Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: Houston area, Texas
Appropriately training, then asking a horse to perform a gait that is safe on the joints is not mean.
One of my mounts is a high level competitive cutting horse, that I am turning into an English dressage horse because it's better for his joints (he got pretty torn up in the Western world), he needs a job, and it's a challenge for both of us. Sharing because part of that job is getting him to abandon the jog trot for a more forward, bigger, faster trot. Teaching a horse a new gait, or reviving one that was taught long ago and has gone unused, can be hard! Pay attention to their habits at all gaits, spend lots of time on the line, and be patient - if you have a good, well trained horse and you're not getting the gait you want right away, look very closely at what you are, or are not, communicating with your body. With this boy, for instance, we spent many sessions where any command to halt was interpreted as "back up," and any request to speed up the trot meant "gallop." You'll get it, but new gaits are hard, and take time.
Good luck, and have fun! Please do let us know how it goes.
Jan Shultis xenahorse.com
Know yourself. Know your horse. Ride with joy.