait supposed to look like?

I've seen a bunch of different YouTube videos of (non-sored, big lick) TWHs that gait with their head high with a head nod. However, when I gait my TWH, her head is low/flat with very little head nod. I know she is gaiting as I've taken videos of it and watched her hoof fall. Is that normal? Does that mean she's on her forequarters? She's kind of always like this (in the pasture, lunging, or under saddle) unless she gets exited/nervous or on the trail. The saddle fits fine, and she is healthy. She is also barefoot and bitless.

When they are gaiting, how do you know if they are using themselves?
Again, from the videos I've seen, they all look rather hollow and stiff. This is my first gaited, and I'm more used to the head down, shoulders up, and rounded back feel and look, and I can't tell with gaiteds.

Thanks.

Last edited by Equilibrium; 04-05-2019 at 06:03 PM.
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post #2 of 18 Old 04-05-2019, 06:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Equilibrium View Post
What is a gait supposed to look like?

I've seen a bunch of different YouTube videos of (non-sored, big lick) TWHs that gait with their head high with a head nod. However, when I gait my TWH, her head is low/flat with very little head nod. I know she is gaiting as I've taken videos of it and watched her hoof fall. Is that normal? Does that mean she's on her forequarters? She's kind of always like this (in the pasture, lunging, or under saddle) unless she gets exited/nervous or on the trail. The saddle fits fine, and she is healthy. She is also barefoot and bitless.

When they are gaiting, how do you know if they are using themselves?
Again, from the videos I've seen, they all look rather hollow and stiff. This is my first gaited, and I'm more used to the head down, shoulders up, and rounded back feel and look, and I can't tell with gaiteds.

Thanks.
If there is no head nod, she is doing a rack or stepping pace. These are both smooth gaits but not traditionally acceptable in the show ring for TWH. Post a video and I could probably tell you more.
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post #3 of 18 Old 04-05-2019, 06:41 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by stormytherockymountain View Post
If there is no head nod, she is doing a rack or stepping pace. These are both smooth gaits but not traditionally acceptable in the show ring for TWH. Post a video and I could probably tell you more.
Thanks. We'll see about the videos, as I'm not sure how to upload without YouTube. It's not that important. I'm just a backyard trail rider.
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post #4 of 18 Old 04-05-2019, 07:44 PM
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The TWH show people lift the horse's heads and hollow them out on purpose. (Those horses are also bred to be pacey so they can alter it to a big lick). They want the front end raised, the back hollow, and the back end moving like a German Shepherd dog. So don't try to emulate that.

At the same time, I don't really believe in all that "using themselves correctly" stuff either.

Gaited horses are pretty simple as far as riding on trails. I squeeze a little with my legs, have light contact on the mouth (they seem to gait better with contact) and push them just out of the walk into their gait. I really don't think about how high their head is or whether they are using themselves or anything like that. Light contact, squeeze them up into the bridle and go. Even in training a horse to gait, you pretty much push them to walk as fast as they can until they just start naturally slipping into gait.

There is a saying that says "if they aren't nodding, they aren't walking." That is true. But there are several other lovely gaits besides a running walk, so as long as the horse is smooth and the horse is doing a natural gait, I wouldn't mess with it.

Gaited horses do seem to have a higher head carriage naturally, but it can vary a lot. Fox Trotters for instance like to stretch their necks out and tip their noses out when they gait.


Enjoy your gaited horse! I think they are a blast to hit the trails with!
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There's a lot of stupid out there!
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post #5 of 18 Old 04-05-2019, 07:56 PM Thread Starter
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@trailhorserider
Guess my horse ain't walkin' then.

It feels like she is shuffling.

I've seen some other backyard (barefoot but bitted) TWH riders and they're riding a giraffe. I've just never seen a video with their TWH with a flat/low head. My "TWH" isn't registered or have any papers or anything. It's just based on the word of the lady I bought her from. She looks like a TWH, and she does gait, she just doesn't look "normal", but then again, I don't know.

Don't worry, though. I love her. She is tons of fun and loves the trails.

Thanks.
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post #6 of 18 Old 04-05-2019, 08:11 PM
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Do you have a video? TWH have a million gaits hidden in their genetics. I had a colt who would show a flat walk, dog walk, trot, pace, and fox trot at liberty. Those only the ones I could identify. Lol.

It could also be they type of Walker you have. Some are big, lanky show types. Others can look more like morgans.
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post #7 of 18 Old 04-06-2019, 09:08 AM
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If you are having a hard time telling - the easiest rule of thumb for you to know your horse is in a gait is how easy it is to sit. If it's bouncy then you are not in a gait. They usually have 4 or 5 speeds they can go smoothley at. The head is usually held up high and the horse does like some reign contact rather than none.

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post #8 of 18 Old 04-06-2019, 09:24 AM Thread Starter
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I've been hearing a lot of people say that TWH need/like to have contact. Is there a reason why? Compared to other breeds that can go on a loose rein. Does it help with stepping under?

I've also seen most TWH in some sort of curb or mechanical hackamore rather than a snaffle or a regular hackamore. Why?
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post #9 of 18 Old 04-06-2019, 10:01 AM
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I have a TWH but I don't really know the ins and outs. Mine does ride better in the curb bit and she likes contact however she will ride in a snaffle with little to no contact as well. I have a feeling the contact has to do with the balance and I'm not sure why hte bit but what they make specifically for TWH's is usually a curb.

"Be a best friend, tell the truth, and overuse I love you
Go to work, do your best, don't outsmart your common sense
Never let your prayin knees get lazy
And love like crazy"
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post #10 of 18 Old 04-06-2019, 11:19 AM
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Search for Ivy Schexnayder on YouTube. She's got a whole bunch of free gaited horse videos. I am also learning how to gait my pacey twh, and for the trail, it's all about getting the head down, the back strengthened, and the relaxation. Apparently the biggest problem that Gaited horses that Ivy takes in for training is the jacked up, hollow backed horse that paces. That posture apparently leads to unsoundness over time.Too much speed also seems to contribute to gait problems. Sounds to me like your girl knows what's good for her!
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