How nice that you have an old SB girl. One thing that's really great about OTSBs for prospective riders is that they come with many, many hours of useful training and handling in them, and are usually good with feet, being hosed, transporting and little bits of gear dangling all over them, plus usually quite unflappable around vehicles, crowds, human-built environments and general commotions. They have already logged so many hours of working with people in different environments. Because of that, they are one of the best things going for beginning riders looking for a safe, tractable, reasonably priced horse that's also happy to do more than just plod along.
So for the last 3 year's she's lived in our backyard and taken many many walks on a leadline around the loop road We live on.
This sounds great - do you have photos to show?
Chloe has a her size pony now to learn to ride independently and I've decided to ride Judy myself. I used to ride anything when I was young but lost confidence after a few falls as I got older. I'm 61 now, so I took her to a friend's barn where there's a round pen and an arena to ride in and someone around to call 911 if I do fall off ��. I've gone over twice this week and lunged her a little then rode in the arena,mostly walking, circles,changing direction until I get my confidence back. It's finally beginning to cool off here some so maybe soon I'll try some trails behind the barn. My friend that's a trainer and instructor is there with me in case I do need help.
This all sounds good. I hope you are enjoying your riding!
When she round penned Judy she says every now and then she can get her to gait, heck I just want a nice walk/trot at this point. Amy said she didn't know if there were certain cues or commands because she has no experience with Standardbreds.
I take it your mare was a pacer, rather than a trotter? And your trainer is getting her pacing occasionally?
Teaching consistent voice commands for each type of gait really helps - and transition the horse back down and start again until the horse "gets" it. (This is a gradual process like anything, just be consistent.)
Generally I didn't allow our SBs to pace on the lunge line - plus they have no natural inclination to pace when doing tight circles, as in tight circles, like the smaller arena figures, the trot is more stable and comfortable for them. Some SBs are natural pacers (who didn't have to be taught with hopples but did it from birth) and a small amount of these are "full-time camels" though, and can't trot or canter well. Your mare doesn't fit into that category.
SBs who can trot and pace are more inclined to pace on firm surfaces (limestone roads etc) than on soft footing, and in straight stretches than in twisty-turny trails. This is in part biomechanics - horses tend towards the gaits that expend the least energy for given conditions - and in part it's conditioning - firm surfaces and broad straight stretches are reminiscent of trotting tracks. Likewise, a non-pacing SB will tend to trot fast rather than canter in such conditions, unless you cue otherwise.
Another important consideration is head position. In an "ambidextrous" SB, trotting is associated (and this can be reinforced with training) with being on the bit, while for pacing they like to carry the head higher and angle the face up. So your rein cues become an important part of how you tell your horse to trot versus pace, if you want them to retain both gaits (if they have them in the first place).
I did notice in your cow chasing video, when we first turned Judy out in her big pasture, she trotted and flew around with that tail out and up like a flag. I did think her gallop almost looked like some kind of bunny hop, is that normal?
This is usually the byproduct of having been driven in pacing hopples: When a pacer breaks up into a canter while in hopples, it can't actually canter normally, it has to canter disunited - with the same-beat leg pair not on diagonals but on the same side. This is a bunny-hopping gait, and some OTSBs revert to it because of this prior experience. You can discourage it when riding by always immediately transitioning back down to the trot and asking for the canter-on again: And make sure you have your horse correctly bent to start with - like working on a circle.
They then get used to being able to have their "normal" canter when working with a human during riding, and not having to have a "funny" canter like out of an accidental break when working in hopples. Neither Chip, nor Romeo, nor Sunsmart (the main SBs I rode consistently for years) picked up disunited canters very often when ridden after a couple of weeks of schooling - it can happen occasionally when the horse is distracted or the rider isn't bending the horse properly or clear with the cues - or when riders have got used to letting a horse carry on disunited (which further reinforces it to them as desirable).
If you look at the video of my SB chasing cows closely, you will notice that he voluntarily breaks into a normal, united canter the moment he starts twisting and turning, and performs several correct flying lead changes, but at the very end, when he notices us with the camera, he gets distracted and in the last lead change ends up disunited, and then almost immediately brings himself back to a trot.
Good information on canter, leads, etc here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lead_%28leg%29
I know this is kinda long, I'm just so happy with my sweet old girl and counting on her to get me past that old fear so I can really enjoy riding again. I really don't care if she gaits or not, I'm happy with a good trot. Amy seems to think if she can do it then we should learn how to make her do it on command. I'm riding her in an English saddle and a thick,fat loose ring snaffle or just bareback. Are there specific commands or equipment needed to get the pace? My granddaughter still says Judy is her horse. ☺
Love your story, and hope you continue to have a positive experience! I think I answered your pacing question above. But feel free to drop in anytime with more questions, photos and just telling the rest of us what you and your mare are up to!
Happy riding and handling!