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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all :)

More and more I'm seeing classes for gaited dressage, and I'm really thinking about doing it with my TWH. Of course, I went into regular dressage tests too with him- just for the heck of it- and he did VERY well (in the training level) He is very forward, and dressage people like that :D

Well I just wanted to bring up the issue of lateral movements. Can a horse move laterally at a gait other than trot/canter? Are there possible issues with legs/feet getting in the way?

Also, my Walker is very good at what he does- which is go straight, gait, and get that bum under himself. I'm pretty sure most gaited horses do that well. But, would introducing lateral movements create an 'off' gait, kind of hitching? Should I just leave well enough alone and do what he is really good at?

Mostly just wanted to start a discussion about gaited dressage and what it could benefit or possible harm :)
 
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I'm starting down the Gaited Dressage road myself. My OTSTB trotter does a couple of different gaits, he can rack and do a fox trot, and I just rescued an underweight TWH mare. Once she is back up to weight will start dressage training with her. She also is really forward and that will be a huge bonus during shows.

Gaited horses can do lateral, check out some Youtube videos of some of those Walkers doing some really amazing moves.

Dressage can really help a horse no matter what discipline.
 

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Hi all :)

More and more I'm seeing classes for gaited dressage, and I'm really thinking about doing it with my TWH. Of course, I went into regular dressage tests too with him- just for the heck of it- and he did VERY well (in the training level) He is very forward, and dressage people like that :D

Well I just wanted to bring up the issue of lateral movements. Can a horse move laterally at a gait other than trot/canter? Are there possible issues with legs/feet getting in the way?

Also, my Walker is very good at what he does- which is go straight, gait, and get that bum under himself. I'm pretty sure most gaited horses do that well. But, would introducing lateral movements create an 'off' gait, kind of hitching? Should I just leave well enough alone and do what he is really good at?

Mostly just wanted to start a discussion about gaited dressage and what it could benefit or possible harm :)
The more centered or diagonal the gait the easier it will be for the horse to move laterally. You'll have to experiment so see what you have to do to make the lateral movements easy for the horse.

Some horses do the lateral thing without a hitch and some don't.

If you are going to go for the higher levels of Dressage the Walker is the wrong horse. The "dice" in that game are loaded in favor of the WB (and to some extent the TB and crosses). Even classical breeds such as the Lusitano and Andalusian are at a competitive disadvantage. I even heard one local DQ ("dressage queen"; not a complimentary moniker :wink: ) tell me that a Lippizaner is "really not a very good Dressage horse." I told her that she should contact the Spanish Riding School immediately and tell them that they have been wrong for the last 500 years in their style of horse. I think she may have taken offense at that! :razz:

If you want to do Gaited Dressage you'll do OK on a Walker if the Walker is right for discipline. Not every one will do. You'll just have to try yours out and see what happens.

Good luck in the program.

G.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Well I did a basic search, found a bunch of horses doing training level really well (which we do), but by 2nd level, they tend to be able to do lateral in ONE direction well, and not the other.. lol

Also, found this guy
he seems to think that horses are incapable of raising the back and gaiting... I think that is altogether bunk.
 

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Well I did a basic search, found a bunch of horses doing training level really well (which we do), but by 2nd level, they tend to be able to do lateral in ONE direction well, and not the other.. lol

Also, found this guy Gaited Horses and Dressage - YouTube he seems to think that horses are incapable of raising the back and gaiting... I think that is altogether bunk.
I'ts not "altogether bunk." It is, however, a mish mash.

Dressage, with the capital "D", is a specific discipline with very specific rules. One of those is that the three gaits performed are walk, trot, and canter. If you want to do "Dressage" you can't be performing anything but a trot as you intermediate gait.

If you want to use dressage techniques to improve your horses performance and your own riding skills then that form of doing "dressage" (with the lower case "d") is perfectly OK.

The capitalization counts. It's like the difference between "Catholic" (meaning regarding the Church in Rome) and "catholic" (a word meaning "universal). Or, if you prefer, "Orthadox" and "orthadox." Or, in Canada, "Liberal" and "liberal."

Regarding gaits, he's badly mixed his metaphors. Most of what he complains about are the show ring abuses most of us disdain. In the '30s people routinely used gaited horses as general transportation and they didn't go lame. The record for a long ride is held by three Brazilians who rode the same six horse for just over two years around the circumference of Brazil (a distance of about 14,000 miles). If I could ask him, I'd see if he could explain exactly how they did that.

He reflects a set of widely held opinions. Sadly, everytime you see a horse in action devices and/or being badly ridden those opinions are confirmed.

So he's right about Dressage; wrong about dressage; and needs education on movement.

G.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I'ts not "altogether bunk." It is, however, a mish mash.

Dressage, with the capital "D", is a specific discipline with very specific rules. One of those is that the three gaits performed are walk, trot, and canter. If you want to do "Dressage" you can't be performing anything but a trot as you intermediate gait.

If you want to use dressage techniques to improve your horses performance and your own riding skills then that form of doing "dressage" (with the lower case "d") is perfectly OK.

The capitalization counts. It's like the difference between "Catholic" (meaning regarding the Church in Rome) and "catholic" (a word meaning "universal). Or, if you prefer, "Orthadox" and "orthadox." Or, in Canada, "Liberal" and "liberal."

Regarding gaits, he's badly mixed his metaphors. Most of what he complains about are the show ring abuses most of us disdain. In the '30s people routinely used gaited horses as general transportation and they didn't go lame. The record for a long ride is held by three Brazilians who rode the same six horse for just over two years around the circumference of Brazil (a distance of about 14,000 miles). If I could ask him, I'd see if he could explain exactly how they did that.

He reflects a set of widely held opinions. Sadly, everytime you see a horse in action devices and/or being badly ridden those opinions are confirmed.

So he's right about Dressage; wrong about dressage; and needs education on movement.

G.
Yes I believe you have the same idea that I do; that dressage is good for any horse, but not any horse can do Dressage.

I was more miffed by the fact that he said it's impossible for a horse to lift their back and gait. That is simply untrue. I see and perform it all the time. If that were true, how could even a non-gaited horse lift and work at the walk?

He may have been referring specifically to the showy gaits that are commonly seen in the saddlebred, TWH, and morgan rings, but I think that everyone knows this is not 'normal'. He's generalizing based on a small sect of the gaited community, and it's very misleading.
 

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Yes I believe you have the same idea that I do; that dressage is good for any horse, but not any horse can do Dressage.

I was more miffed by the fact that he said it's impossible for a horse to lift their back and gait. That is simply untrue. I see and perform it all the time. If that were true, how could even a non-gaited horse lift and work at the walk?

He may have been referring specifically to the showy gaits that are commonly seen in the saddlebred, TWH, and morgan rings, but I think that everyone knows this is not 'normal'. He's generalizing based on a small sect of the gaited community, and it's very misleading.
If you get a true bascule you will turn a soft gait into a trot. This is the result of equine biomechanics. If you hollow that back you can soften a trot (and maybe even get a soft gait) by the same rules.

It is not correct to say that "three legged support" means the horse has no "shocks" and will be lamed. If I can figure out how I'll post some Brazilian slow motion videos of the the three marchas that clearly demonstrate this.

His comments about "platform shoes" are spot on.

USDF decides what Dressage is in the U.S. Folks can try and modify the word "Dressage" with adjectives like "Western" or "Gaited" but that doesn't make any real difference. Until USDF decides to change the rules the rules stand as they are.

G.
 

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Wow, that video was very misleading. It seems like he only has experience with gaited show horses. The high-stepping Saddlebred is wasting energy, but so is the big warmblood. The big springy trot and impulsion they want in dressage is hard on the horse's joints, and the modern dressage horse "won't make it to the next town" either. I have friends with warmbloods, they don't last as long on the trail as a more efficient, natural gaited trail horse. (Or QH, or other trail breeds.)

(d)ressage training to improve your horse's way of moving is good, I'm actually glad to see more gaited people interested since many gaited horses are just broke to ride. It's much more pleasant to ride a horse that's responsive, moves off the leg, etc., even on the trail.

Horses bred for (D)ressage aren't really good for anything else. But those of us who want to do (d)ressage don't need to be told we can't.
 

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I just thought of something. Since we constantly hear gaited horses can't do dressage, perhaps we should return the favor. So when someone says "I'm retiring my dressage horse, do you think he could be a trail horse?" we should answer "are you kidding? You're horse isn't bred for trails! He's going to stumble everywhere with those huge feet. And he spooks at everything, what's he going to do when a deer jumps out? He's too big to make it up the hills. No way is he lasting five hours with that big trot. And you're going to be begging for mercy after the first hour with all that posting." (I'm just kidding!!!)
 

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I just thought of something. Since we constantly hear gaited horses can't do dressage, perhaps we should return the favor. So when someone says "I'm retiring my dressage horse, do you think he could be a trail horse?" we should answer "are you kidding? You're horse isn't bred for trails! He's going to stumble everywhere with those huge feet. And he spooks at everything, what's he going to do when a deer jumps out? He's too big to make it up the hills. No way is he lasting five hours with that big trot. And you're going to be begging for mercy after the first hour with all that posting." (I'm just kidding!!!)
You might be kidding but this is a real question for a lot of Dressage competitors.

These horses tend to be high dollar and they are really "babied" and treated with "kid gloves." I was a member of our local Dressage club for several years and tried to get a trail ride up in some very benign places (like the National Military Part at Rossville, GA, a/k/a the Chicamaugua Battlefield Park). Of 50 plus members I had three takers. Several were right horrified at riding their horse outside a ring.

Take a horse with more than a decade of this type of husbandry and training and you'll likely have an interesting time during the first trail ride. If the horse has a normal brain it can be acclimated to trail riding. Like anything else it will take some time and effort.

G.
 

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You might be kidding but this is a real question for a lot of Dressage competitors.

These horses tend to be high dollar and they are really "babied" and treated with "kid gloves." I was a member of our local Dressage club for several years and tried to get a trail ride up in some very benign places (like the National Military Part at Rossville, GA, a/k/a the Chicamaugua Battlefield Park). Of 50 plus members I had three takers. Several were right horrified at riding their horse outside a ring.

Take a horse with more than a decade of this type of husbandry and training and you'll likely have an interesting time during the first trail ride. If the horse has a normal brain it can be acclimated to trail riding. Like anything else it will take some time and effort.

G.
The "just kidding" part was about actually saying that to riders, the way they tell others (not just gaited) that their horse/breed can't do dressage.

People tend to think trail riding is easy compared to ring riding. It's like any other discipline, certain breeds do better than others. If you're familiar with Star Trek, I ride about 30 miles from Vasquez Rock. We do not have nice, wide, bridle paths to ride. It's nearly all hill, narrow paths, and bad footing. There are a lot of trails the larger breeds just can't do, and many of them have a hard time pushing themselves up a steep hill. The smaller breeds such as Arabs, QH's, Pasos, my Icelandic, have no problems on these trails.

A warmblood is fine on an easy bridle path and gentle slopes, just like any breed is fine at the lower levels of dressage. But it's not a breed designed for long hours or bad footing. I guess I was trying to point out that a blanket statement like "your horse can't do dressage" is as silly as "your horse can't go on the trails".
 

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The "just kidding" part was about actually saying that to riders, the way they tell others (not just gaited) that their horse/breed can't do dressage.

People tend to think trail riding is easy compared to ring riding. It's like any other discipline, certain breeds do better than others. If you're familiar with Star Trek, I ride about 30 miles from Vasquez Rock. We do not have nice, wide, bridle paths to ride. It's nearly all hill, narrow paths, and bad footing. There are a lot of trails the larger breeds just can't do, and many of them have a hard time pushing themselves up a steep hill. The smaller breeds such as Arabs, QH's, Pasos, my Icelandic, have no problems on these trails.

A warmblood is fine on an easy bridle path and gentle slopes, just like any breed is fine at the lower levels of dressage. But it's not a breed designed for long hours or bad footing. I guess I was trying to point out that a blanket statement like "your horse can't do dressage" is as silly as "your horse can't go on the trails".
You'd be quite right for the "back yard" or "generic WB" but would be way off with something like the Trakkhener that was bred as a horse for the Prussian Cavalry. They stood up quite well on the Eastern Front (where the German Army maintained six divisions of cavalry, mostly for patrolling and supression of partisan activity). They also do quite well at Eventing. I suspect they'd do OK as a "trail horse", too! :wink:

We are back, again, to the "horses for courses" rule. Some breeds will do better than others in some disciplines. Within any given breed there will be a range of suitability for tasks. You can speak in generalities about breeds, but can also be surprised by non-conforming examples (on both ends of the spectrum). :)

G.
 

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I honestly think Gaited Dressage is a discipline that is very over due. Dressage simply means schooling and yes, Dressage is a sport but dressage isn't reserved for only trotting horses. I firmly believe that dressage will not only help gaited horses but help gaited riders become better, more in tune riders.

We gaited horse riders are looking for the same elements of Classical Dressage, purity of gait, impulsion, obedience, and suppleness so why not have test that challenge us and our horses?

We ride horses, just because they have an extra gait doesn't make them pariahs of the Dressage world.
 

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I thought that video was very misleading also. I think gaited dressage is a fine concept, but when I hear gaited dressage, I think of horses that are naturally gaited (ie. walk, gait, canter) such as walking horses, Missouri Fox trotters, paso fino, etc.

I am always confused when saddlebreds get thrown into this mix as they are not 'ideally' naturally gaited and in fact go walk/trot/canter like most other horses, the extra gaits have to be trained in. So calling them a 'gaited' horse is a misnomer...most are perfectly capable of doing regular USDF dressage....and 'some' can do it quite well. My horse has been trying his hand at dressage for exactly 2 yrs and showed fourth level at a regional show last week with scores in the mid-60's (see my avatar).

Gaited or regular dressage is great for any horse to improve strength and balance and a whole host of things, and some examples of most any breed can be found that have a special talent for it...and though many warmbloods do excel at dressage, it is not their realm exclusively.
 

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@CB06 I agree on Saddlebreds, they to me, fall into a grey area gaited wise. All Saddlebreds do a wonderful walk/trot/canter and a few can rack naturally but most require training. To me, a truly gaited horse is a horse who naturally has that "extra" gait without gimmicks or extensive training.

My OTSTB does a natural rack and foxtrot and has been picking up a head nod from the TWHs we ride with :)

I honestly think Gaited Dressage is a fantastic opportunity to showcase our wonderful breeds and make us better riders.
 

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My trainer has written tests for Gaited dressage classes. I believe she was asked to do this for the USDA (or whatever the main dressage group is called). She's also done a bunch for Western dressage. Of course, she still does a lot with regular dressage, too.
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Yes I believe you have the same idea that I do; that dressage is good for any horse, but not any horse can do Dressage.
I disagree.
I believe that dressage is good for any horse, but not any horse can SHOW Dressage.
Horses at liberty put 2/3 of their weight on their front legs. Without balance training, which basic dressage can teach ANY SOUND HORSE, your horse will add the riders weight to the two front legs and not carry himself AND you on all 4 legs. Yes, at liberty a horse will throw weight backwards to stop quickly and turn on a dime when playing with the herd AND rearing and displaying (again, at play), but the "on the forehand" movement becomes a bad habit, which Dressage training can fix, or, prevent in the first place. Also, it teaches bending and stretching and flexibility. For a trail horse you are training in this way to get many more years out of your pleasure horse.
Unless their is a class for Gaited horses to show Dressage, I doubt that a gaited horse can go very far in the Dressage Show World.
 

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It's nice to see a discussion about gaited dressage. I've been riding traditional dressage for 25 years and 7 years ago bought my first naturally gaited horse (TWH). Since dressage is all I know, that's what I used to communicate with my horse. Then I began bringing my gaited horse to open schooling dressage shows in 2010. I enjoy getting feedback from a trained pair of eyes as to where we are at in our training. Most judges have never evaluated a gaited horse performing a dressage test and comment that they don't know how to score the gait in lieu of the trot, but they see harmony, balance, bending, rhythm, engagement, forwardness, relaxation, teamwork, etc. To me this is the reason I use dressage methods of training. I think dressage brings out the best natural movement of any horse (gaited or trotting). So for those who are dabbling with the notion of using dressage methods and even showing dressage, I am so happy for you!
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Unless their is a class for Gaited horses to show Dressage, I doubt that a gaited horse can go very far in the Dressage Show World.
Yes that is exactly what I brought up; there are Gaited Dressage classes now. There are tests specifically made for gaited horses to show dressage.

I don't believe that these classes will be incorporated into the USDF anytime soon (if at all), Nor do I expect my TWH to perform at high levels. Like you said, all the basic training tools that dressage utilizes can be equally applied by and benefit the gaited community.
 

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Yes that is exactly what I brought up; there are Gaited Dressage classes now. There are tests specifically made for gaited horses to show dressage.

I don't believe that these classes will be incorporated into the USDF anytime soon (if at all), Nor do I expect my TWH to perform at high levels. Like you said, all the basic training tools that dressage utilizes can be equally applied by and benefit the gaited community.
About three or four years ago USDF appointed a committee to explore adding gaited horse standards to their tests. After study they decided not to do so. Their major reason appeared to be that "purity of gait" is an important part of the Dressage mileau. In the video that was posted the man talks about purity of gait in the trot; the trot is easy to analyze because a trot is a trot is a trot. The committee noted that even within any gaited breed association there can be a wide divergence of opinion on how a soft gait is correctly performed. They asked the question, "If a breed expert cannot clearly articulate the correct performance of one gait how can a Dressage judge be expected to master the purity not only of that one gait, but of the many other gaits?" In the end they felt that adding gaited horses to the Dressage mix would create insurmountable prolems in fair and professional judging. They recommended that USDF not go forward. And they didn't.

Frankly, the problem articulated by the USDF committee still exists and is still unsolved in the world of "Gaited Horse Dressage."

Again, this does not mean that gaited horse riders can't learn from the world of dressage and it's techiniques for traning. I've got a book with woodcuts from the 18th Century depicting the use of dressage techniques of that time in training gaited horses of that time. The idea of "gaited dressage" is not new. :wink:

G.
 
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