Saddlebred Natural Trot vs. High Motion trained Trot - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 8 Old 05-25-2015, 12:37 AM Thread Starter
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Saddlebred Natural Trot vs. High Motion trained Trot

I'm hearing that few saddlebreds are trained to do high motion trot through stretchies and pads on their feet or it's through how they are built?

I have a mare and I would like her leg motion get up to where her knees are perfectly straight out and aligned with her chest.


At one point, I saw her get pretty close to that motion but unfortnately didn't catch it on video to confirm how big she got. So would this be possible and not too demanding for my mare to learn?

https://youtu.be/lTIvYMGdNwk

and we have her wearing stretchies, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n80wzlCKBiU

I would like to push her to become a little more showy for showing purposes. My trainer shoots her down cause she's not louisville quality saddlebred which is wayy too much motion for what I'm asking for. I'm just asking for a nice little motion to ride with for fun.

I hear that what you see is what you get but if you put stretchies on them, in 2nd video for example. She shows that she can do high legged motion without issue but needs help with it. Is this stretchies something that helps them to develop into a habit of doing high legged motion or just there to make them stronger to do what?
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post #2 of 8 Old 05-25-2015, 03:13 AM
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oh, gosh, I am not a "Saddlebred" person, so please forgive me if I come off as ignorant. however, the hrose in the first video looked a lot more mentally sane. and I'd rather ride a mentally sane horse than one that trots around with a sense of fear and frustration because every time he moves his feet he feels a "pull" on them from a stretchie. it might make him move "higher", but how does he feel about that?
from the video , I'd gauge he feels a bit frantic about it. ok, he'll learn to accept it. and he'll look better, and show better, and if that's what you want, ok, he's your horse. But, there is nothing "wrong" with a Saddlebred's inborn way of trotting. it's good, as is.
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post #3 of 8 Old 05-25-2015, 11:03 AM
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*sigh*
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post #4 of 8 Old 05-25-2015, 12:14 PM
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Alrighty so I've been on the Arabian saddle seat circuit enough that I feel relatively confident on commenting on this.

First and foremost, pads and stretchies are just ways to fast track the horse into the show ring. Pads way more than the stretchies; a) the pads don't seem to do much for horses that actually have the talent, and they don't magically make your horse trot higher. I'm basically convinced people use pads because other people (namely trainers) are using pads.

Pads
My horse was shown saddle seat, and shown in pads (Mayyyyybe like 1/2 inch thick? He was still able to go out and do horse stuff, and was not cooped up in his stall). He has a good Country English Pleasure trot, however the way the arabian politics are working, there's some people who say the purebreds just need to be focused on having the right form, but in the ring it's always the highest stepper, but we're moving on from that. He does not, has not, and probably will not ever trot "level". The pads (Ours are thin, flexible leather) did not make him trot level and were basically there for concussion.

My friend's horse (half saddlebred) trots above level, even without his shoes. They were pulled, and he was still trotting above his ears without them. They were put back on, no real difference.

The major con with pads (especially with saddlebreds because their pads and shoes are bigger than the AHA's), is that you have to consider turn out. Way too many people go "I'm not going to risk my horse throwing a $200 shoe, so they're not going out (at all) except to be worked". (And then they wonder why their horse is so hot and high strung...#logic) That is not an option, for your horse's sanity. You have to have a safe place for turn out. My horse went out in the arena during bad weather, and we had smaller paddocks (still enough room for him to run around in and fart about) they could go out in when it was dry.

So basically pads are dumb because they really don't do anything, are expensive and can infringe on your horse's turnout. 0/10 reccommend when you sit down and think about it.

Stretchies Stretchies aren't really the end of the world. Your horse is sitting more upright in the second video, but she doesn't look "out of control" or "insane". Most people are used to seeing forward moving western/hunter types without the knee action. While saddlebreds can obviously be shown hunter, they're going to look different from the forward-moving warmbloods, etc especially people used to working with western stock horses- they simply do not move the same way.

It's for resistance training, but either the horse works with them or they don't. Rush didn't mind the stretchies and kinda putzed along, but they didn't do anything for him so I only used them 3 times and then I stopped. My friend with the high stepper actually trots lower with them on, go figure (but he also hates them). I would recommend working her on the lunge line or in long lines with the stretchies rather than just turning her loose with them. She doesn't look wigged out or upset by them by them; she's not tripping over herself, trying to bolt or just generally being stupid about it. Every once in a while she stops at a wall and thinks about it before trotting off, but w/e.

You need to do this with a softer bit (IDK what one you use, not important, but just don't do this with a strong bit ;.;), but there's the whole "pushing them through the bit" and making them sit down; my dressage trainer actually explained this to me, I just don't think she realized I'd be applying it to saddle seat. Think of your horse like a see saw; when the back end goes down, the front end comes up, lifting the front and elevating the trot/knees/action. Definitely have your trainer explain how to do it. It's not that hard, but still.

Natural motion/etc
Saddlebreds, Icelandics, Friesian, Morgans,Arabians (as well as gaited breeds) are built to have the motion. Not always, not every single one of them, but you can see it in the free photos of them out to pasture (to avoid infringing on copyright laws, do a google search- I'm on a ton of Arabian facebook sales pages and there's plenty of people who post photos of their arabs trotting level, barefoot out in the pasture. 80% of them aren't even people who show, and 50% of those don't show saddleseat, so have no reason to do anything to force the motion) They're able to do it because their center of gravity is not over their shoulders like the forward moving western stock/hunter type horses. People think I'm full of it when I say that, but find a saddlebred/gaited horse/w/e, and a western stock type horse. I have access to Kentucky Mountain Saddle Horse (gaited) and a Paint- you can feel the difference when you actually hop on these horses bareback. The paint horse's center of gravity is over his shoulders, and he's very low to ground, long and low headset, etc. (so very traditional in what people want- he was show trained before his owner got him, and he's a very good boy) The KMSH is very upright and he doesn't trot (he ambles), so he doesn't have the high stepping gait, but he naturally is very upright and his head is right there in front of your face when you're on his back. His owner does not show, is a beginner, isn't not bent about his training or anything beyond "can this horse walk/amble/canter when I ask without murdering me? Yes? Cool". There's nothing forced about him, his motion or headset (I probably should work on having him collect and round out his back and booty more especially since he's upright, but that's for another discussion). She doesn't care- she just wants a horse who can be putzed around in the pasture. All his flash is him being him.

So yeah. Basically anything at/below level is totally possible to achieve without short cuts through proper training/utilizing any training she already has by sitting her back and down. It's when you get to the above level (in most instances, however I know a park horse trainer who gets his horses to work by working them in a sand pit and sitting them down- those shoulder muscles man) that things can possibly have gotten weird, and most people have a bad taste put in their mouth involving high action, saddle seat etc, because of the ridiculous big lick abusers (Which there are abusers in every discipline, saddleseat included, but the big lick people kinda take the cake and there are issues that need to be addressed in the saddle seat circuit aside from just the big lickers but that's for another discussion).

Last edited by Bedhead; 05-25-2015 at 12:20 PM.
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post #5 of 8 Old 05-25-2015, 06:13 PM
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what a thoughtful and informative response from someone in that same discipline and show area.
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post #6 of 8 Old 05-25-2015, 06:30 PM
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Your horse is built to have motion. However like Bedhead said, you can either take the fast track with stretchies and pads or you can built up the horse's muscles and make it more comfortable for him by really teaching him to be more elevated. You can do that with pole exercises and hill work.
Good luck training your horse, I hope you and him do well together!
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post #7 of 8 Old 05-25-2015, 07:10 PM
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Depends on where you show.
ApHC (Appaloosa ), also offers Saddle seat pleasure classes, and none of those horses are shod with built up pads, as they are not competing on the saddlebred circuit, and show in other events (ie, they are not specialized, showing only Saddleseat )
Apparently, there are different shoing rules on the Saddlebred circuit itself, far as divisions

Shoeing for Different Divisions - Saddlebreds | 2015 AOT Clinic
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post #8 of 8 Old 06-03-2015, 07:41 AM
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I agree with Bedhead. Your horse is made to have motion. Currently she just puts it all in the hind end. Teaching her long lining is the best approach because teaching a horse to be light in the front end starts with lightness in the mouth. This is impossible to achieve in a bitting rig because you can't get the feel of their mouth. The bitting rig allows a horse to evade the pressure and give a false headset without true drive from the hind quarters through the back to the neck. The same can be said about a overcheck it teaches a horse to evade rather than to drive to the bit.

The best method I was taught to achieve this in long lines is to use a snaffle bit(use a bit your horse possibly like to get strong or dive down in as it is easier to achieve the desired result by teaching a horse to lighten to the bit than it is to teach a horse that evades the bit to connect to the bit and lighten up), straight lines and no cavesson. Then think about lining your horse in a square rather in a circle. Really driving her into the corners. Once you have mastered this shape which may take a while since most horses are so used to going in circles. Next start driving her forward but don't let her gain speed instead encourage her momentum back and up. I have found the best way to do this is with a steady hold back at first then bumping or pulling(bumping for a horse that tends be heavy and pulling for a horse that tends to evade) to the outside so the inside shoulder doesn't drop. To start do this when you are coming into the corner of your imaginary square as this when you will be at the best place to drive your horse and take back. As your horse starts to understand that you driving her means that she should channel her energy up and not faster. Start asking for her to do it longer until she is strong enough to carry herself in this manner all the way the entire time. Strechies can be used in the beginning to help get the point across that you want the front end to come up. The feel you're looking for is of a speeding up boat before it planes out. Slowly working up to being able to do this when jogging(if you're able to) then riding.

I vary from the others on the opinion of shoeing. I agree that the shoes should not be used as a fix for the problem as a horse that is not properly muscled or trained will not benefit from the extra pads or weight. Shoes should be added only after the above goal is achieved. I used the shoes to finish my horse's motion so he is not just batting at the air as he does when he doesn't have shoes on. It also assists in getting the horse's weight back. But this is only after I have efficiently taught my horse that when I tap him or squeeze with my legs I am simply asking for more energy and more motion that I add shoes.

Oh and keep in mind that most gaited breeds were not bred to have motion as it completely undermines their purpose for which they are bred which is to get from one location to another as efficiently and smoothly as possible. This why the saddlebred is not a naturally gaited breed. Yes some saddlebreds are naturally gaited but that is not the true saddlebred's gait and most of these horses don't make good 5-gaited horses. This why motion for the saddlebred comes more naturally and the Tennessee Walkers must manufacture it.

PS I'll try to get a video of me doing the long lining technique with horse because I know it can sometimes hard to grasp it until you see it in action.
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