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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Alright, a little background. I am NOT a gaited horse person. At all. I do not like it, and yes, I’ve ridden comfortable Paso Finos…just not my thing. So no trying to convince me to like it 😁

My vet hooked me up with a lady (who happens to be practically a neighbor I never officially met), who has an IR horse that she didn’t have the time/ability to exercise like he needs. He is supposedly a Tennessee Walker but she believes he has something else in there. He was purchased from a dealer who wasn’t exactly honest about him.

I have been trail riding him 3-4x a week for a few weeks now and absolutely love him. He reminds me a bit of my two (now retired) horses that I could ride anywhere, anytime and had the right amount of spice and nice. The owner has noticed how well we get on, and unfortunately, after a riding accident she had (on another horse) a couple years ago, she doesn’t believe she’ll ever be able to ride him like he needs. She has offered him to me, but we won’t be making any concrete decisions until spring most likely.

here is my question. Is it possible and/or fair to train a gaited horse to NOT gait? He does trot and canter, but always moves into a pace-y gait before I can get him to steady into a proper trot. I haven’t yet asked for the canter because he goes back into the pace-y gait. He does pick up the canter on his own if we go uphill and it feels pretty good.

I plan on doing some dressage work with him after thanksgiving. He doesn’t seem to have much training as far as flatwork (moving off leg and seat, lateral, etc).

the owner is not worried about him “gaiting,” and he is not, and will never be, shown in any gaited classes. She is interested in simply finding him a good home. If I do take him, I will mostly trail ride. Taking him to some dressage shows would be an interest if I can either discourage, or learn how to fully “separate” his gaiting.

has anyone else done this? I will be doing more research into dressage and gaited horses, but wanted to get some personal insight if anyone here has it!

spirit is the handsome buckskin. The owner (on the grey paso fino), a couple ladies and I got out for a fun little group ride on Sunday!

Clothing Horse Equestrian helmet Working animal Saddle
 

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I have two gaited horses; one Missouri Fox Trotter, and one Racking horse. Both gait (the Missouri moreso than my Racker) and I have tried to get a canter out of one of them, and he just won't do it. He walks, paces, and gallops. That's it. The other one walks, paces, lope/canters and gallops. I really don't think you could retrain him to do regular gaits. Not saying it's impossible, but I've just never seen or heard it don't before.

😊 He's handsome.
 

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You can teach a canter. They'll always naturally gait but you can control it. Hold in a running walk on a walker and you get a walk. they'll always have longer strides and move different than a quarter horse though. But they can canter for sure, it just takes training to maintain it. Just like it takes training to train a colt to hold a steady, nice canter.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I have two gaited horses; one Missouri Fox Trotter, and one Racking horse. Both gait (the Missouri moreso than my Racker) and I have tried to get a canter out of one of them, and he just won't do it. He walks, paces, and gallops. That's it. The other one walks, paces, lope/canters and gallops. I really don't think you could retrain him to do regular gaits. Not saying it's impossible, but I've just never seen or heard it don't before.

😊 He's handsome.
Thank you! I am beginning to think I might have to broaden my horizons on this one haha. Everything I’ve found so far on dressage with Tennessee walking horses and/or gaited horses, is using the natural gaits of the horse.

looks like I might be watching a lot of YouTube videos on gaited horses!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
You can teach a canter. They'll always naturally gait but you can control it. Hold in a running walk on a walker and you get a walk. they'll always have longer strides and move different than a quarter horse though. But they can canter for sure, it just takes training to maintain it. Just like it takes training to train a colt to hold a steady, nice canter.
this is what I was thinking. Thanks!
 

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You can teach them to trot and canter. Mine was taught to trot by a teenager that was riding her at my place. She liked to post to it, I feel like the trot is blah. I prefer her not to trot.
 
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Yes, you can teach a gaited horse to trot. You should have a separate cue for the trot than the gait. Something to keep in mind is that if a gaited horse trots naturally, it could mean that something is wrong. It could be an improper hoof trim or a body out of alignment (chiropractor time). Or, it could be from bad breeding. Usually, though, a TWH naturally trotting is not a good thing.

Yes, you can teach a gaited horse to canter. In fact, many love to canter because it is easier than gaiting. Some have a harder time of it because some (owners) never let them canter, but with practice and time, they can and do canter well.

As for gaited dressage and trotting/cantering with a gaited horse, Jennifer Klitzke's YouTube and Website are good resources.

As for "fairness", it depends. It could be "fair" because trotting is easier than gaiting, so the horse will like that, but first, you must overcome the natural movement and breeding of the horse - which can be rather hard.
If the horse has never trotted before or not that much, the trotting muscles and muscle memory will likely not be there. It'll take a lot of work to strengthen the back and hind-end muscles and a lot of time until the muscle memory develops. For some, this may not come, and gaiting will forever be the "go-to."
 

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I’ve ridden Tennessee Walkers since 1990 so I won’t express my thoughts on teaching the horse to trot—-

What I will express my thoughts on, is the fact the horse has been diagnosed IR. TWH’s are at the top of the list for insulin resistance. I hope you are familiar with how strict it’s diet needs to be.

Managing IR goes beyond exercise. It is not a one and done episode, even if the horse is in remission, it still needs to be carefully managed via a strict diet and frequent hoof care.
 
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Yes- it is dependent on the horse, but you should be able to teach a trot and canter. Gaiting is genetic- some won't ever trot and you can't force that, but if it's already there, then you can train them to do that. My fox trotter can walk, trot, canter, foxtrot, and pace. She prefers to trot because it is less work than gaiting. It is easier for a gaited horse to pace going into the canter or coming out of the canter. Again you can train them not too. With her, she has a nice pace and a rough trot, so better to go into a pace then a trot.

I don't think you can train them to do dressage, except gaited dressage or maybe working equitation. But regular dressage, no.
 

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I've trained my TWH to trot on command. He always naturally trotted, and also paces and has a four beat gait. He has a beautiful rocking horse canter. It's definitely possible to train both a trot and a gait, and while a lot of people don't agree with it, I figured anything he learns that he didn't know before is a good thing. I'm also taking dressage lessons on him. Not gaited, or western, but classical dressage. He has a lot more to learn than horses that have started out in that discipline, but he's calmer, happier and much more willing with work than when I was just trail riding him. Our trainer warned me it would be harder to train him than if I sold him and bought a horse already started in dressage, but I didn't want to work with a different horse, I wanted to learn something new with him. We're both more confident and I think our relationship has really come a long way. I think if you wanted to compete and move up the levels, it would be hard on a gaited horse (although not impossible, you should Google Champagne Watchout, he was trained in upper level movements), but I have no intentions for that so I'm happy with what we are learning. I also don't ever intend to sell him.

I agree with checking out Naturally Gaited, she has a YouTube, a blog and a Facebook I think. From her videos, she just got a young gaited horse that she's training so it'll be interesting to see her start a gaited horse in dressage from the beginning.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I’ve ridden Tennessee Walkers since 1990 so I won’t express my thoughts on teaching the horse to trot—-

What I will express my thoughts on, is the fact the horse has been diagnosed IR. TWH’s are at the top of the list for insulin resistance. I hope you are familiar with how strict it’s diet needs to be.

Managing IR goes beyond exercise. It is not a one and done episode, even if the horse is in remission, it still needs to be carefully managed via a strict diet and frequent hoof care.
Yes it is being managed.
 

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My peruvian has always cantered just fine. However the only time he ever trotted was once when I tried a new saddle on him. The trot was nice and smooth but it was apparently a pain response cause the saddle just didn't fit and he hasn't offered to trot since then. So I know he can do it but I'm not going to ask.
 
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