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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have been riding gaited horses almost exclusively for the last 3-4yrs. When I first got into gaited horses it was after having ridden a few field trials on a Appy, and litteraly beating my guts out. So i got into gaited horses for a smooth ride at the speeds where field trials tend to run.

I used to be obsessed with gait and animation, my first horse was a paso with alot of action. since I have ridden alot of gaited horses both mine and others, and I find that if its smooth I dont really care what it looks like or really even the mechanics.

So for you gaited riders (shows aside) how concerned are you with the action and mechanics of your gaited horse, vs. a clean smooth ride?

Jim
 

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I used to not be concerned. Then I felt my horse and I would benefit from learning and using different gaits, basically flat/running walk , and rack.

It's a personal choice.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I can honestly say I have no interest in the correctness of my foxtrotter's gaits - as long as she heads down the trail in a relaxed and quiet manner then I'm happy.
I guess this is my point.^^^^^ I find that other than the show/performance folks I know 90% of the gaited horse owners I know are satisfied with anything smoother than what their old QH was. Now, I do expect my horses to gait, but I don't get worried about it to distraction about it like I used to. I was just curios what most folks thoughts were on it.

Jim
 

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...90% of the gaited horse owners I know are satisfied with anything smoother than what their old QH was.

Jim
Yup, anything smoother than what my Paint was, and I'll be happy. My TWH is only 17 months old, so I won't know what his gaits will be/feel like for quite a while, but I am hoping for some level of smoothness on the trail! :)
 

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If you're asking about "action" - no, I don't care. Being flashy has no practical purpose outside of the show ring, and since I don't show my horse I don't really need it. And, quite honestly, I've been to some NWHA shows (as a spectator) and was not all that impressed by the winners of the rail classes.

Some of them moved more like hackney ponies than Walking horses. Many still had the same stiff necked movement that is common among "padded/performance" horses. I guess I'd make a lousy judge, because none of the horses that (to me) looked like very natural, enjoyable riding horses were placing at all. The ribbons kept going to the "action" horses.

Again, that may be the "look" they're going for in the ring, but when I'm on trail I have no need for it. It's just burning energy for no reason. I want that energy so we can stay out on trail longer. There isn't a judge or crowd out there that needs to be impressed.

I want a horse that is smooth, yes. And one that can move along at a nice, swift walk comfortably (for me and for him) for a long ride, but can can shift gears when the terrain requires him to go more cautiously, or when it allows for us to open up and do some cantering. I want a horse that will pick his way through tricky footing, large rocks or downed trees. That's the only time I want or need a horse that lifts his feet.
 

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As long as my TWH's are performing their gaited birth-right (they don't all do the running walk) and they do it smoothly, I'm happy.

If they get jiggy on me and stay jiggy, I call the chiropractor as it's been my experience my horses need an adjustment if they are consistently choppy.

Although, the horse in my avatar has been known to get mad at me and move himself around like an off-balance agitator in a washing machine. I don't know how he does it but, when he lets out a big huff, I know I'm about to get the caps jarred off my teeth, if I don't hurry and get him down to a dog walk:)
 

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Just 'cause the horse is smooth does not mean that all is well in Mudville.

You do have to care about husbandry. If you've gotten "smooth" by screwing up the foot angles you'll eventually have lameness and sorness issues.

You do have to care about the mechanics. If the farrier is not trimming to anatomical correctness eventually you'll have lamness and soreness issues.

You do have to care about form. If you over-ride the gait (i.e., go too fast) the horse will lose form and get rough. Then the "experts" will tell you what devices and techniques to use to make the horse smooth (vice just slow down). Eventually you'll have lamness and soreness issues.

You do have to care about strength and fitness. A horse that weak and unfit will have a poor, often rough, gait. Then the "experts" will tell you what devices and techniques to use to make the horse smooth (vice just propertly condition the horse). Eventually you'll have lamness and soreness issues.

You do have to care about conformation. A poorly conformed horse will have trouble holding gait over time. Then it will get rough. Then the "experts" will tell you what devices and techniques to use to make the horse smooth (vice just pick a better horse). Eventually you'll have lamness and soreness issues.

So, **** straight you'd best care about how "gaited" your horse is. Unless you enjoy inflicting pain on animals and/or paying big dollars to vets, farriers, clinicians, etc.

G.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
G,

No one said anything about experts, devices, ferriers or anything else..... my question was the exact opposite. I am looking for people who DO ride their horses naturally for what they are and who ARENT taking shortcuts to anything.

Now I'm not sure if you mis interpreted my question, if I didn't state it clearly enough, or if you just need to let the world know how smart you are.

I'm asking the average trail riding, dog chasing, endurance riding gaited horse owner if they are overly concerned with whether or not their horse looks the part that is depicted on the WWW. or wherever.

I see a lot of gaited horses the range from ex-padded to trotty and most of their owners are satisfied as long as its smoother than sitting a non gaited steed, I just wanted to hear what others thought, most people seemed to get where I was coming from.

Jim
 

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While my current horses don't seem to have anything beyond variations of the basic gaits that all horses have I have owned TWH (my first gaited horse) and ridden ASB. Has long as it's smooth and fast I couldn't care less about the rest. Had someone complained that the first ASB I rode was ruined, because he paced (whatever that's suppose to mean), but it sure didn't matter to me or the owner since we loved the "pace". Smooth and fast and you could go all day. Funny really. I've ridden more ASB (they all apparently "paced" :lol:), but Trinity is the only one who's name I can remember (did a lot of miles on that horse). That was back in 1983 while I was in AZ.
So I guess for people who do shows it matters that a horse does certain gait. To me it's about the ride. I'd rather have a ASB that "paced" then one that had to be trained.
All our TWH always had a lovely fast gait. Walked about as fast as my QH trotted. Never had "sit a trot" on those lovely gaited horses with their fast, smooth pace. Would love it if the ASB in my current two mares would've given them a smooth pace. Have broken into an impressive extended trot, but no smooth paces. :-(
 
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G,

I see a lot of gaited horses the range from ex-padded to trotty and most of their owners are satisfied as long as its smoother than sitting a non gaited steed, I just wanted to hear what others thought, most people seemed to get where I was coming from.

Jim
The word "trotty" is not acceptable to me, under any circumstances when it comes to my Walking Horses. I can't speak to the other gaited breeds as TWH's are all I have ever owned.

If any of mine get trotty, I know something is wrong and I get the chiropractor out.

That is the one thing my 53 years of trail riding self would not tolerate. The bulk of that 53 years was spent sliding down hills, riverbanks and making my own trails "over the river and thru the woods".

If someone had a TWH for sale and proudly displayed their trotting ability to me, I would be in my car and headed home while they were still talking.

If the Seller said, "he's trotty and I don't know why", I would keep looking, ride the horse, and think maybe a chiropractor could help him.
 
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
The word "trotty" is not acceptable to me, under any circumstances when it comes to my Walking Horses. I can't speak to the other gaited breeds as TWH's are all I have ever owned.

If any of mine get trotty, I know something is wrong and I get the chiropractor out.

That is the one thing my 53 years of trail riding self would not tolerate. The bulk of that 53 years was spent sliding down hills, riverbanks and making my own trails "over the river and thru the woods".

If someone had a TWH for sale and proudly displayed their trotting ability to me, I would be in my car and headed home while they were still talking.

If the Seller said, "he's trotty and I don't know why", I would keep looking, ride the horse, and think maybe a chiropractor could help him.
Again...... I understand all of this. I see literally hundreds of gaited horses a year at field trials the vast majority are TWH. It always amazes me how satisfied a lot of owners are with a horse that trots as long as it is somewhat comfortable. To be honest I find that there are a large number of gaited horse owners that don't know the difference. Hell I see people on this very forum discuss trotting their gaited horses all the time.

Jim
 

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G,

No one said anything about experts, devices, ferriers or anything else..... my question was the exact opposite. I am looking for people who DO ride their horses naturally for what they are and who ARENT taking shortcuts to anything.

Now I'm not sure if you mis interpreted my question, if I didn't state it clearly enough, or if you just need to let the world know how smart you are.

I'm asking the average trail riding, dog chasing, endurance riding gaited horse owner if they are overly concerned with whether or not their horse looks the part that is depicted on the WWW. or wherever.

I see a lot of gaited horses the range from ex-padded to trotty and most of their owners are satisfied as long as its smoother than sitting a non gaited steed, I just wanted to hear what others thought, most people seemed to get where I was coming from.

Jim
I know what you said. I'm not sure what you meant.

If your goal is to be more "natural" then we have to explore that thought.

"Natural" is not always "good." Sometimes Nature must be tamed, modified, or altered. For example, cobra venom injected "naturally" is generally fatal to the recipient. But when properly processed is the basis of one or more drugs commonly used in anasthesia for surgery.

"Natural horsemanship" is an oxymoron. Horses are prey animals. From the horse's point of view submitting to a member of the world's most successful predator species is not a good decision for the long term survival of the species (or maybe even of the indiviual). We must substantially alter the horse, physically and mentally, to make it useful to people. I've yet to hear a Name in "natural horsemanship" speak in such terms. Most of what passes for "natural" methods of training is bunk based upon sentimentality.

Note that this is not an endorsement of beating the animal into submission. It is an endorsement of treating the horse like a horse, not some sort of large, hairy, semi-******ed child.


If you've got a horse with along back that paces like camel "naturally" then you have a horse that will have to carefully managed or you'll have a lifetime of vet bills and frustration. This an example where you had best "care" about gait (including its mechanics and how it can be altered). This horse will likely be smooth. It will also likely move "inverted" with a hollow back. If the rider is ignorant if this then whether they are on a trail or in the school the toll on the horse will be the same. Indeed, trail riding with its longer times under saddle and in mortion (particularly if they are carrying a buch of gear for camping or the like) will cause even more stress and damage.

If I have misinterpreted your comments then I appologize. Please restate your question, or restate your comments, and we can go from there.

G.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I'm not exactly sure how to ask my question I guess..... here is my thought/concern. I see folks on here all the time who just bought a gaited horse then want to do some discipline where gait isn't necessarily an advantage if not detrimental. Or I see people buy a gaited horse and then just ride it and have no clue what they are doing but they are happy cause its smoother than whatever they had though it could be smoother with a little effort, but they are happy so they just ride. I guess without being an ******* Im wondering why buy a gaited horse if your not going to take advantage of it? I made the comment that I do t care any more what my horse does as long as it was smooth, which isn't entirely accurate, cause I do expect mine to perform their natural gaits, I just don't worry to distraction about what it looks like anymore.

This is not a hard or deep question. I just am curio use how many people buy gaited horses for the gait and are satisfied to just let the horse do what it wants. Not a training question, not looking for advice just want to hear from some haired horse owners.......

Jim
 

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I think most non-show people just want a smooth ride, or maybe even just a fun ride. For instance, I have had trotting horses for years and just got my first gaited horse (a Missouri Fox Trotter) about 4 years ago. She is a blast! And not always smooth, but even her fast "trot" is still smoother than the fast trot of, say, my Mustang at a fast trot. I never even fast trot the Mustang if I can help it. I always keep his trot very slow.

With the Fox Trotter, the slower she is, the smoother but sometimes we will just "trot out" and I don't even know if she's technically doing a fox trot at that speed or a hard trot. And I really don't care. She's my horse. She's fun to ride, she's 19 years old and I never plan to sell her, so I don't care what anyone else thinks. I suppose if she were a very young horse I would try for more "correctness." But we don't show, she's an older horse, so who cares? She also paces. I pull her out of it because it's rough and I would rather she cantered at that speed, but on the rare occasion she does a stepping pace (smooth pace) I don't discourage it.

Here's the funny thing. I paid very little for my mare. And she definitely leans towards the trotty end of the spectrum (which is normal for her breed......the fox trot is a off-timed trot) but I know folks that paid in the neighborhood of $10,000 for fox trotters whose preferred trail gait is the stepping pace! It's smooth so either they don't care because they still have the smooth ride, OR they just don't know the difference. I dared not inquire to someone who is proud of their expensive new trail horse why they are pacing instead of fox trotting and why that is undesirable for their breed!

I am on the fence anyway about whether a hollow frame causes all this damage people talk about. I am not in gaited horse country, and most of the ones I see are fox trotters, so I am not very familiar with walkers and other breeds prone to pacing. So I don't know if the hollow frame really breaks them down over time or not. But I would say this, that if a cheap lateral horse came my way and I had room I would not turn him down for fear of unsoundness. Most of my trail ride time is spent at the walk anyway (mostly due to terrain) and if I took that horse out on a nice stretch and he step-paced and it was smooth I would be happy as a clam. I just want to have a fun ride on a fun horse. And for me, gaited horses are fun horses with extra gears. It's the opportunity to ride the speed of a fast trot at a different and likely smoother gait than what "regular" horses do.
 

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I see folks on here all the time who just bought a gaited horse then want to do some discipline where gait isn't necessarily an advantage if not detrimental.
I don't get that either. My only explanation is that maybe they just wanted a horse and didn't really know what they wanted to do with it. But that bugs me too. It seems like a "waste" of a gaited horse if you don't actually want to use the gaits. But I suspect that is common in areas where gaited horses are common.

Out west here, gaited horses are sort of something you have to seek out and pay good money for, so you don't see as much of that out here. If someone has a gaited horse, most likely they sought it for a specific purpose, like showing or trail riding. If you just go out and buy a "generic" horse, odds are it will not be gaited.
 

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As a Hunter/Jumper, I don't see many gaited horses. That said, I did get to ride a TWH for a while, and I absolutely LOVE the gaits of a Paso.

I think that if I were to go out of my way to purchase a gaited horse, I would absolutely care about his gait. That seems to be the draw of these breeds, right?
 

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I'm not exactly sure how to ask my question I guess..... here is my thought/concern. I see folks on here all the time who just bought a gaited horse then want to do some discipline where gait isn't necessarily an advantage if not detrimental. Or I see people buy a gaited horse and then just ride it and have no clue what they are doing but they are happy cause its smoother than whatever they had though it could be smoother with a little effort, but they are happy so they just ride. I guess without being an ******* Im wondering why buy a gaited horse if your not going to take advantage of it? I made the comment that I do t care any more what my horse does as long as it was smooth, which isn't entirely accurate, cause I do expect mine to perform their natural gaits, I just don't worry to distraction about what it looks like anymore.

This is not a hard or deep question. I just am curio use how many people buy gaited horses for the gait and are satisfied to just let the horse do what it wants. Not a training question, not looking for advice just want to hear from some haired horse owners.......

Jim
I'm a devotee of the observation "Horses for Courses." This presumes, however, that you have an idea of what you want to do with the horse and have the knowledge necessary to both pick a horse that will meet your needs and properly manage the horse while it works.

The gaited horse world is often dangerously fixated on "gait." The Big Lick Walker devotees are Exhibit A. But only Exhibit A. We have lots of additional Exhibits B-Z.

This fixation on gait also often prevents fair evaluations of conformation, temperment, training, etc.

We spent the weekend foxhunting at a local stables. My wife and I were the only gaited horses in the field. We kept up without drama (at our age we don't jump anymore). This impressed the Masters and we got some nice compliments from other riders (even though our horses were in the bottom 50% in size). We got lots of "I didn't know gaited horses could do this." Our response is usually "Not all can, but these can." Horses for courses, don't you know! :)

A horse is not a Harley. It requires a much higher level of commitment in terms of learning and time by the owner. The consciencous owner knows this and invests both the time to learn and the time to work the horse. Not all owners are consciencious.

G.
 

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I think that if I were to go out of my way to purchase a gaited horse, I would absolutely care about his gait. That seems to be the draw of these breeds, right?

You know, I think it all depends on what a person wants to do with the horse. If I were showing or breeding, gait for whatever breed I chose would be VERY important. But if I am a pleasure trail rider, which I am, I just want to have fun on a horse. I am not overly concerned if my gaited horse doesn't gait perfectly. I will still work towards that goal, but I am not going to be upset if they break gait or prefer one gait over another.

Heck, my Fox Trotter's foal, who is 1/2 QH shows some good signs of gaiting. He will flat walk and fox trot for (very) short stretches out on the trail. So just for fun I will work on holding him longer and longer in those gaits, because they are fun as heck. But if he is still mainly a hard trotting horse that is okay too. I will work towards my goals but have fun doing it. I am not out to impress the world with my horse's gaits. I just want to enjoy trail riding.

Like Guilherme says, horses for courses. :)

PS. And in a weird sort of way, I would consider the price of the horse with his quality of gait. I didn't pay much for my mare. Other than being fun and safe, I don't have high expectations. BUT, if someone pays a huge amount for a gaited horse and it doesn't gait well, I would think they overpaid. Just because with the high price tag I would expect the horse to be a fine example of his breeding. But then again, if they love that horse and it is worth it to them, who am I to say they overpaid? I guess what I am saying is that I would expect a $10,000 horse to gait very well and a $500 horse to be safe and fun and that's about the most I would hope for. If they also had a nice gait I would feel like I stole it!
 
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