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Do you prefer gaited or non gaited horses?

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While I have nothing against gaited breeds they’re just not my thing, I enjoy their smooth gaits but I like to have rhythm to move to, I know gaiteds do too but I just feel a little out of my element. It doesn’t help that mom tried to force me to take riding lessons with a gaited trainer when she knew I was more comfortable on a non gaited. Nevertheless I love occasionally riding one of mom’s horses.
 

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Some the answer to your question has to do with the origins of modern horse breeds. The main use of horses until the advent of the automobile was pulling things, not riding. For a light horse pulling a carriage or cart, the preferred gait is a trot -- even, simple rhythm, can easily be matched by others in a team. The large majority of heavy draft work is done at a walking pace. Again, no advantage to gaitedness. Genetically, most horses used for riding today are a mix of draft genes (pony, cob, and heavy draft are all closely related), and desert breeds from northern Africa and Anatolia (Arabian, Akhal-Tekhe, Turkmen) where the canter is the preferred gait for covering a lot of ground. These latter horses do not have the gaitedness gene, as far as I know.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Some the answer to your question has to do with the origins of modern horse breeds. The main use of horses until the advent of the automobile was pulling things, not riding. For a light horse pulling a carriage or cart, the preferred gait is a trot -- even, simple rhythm, can easily be matched by others in a team. The large majority of heavy draft work is done at a walking pace. Again, no advantage to gaitedness. Genetically, most horses used for riding today are a mix of draft genes (pony, cob, and heavy draft are all closely related), and desert breeds from northern Africa and Anatolia (Arabian, Akhal-Tekhe, Turkmen) where the canter is the preferred gait for covering a lot of ground. These latter horses do not have the gaitedness gene, as far as I know.
This makes sense, thank you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I like riding gaited horses from time to time. But for regular riding I enjoy trotting and cantering.
I love to trot and canter also. My gelding, who is 5 gaited, has the best canter I have ever ridden and it is his favorite gait. I still prefer tölting to trotting by a long shot, though.
 

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My first and foremost requirements are a safe, sound horse. But, given a preference, I LOVE gaited horses! They are so much fun......when I hit a good gait I grin from ear to ear! And I love to canter too. Out of all the Missouri Fox Trotters I've ridden (hmm, maybe 5?) only one had trouble cantering. And she was an older mare with soundness problems, so it could be because of that. Come to think of it, I've only ridden one or two TWH's but they can lovely canters as well.

All I do is trail ride, but I cannot think of a more fun way to go down the trail than on a gaited horse! Or course I love all horses and would take a non-gaited horse if he were nice in every other way. And some non-gaited horses are very smooth. I rode someone's grade/Mustang a while back and it wasn't until after the ride that I really thought about it and realized that even though he wasn't gaited I didn't even notice because his trot and canter were smooth.

But going back to riding a horse with a trot like a jackhammer, I don't think I could do it.

I don't know why gaited horses aren't more popular. I think people must not know what they are missing, or have some preconceived notions that the horses don't gait naturally or something (all my MFT's have been kept barefoot). Or put showing over just having fun. I mean, if you hit right gait, it is the biggest rush.......I think a lot of people must not have experienced that or they would be gaited horse owners too!

I am not a rich person, so if I find another horse that is safe and sound and can carry me and is NOT gaited, I may end up going that direction. But if I can find a horse with all that and IS gaited, and I can afford them, it's gaited, hands down! I would love to find a horse that racks.......but they are uncommon in my area. But my friend has a MFT that racks, and it is the dreamiest gait I've ever ridden!
 

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I prefer gaited, but don't mind riding a smooth non -gaited horse as well once in a while.
I like the fact that I can sit a smooth gait at all speeds, without having to post - I know, I am out of shape 😉

Last October I did my first LD on my Peruvian - work had been interfering and I hardly got any riding/conditioning in beforehand, including my own conditioning. I rode with a gal that was heavily conditioning and riding long distances on a regular basis on her mustang (with a very nice trot!)... Interestingly enough, I was barely sore after the ride or the day after, whereas my fit fellow rider was hobbling around. I attribute this to me sitting on my little gaiting machine, while she had to post or 2-point...
 

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I like riding gaited horses from time to time. But for regular riding I enjoy trotting and cantering.
Five gaited Saddlebreds walk, trot, canter, and also slow gait and rack. I like the four beat slow gait for riding across country. It is like floating.

Three gaited Saddlebreds just walk trot and canter, but very smoothly
 

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Five gaited Saddlebreds walk, trot, canter, and also slow gait and rack. I like the four beat slow gait for riding across country. It is like floating.

Three gaited Saddlebreds just walk trot and canter, but very smoothly
It is true some gaited horses are five gaited. It's been rare that horses I've ridden easily and cleanly changed through multiple gaits. It seems many strongly prefer to either gait or trot, gait or canter.

I've found saddlebreds smooth when they are gaiting also, but the ones I've been around have big trots rather than smooth ones.
 

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If you're thinking of buying a gaited horse, do serious homework. Know what bloodlines are strong in their gaiting. Not all individuals from a gaited breed are good at the gait. Some gaited horses will require plenty of correct conditioning to help them do their desired gait. Research myths and facts about hoof trimming for the gaited horse. There is a lot of nonsense about trimming and shoeing for gait that will harm the horse.
 

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I've never ridden a gaited horse. Hmm, actually I take that back, I rode an Icelandic in Iceland. We walked, trotted, and tolted. The guide had some really specific things I was supposed to do to keep him in a tolt, and I don't think I did it very well. I remember it as being like a trot but slightly smoother. Having said that, my Pony's trot is almost as smooth, so I ... don't know. I guess I'd like to try it again. Maybe with a different breed of gaited horse.
 
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As a middle aged rider with occasional lower back pain it's gaited all the way for me. My Rocky Mountain will walk, rack, and canter. To me a trot is very uncomfortable.
 

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I certainly like the speed of a gaited horse's walk. Just don't like the way they look doing it. IMO, it doesn't look normal. Those Paso Finos doing the Fino Fino...lets just say I don't understand it. The only exception would be the Brazilian Manga Larga Marchador.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I've never ridden a gaited horse. Hmm, actually I take that back, I rode an Icelandic in Iceland. We walked, trotted, and tolted. The guide had some really specific things I was supposed to do to keep him in a tolt, and I don't think I did it very well. I remember it as being like a trot but slightly smoother. Having said that, my Pony's trot is almost as smooth, so I ... don't know. I guess I'd like to try it again. Maybe with a different breed of gaited horse.
Gaited horses can vary a lot in smoothness. This Icelandic sounds like a rough ride compared to the standard for the breed as Icelandics are one of the smoothest horse breeds in the world. Also, the rider's balance and cues have a lot to do with the smoothness.
 

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I've ridden gaited horses TWH ,MFT and a paso fino. Think the TWH was probably the smoothest ride ,out of the other two breeds.

I do prefer not gaited like trotting my horses trot isn't to bad. His canter is to die for. If I don't want to post I make him canter.

Will say the TWH horse I rode was a blast ,that horse could cover ground and fast. A good horse is a good horse breed really doesn't matter.

My horse can cover ground he certainly doesn't lack ,in the speed department. Keeps right up with the gaited horses no problem.
 

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AragoASB. My late Gaydin, my first Arabian mare, had a jig where she paddled. I have to say, it was smooooth. I believe some Andalusians paddled, also.
 
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