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I got my horse Skyy in January this year. He's a registered TWH with The Pusher as his grandsire. - He is the first gaited horse I have owned. He was trained EXTREMELY well by a teen I mean very very verrrrrrrrrrry well. When I got him he could do his FW, RW, Rack. She even said she had used him for jumping. She said he did canter but didn't really like it.

Now my problem - I feel like some of this is my fault, maybe not being as knowledgeable as I should have been but now he has become SUPER pacey. - I do have a trainer and she has taught me a lot. She has been a show judge nominated as horse person of the year yadayada and had some experience with gaited horses. - Anyways, I've been working with her for a month and a half maybe longer. We're riding english (I never have before so it's new for me), my old western saddle did not fit him one bit. My current saddle does, he rides in a snaffle but I cannot get him to gait for the LIFE of me. - My trainer when she comes out works on tons of stuff, half halts, transitions, etc. but it's always whatever gait he is comfortable doing...........which is the pace. Unless we're working on his canter which has improved significantly. If it's up to him it's going to be the pace and I have no idea how to even get him into the fw or rw anymore. - On the way back from trail rides he'll do it but really thats it. - He was very heavy on the front and i've seen a significant change with that as well he's lighter on my hands and using his rear end more.

And not that this might be any useful information when i'm on the ground he will trot and canter PERFECTLY. He has a VERY nice extended trot which obviously I had no part in developing. - He jumps jumps perfectly...I just don't knwo what to do. I can't get him trot under saddle either. I almost feel as if it has to be one way or the other walk trot canter, or work on his gaits. I really don't care but I rather not have him pace since everything i've researched says it's bad...

I do eventually want to do fun shows with him, maybe some jumping for fun...i'm definitely not an avid shower - I never have. I just want to train him right and safely.

I guess my question is....should she even suggest working him in the pace...I mean like it is almost the whole lesson sometimes unless we're walking or working on his canter. I'm posting his pace which is SUPER hard to do and I just don't feel like I know everything to start giving her advice. She is SO nice and such a good trainer, I'm just not sure if it's okay to let him pace constantly.

I'm worried the more I work in him the pace the harder it'll be to get him out of it. It didn't click until my lesson last night when we were discussing fun shows that when they call for the trot or whatever i'd do my/his favorite gait.......................and right now his favorite is the pace and thats what we've been working on.

Sorry this is SO long...I just don't have a lot of gaited people...actually ANY that I can ask for advice. Thank you for taking the time to read this it really means a lot.
 

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My best advice is to ask the previous owner what cues she used to get him to gait. If she's the one who trained him the two of you just might not be on the same wavelength. Maybe she could even give you some "lessons"
 

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Unfortunately I moved and I got a new phone so I lost her number. I've been hoping she would contact me since she wanted to stay in touch but I haven't herd from her in a while now. :(
 

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I hate that. Is your trainer used to working with gaited horses? It might be good to find a "gaited" trainer for the time being.
My trainers advice was to just worry about trotting him and doing what I want with him (though I don't know what I want) and not to worry so much about gaits, but I think that depends on which direction you want to go.
 

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I'll throw out my two cents and offer this simple advice. Check her feet. If she has too long of toe it really does seem to throw a pace. If her feet are good, then just take her down to the Walk and correct her when she paces.

By going back to the walk, and spending time developing that 4 beat walk, it really helps to break up that pace. I found that especially with a snaffle (is
..that the bit the teenager worked her in?) they can gait but it takes a little bit more effort on your end especially if they are used to using the bit as leverage to gait.

Just walk, squeeze with your legs and have a firm by yielding hand, and get a more forward walk. As soon as you hit that stride give the "good girl" and as soon as she starts getting pacy, take her down to a flat walk, then cue for the RW.

Here are my "cues" for gaits, and everybody is different but this is what works for my multigaited Standardbred:

Forward Walk (Running Walk on my TWH) is a light hold on the mouth (as you would for cuing a trot) and squeeze with the thighs.

Rack: I hold my hands up higher (my walk is lower almost on withers same as trot) sit a little deeper on my hip bones, and squeeze and give a "kissy" noise.

Canter: If going to the right, tilt head slightly to the right to open up the left shoulder, sit on my hip bones, and with my right leg behind the girth along with "clucky" noise cue for canter. Opposite if going to the left.

My OTSTB also does a Foxtrot but I've yet to get a cue for that as he is really inconsistent with even picking it up and he seems to slide into it when I ride with Foxtrotters. He will almost Running Walk with TWHs and his rack is just smooth as silk. His canter is actually really good, he just doesn't do it well under saddle, yet picks it up wonderfully when doing marathon in CDEs.

Good luck!! My TWH mare is very pacy but she is in need of a lot of groceries and her feet is a work in process. She hasn't had proper farrier care in months and her feet are really bad. Her gaits at liberty are just breathtaking and with those bad feet, so hopefully she can keep those with healthy feet :)
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Ooooooooh rats. I typed this intense post and it somehow got deleted. I'll try again!

Thanks for all your help!!

His feet are due for a trim, when I got him he never wore shoes, I put fronts on him once I moved since it's rocky and gravely terrain. I found someone to check his hoof angle so i'll be doing that once the shoes come off but it's online so i have to take a picture send it etc.


Okay so when I first got him he was using a D ring myler mullen Mouth bit. - I switched a D ring snaffle because he was bracing against it and heavy on my hands.. Switching has helped but so has working on half halts etc.

I do use the same cue for canter as you but maybe i'll try using your cues and see if he responds. It took me awhile to figure out his canter cue, and since then I can almost always get him to do it (we still have to work on it but SO much progress has been made in that department).

I was practicing with him yesterday walking walking walking. He does do a nice Flat walk, which I guess has never been the problem it's that running walk I can't get him to do. OR maybe i'm just REALLY bad at realizing when he's doing it? I know it's the same 1234 train chugging footfalls but maybe he's doing a really slow Running walk? I have a hard time telling if it's a faster flat walk or slower running walk....if that makes sense? I was pushing him to go as fast as he could and if he paced I slowed him down again. It seemed to help a lot but i'm not sure if he ever did the RW....

As for the Rack I KNOW he's done it and he knows how to do it but I feel I would not know if he did it because I have no idea how it feels compared to the pace. Sometimes Skyy's pace can be so smooth other times it can be so bumpy! lol Is there a certain feeling I would get or could I hear the foot falls? I'm going to be videoing it so I can watch and have this one gaited guy watch...but my non gaited boyfriend is usually out with me. Unfortunately he doesn't know much in the gaited horse department so...yeah. :/

Again thanks for all your help!
 

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It's odd that you mention he is working more off his back end, pacing is generally indicative of a hollow back and being strung out. I would discourage the pace at all costs, allowing him to work in this gait only encourages it & as you mentioned it is not good for the horse and uncomfortable. When my mare breaks into a pace I immediately bring her down to a walk & then continue to encourage her forward. Over time she's figured out I won't let her pace so she is looking for an alternative and is developing a decent RW. You need to find a gaited horse trainer, it's a whole 'nuther world from "regular" horses.
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I think you are getting some really good advice here. There is a web site called Ivy's Horse Training. There are some free training videos and you can also send her a video to be analyzed and she can give you some suggestions.
 

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Idrivetrotters method is similar to the one I use. Walk walk walk. Walk up to the point where you feel she's breaking into a pace. Don't let her. Slow her down to where she's 4 even beats again. The previous owner may have just not let her break to a pace, and worked on getting more speed on a flat walk to running walk. Muscle memory. You also need to get to where you feel her start to invert and not be round. That's usually when the head starts to come up and stops nodding. Put the racking off for a while. What helped me immensely was taking mine away from the barn on a firm road, then heading back to the barn listening to those 4 equal beats and listening to where they start to become uneven. Watch for when the nodding stops. That's usually when she's heading for a pace. Do lots of circles, serpentines, figure 8's and an occasional stop and back up. These things will lead her to developing a longer stride with the hind legs which is connected to the head nod and flat or running walk. Be sure to have some soft contact with the bit, to where you can feel her nod. Hope this helps a bit.
 

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I'm going to add, since I'm sort of in the same boat here. What works for both my horses is to "push" into gait as opposed to "stepping" into trot. Almost as if asking for collection. More of a mental thing.
 

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Are you using a farrier that knows how to shoe and trim gaited horses? If not, that could be much of the problem here.

And it could be rider mechanics as well of course.

Are you keeping hands low on him, and bringing him back to you as you move him out with your legs?

Was he shod when you got him? Or have you shod him?

He could also have injured himself and so the pace is more comfortable for him.

Video would help greatly.

You might also work him downhill, as that will get the hind moving correctly.

Old saddle could have pinched him and caused deep muscle pain.

You could also have your saddle too far forwards and that is impeding his shoulder movement too.
 

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just my thoughts and methods:

if he is pacey by nature. you need to keep front hooves shorter than the traditional walking horse trim. most walking horses you want longer front hooves to get that special lick. not so with pacey horses. shorter trim in front. little longer in back. you need a farrier that knows about gaited horses.

also a weighted shoe in front. my gelding has a 3/4 shoe on front when he is shod. it helps with the pace. he is 1/2 TW and 1/2 standardbred. he can be pacey.

a little more contact on the bit and hands held little higher, once you get him racking will help hold him there. when contact is released. and you still have some speed going, the pace may come out.
you will definitly know the difference in pace and rack. the rack is more of "rolling" gait feel. ultra smooth. the pace is a faster gait, but much rougher.
the pace is fun to ride if you like speed for short bursts. but its too rough to ride for long periods of time.

a pacey horse will automatically want to pace once he gets tired. its an easier more natural gait for him. so you have to ease him back down to a walk. to give him a break.
 

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I got my horse Skyy in January this year. He's a registered TWH with The Pusher as his grandsire. - He is the first gaited horse I have owned. He was trained EXTREMELY well by a teen I mean very very verrrrrrrrrrry well. When I got him he could do his FW, RW, Rack. She even said she had used him for jumping. She said he did canter but didn't really like it.

Now my problem - I feel like some of this is my fault, maybe not being as knowledgeable as I should have been but now he has become SUPER pacey. - I do have a trainer and she has taught me a lot. She has been a show judge nominated as horse person of the year yadayada and had some experience with gaited horses. - Anyways, I've been working with her for a month and a half maybe longer. We're riding english (I never have before so it's new for me), my old western saddle did not fit him one bit. My current saddle does, he rides in a snaffle but I cannot get him to gait for the LIFE of me. - My trainer when she comes out works on tons of stuff, half halts, transitions, etc. but it's always whatever gait he is comfortable doing...........which is the pace. Unless we're working on his canter which has improved significantly. If it's up to him it's going to be the pace and I have no idea how to even get him into the fw or rw anymore. - On the way back from trail rides he'll do it but really thats it. - He was very heavy on the front and i've seen a significant change with that as well he's lighter on my hands and using his rear end more.

And not that this might be any useful information when i'm on the ground he will trot and canter PERFECTLY. He has a VERY nice extended trot which obviously I had no part in developing. - He jumps jumps perfectly...I just don't knwo what to do. I can't get him trot under saddle either. I almost feel as if it has to be one way or the other walk trot canter, or work on his gaits. I really don't care but I rather not have him pace since everything i've researched says it's bad...

I do eventually want to do fun shows with him, maybe some jumping for fun...i'm definitely not an avid shower - I never have. I just want to train him right and safely.

I guess my question is....should she even suggest working him in the pace...I mean like it is almost the whole lesson sometimes unless we're walking or working on his canter. I'm posting his pace which is SUPER hard to do and I just don't feel like I know everything to start giving her advice. She is SO nice and such a good trainer, I'm just not sure if it's okay to let him pace constantly.

I'm worried the more I work in him the pace the harder it'll be to get him out of it. It didn't click until my lesson last night when we were discussing fun shows that when they call for the trot or whatever i'd do my/his favorite gait.......................and right now his favorite is the pace and thats what we've been working on.

Sorry this is SO long...I just don't have a lot of gaited people...actually ANY that I can ask for advice. Thank you for taking the time to read this it really means a lot.

just to add a little more to my above post.

i would not work the pace. you dont want this in a walking horse or a racking horse.
im a firm believer in a curb bit for a gaited horse. leverage and balance thing ya know.
and being new to a walking horse, i dont think you need to canter him. he doesnt want to do it. and this can possible mess up the other gaits if you dont know what your doing. many here will disagree but they are probably more experienced with gaited horses. keep it to the flat walk, running walk, and rack.
hold him back more with the bit to keep the rack going so as to not slip into the pace. hence the curb bit. a walking horse bit has leverage. just keep your hands soft. hard hands puts alot of pressure on a horses mouth. once again that leverage thing.
IMO a true walkiing horse will naturally do the running walk. this one seems to not have that trait. interesting..............

i also dont recommend a trot in any walking horse. IMO a trot doesnt belong in a gaited horses regiment. it kinda defeats the purpose of being "gaited"

more pressure on the bit, hands higher. slide your hips forward in saddle, sit on your back pockets, feet forward. kiss at him. and if you have to encourage him with a spur or a crop lightly. this makes him work harder on back end. keeps his head higher. really brings out the gait.

just my thoughts thats all.
 

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Since it seems you are having trouble telling the difference in the gaits, get the horse on a hard surface where you can count the hoofbeats. AS SOON AS it goes from 1-2-3-4 to 1--2--1--2, go back to the 1-2-3-4. adjust your weight a bit further back in the saddle, and lift the reins a bit, until the 1-2-3-4 goes a bit faster and praise, but don't stop. Just move your hands a little bit forward for a reward. Repeat. Work on this in short sessions, until you get the consistent gait.

Nancy
 

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Just some quick thoughts:

Many, many gaited horses work best if ridden "in contact." Riding in contact means the rider must know what they are about and sit correctly (balanced), have soft hands, and use their legs. This does not require a curb bit; a snaffle can work just as well. The curb can reduce, or even eliminate, the need for a higher level of rider skill; that might be the source of its popularity. Of course used correctly (i.e., with a good seat, soft hands, etc.) the curb permits a very high level of communication between horse and rider. I'm not "anti curb"; I'm pro "rider skill." :wink:

Trims for any horse should be to anatomical correctness for that horse. This is one of the critical places where "one size does not fit all." As soon as you depart from a horse's nominal angles, lengths, etc. you will induce bio-mechanical stress in the horse. How much? The answer is a question: "How much artificiality did you create?" At the extreme end of the spectrum we've got the Big Lick horse. At the other end you've got the unshod horse that is never trimmed except by movement. Neither, IMO, is healthy for the horse.

Headset in a horse, any horse, comes from the leg, not the hands. This Equitation 101. Of course if your feet are up "on the dashboard" this will be difficult to do.

Weighted shoes are "action devices." All action devices are the province of the unskilled.

The canter is a useful gait to build wind in the horse. It does not, I say again IT DOES NOT, adversely affect gait in a normal gaited horse.

If you've got a pacer and want to move them to the center dump all the gimmicks, sit correctly, and ask the horse to walk. Get them settled in a nice, easy walk. Now ask for more little speed (more leg). If they stay smooth and easy in movement hold that for a few days of training, then ask for more. Repeat. As soon as they move into an undesired way of going (in this case the pace) then slow back to the point they were correct and hold it there for few days, then ask again. Repeat as necessary.

This "stair step" process is NOT a "quick fix." It requires that the rider WORK their horse regularly and consistently. You can take a horse that paces like a camel to a decent flat/running walk in about six months. It does cost time; but there are no expenses for "leather and iron" or trainers or clinics involved.

G.

Mixing gaits (walk, gait, canter)
 

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just some more of my thoughts on you post in particular Mr G:

-IMO the canter and trot is not something a beginner rider needs to do on a gaited horse. the canter is fine once the rider and horse knows what they are doing. the trot however..i never understood encouraging a trot in a walking horse. (i know you never mentioned the trot, im just throwing that one in there, forgive me)

-im not a fan of the snaffle. its harder on the horse than a curb, i believe. course whom ever has reins in hand has everything to do with that. but a snaffle on a walking horse?? blasphemy...lol. a curb you can set your hands at desired pressure with little effort and keep them there with minute amount of change. similar to power steering in a vehicle. much easier to work with. IMO easier on horse too.

-trimming hooves is a science. and not all are the same. but starting with the common proven method of keeping fronts shorter on a pacer is good way to start. keeping backs longer at a 63-65 degree angle is a good way to start. these are not extremes and will not hurt in any way. start here and go from there. (this is for the O.P. best method is have a farrier that is experienced and trained with gaited horses. tell him the issues and let him do his thing..then go from there.)

-final point is the "action devices" it seems to the obvious you are totally against them, but heres something im pondering:
whats your take on using weighted shoes or chains perhaps as a refreshing tool esp. if said horse has not been ridden in quite some time. like over winter. it just gets them back in the groove. something like awaking the "muscle memory" ,.. once they get that desired lick back remove devices. for some its only a few minutes....
whats your take on that? have you ever heard this method before? i had a farrier tell me this one time?

seems like an interesting theory to me.. but i havent used it yet. but truthfully nothing about riding is naturel. everything about it is artificial from the get go.
 

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oh yes i forgot to add in my personal experince....

i had 3/4 shoes on front of my gelding. this was the way he came to me. i just stayed with it. he is a notorious pacer if you let him have his way. hes half standardbred.

i had the shoes pulled over winter. i still ride him on short little trips. couple miles w/o shoes. first few times out, hes rough as a cob. im thinking "no shoes" last time out we went three miles. his flat walk was a little rougher but his slow rack was nice and smooth. i wouldnt let him go all out bc we were on ashphalt mostly. didnt want him to slip.

im wondering now if i could put lighter shoes on front come spring. when i do some serious true riding. course i wont have that beautiful show stopping front end action w/o the heavier shoes. im somewhat superficial ya know ;)
 

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Your reply here is pretty much "industry standard" for dealing with a pacy horse. It's pretty much what I was told back in 1990. It was in 1991 that I "got religion" and rejected the "industry standard" for something that worked better, cost less, but did require more time (which I had).

Note that I was preparing the horse for the field, not the show ring. My goal was maximized efficiency of motion not any sort of "style."

Regarding angles, if you were to stand up 1000 horses of any given breed you could come up with some means and averages on lots of bio-metrics (hoof angles, leg angulation, back length, etc.). That does not mean, however, that any given animal will have the number that is derived from a statistical analysis. Would that number be a good starting place? Maybe so, but maybe not. Horses are not pieces of standardized plywood or steel; templates with them are of very limited utility. The trim to anatomical correctness will always be right for the horse in front of you. That's not a "template"; it's reality.

I'm trying to understand the concept of a snaffle being more harsh than a curb. Each is made of metal, each rests in about the same place in the mouth, each has a range of effectiveness in some form of communication. The idea that one is more "harsh" does not compute. If anything, the curb has more power (for good and for ill) as it is a lever. I remember my Archimedes. :)

Just where you use each can vary with discipline involved. In the show ring, where presentation is everything, the curb will likely be the choice because of the arbitrary standards that the judge will apply to the exhibitors. In the field, where performance is primary, it might be the choice because of the horse's temperament or discipline.

The standard for the Army in the early 20th Century was the bit and bradoon of the full double bridle. Recruits began training in this rig from day 1 of boot camp. Their horses were old troopers and did not need the bit; the bradoon was sufficient. Both were used, however, because the combination helped the trooper develop a proper feel for the horse's mouth. In modern times Helen Crabtree, in her book Saddleseat Equitation, makes the same recommendation. When the Army went after Villa during the Punitive Expedition the bit was left in garrison and most officers and men rode in the bradoon, only. This was to be the standard (bit and bradoon in garrison for training, parades, etc.; bradoon in the field) until the end of the horse cavalry in 1948. I think is probably a pretty good standard for most riders, gaiting or trotting, today.

Can "action devices" be successfully used as a "bridge" to get from where you are to where you want to be? Probably not. I guess there might be the one horse in a thousand that might be trained to a certain movement with a device and then continue that movement after the device is removed. I've yet to meet it. :wink:

To me "action devices" and cattle prods have a lot in common. If you want to teach a horse to move on word or a touch then combine that word or touch with a shock from the cattle prod and you'll get a much quicker (albeit more dramatic) response from the horse. It might even have some "residual memory" (although "action devices" generally only work while actually applied).

They are also "anti-training" devices. If you use a crop or a spur to induce some movement when the movement is attained you stop using the crop or spur. That's training. An action device is always "on." If the horse is moving incorrectly the action device is "on"; if it moves perfectly the action device is "on." The rider can't turn it "off."

Can they be "effective"? Very occasionally yes, but most of the time "no." And they quickly become the province of "quick fix artist" who gets a "result" but does not lay down a foundation for that result.

For these, and other, reasons I reject them.

I shudder at the use of the word "natural" when combined with "horsemanship." It's an ultimate "oxymoron." As to the farrier's theory, I say no. Chains only work while they are on the horse. If it were otherwise they would be used only in the training barn and not in the show ring.

Still, the really good horsemen of history have understood the natural proclivities of the horse and worked with them to accomplish their goals.

G.
 

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interesting. thanks for replying.

i see the reasoning behind everything you said. few things we differ in thought. but thats the way of the world. i'll mull and ponder everyting you said over.....

if you would...please expound on this statement: its in regards to a curb bit:

In the field, where performance is primary, it might be the choice because of the horse's temperament or discipline.
im interested in a more indepth explanation. thanks.
 

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I will throw my 2 cents in on bits. Single jointed snaffle bits are not made for every horse nor for every discipline. I avoid single jointed snaffles as much as possible just because of the nutcracker effect they can have. I prefer a mullen mouth bit as a log of horses do not like the amount of movement French Links can have (although I love French Links to start horses with or on OTTBs I'm reschooling)

I restart all my gaited horses in a mullen mouth bit but I also check every horse's mouth for clues as to which bit to use. Large tongues, low palettes, or narrow mouths need slimmer bits with minimal movement (My OTSTB uses a Pee Wee bit for everything including driving because of his huge tongue and low palette). My current TWH mare will be restarted (she is a recent rescue so groceries and getting her feet healed up from years of neglect) once she has a bit more weight on her and her feet are healed.

I shy away from long shanked bits and I will use a Kimberwicke over a shanked bit if possible.
 
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