How common are 100% smooth gaited horses?

My heart horse was a Missouri Fox Trotter who, I kid you not, was 100% smooth at all gaits, all speeds, and on all terrain. His transitions were seamless and I am not embellishing when I say I never felt that horse take one bouncy step in the 2 years I had and rode him. I knew nothing about gaited horses (still really don’t) and never had to ask him to gait smoothly, he just did it on his own.

Since then, I’ve ridden over 20 Missouri Fox Trotters and a handful of Tennessee Walkers, but I’ve never come across another like him. I’ve ridden some extremely smooth ones that rode smoothly the majority of the time, but they always had their certain speeds where they weren’t as smooth, or if they were going up or down a hill.

How common is it to find one like mine, and what factors make a gaited horse much smoother than average? I know conformation, breeding, and training play a big role (and sadly I never had papers for this horse and MFTHBA has never gotten back to me when I asked if there was a way to search through their database by color, markings, and approximate date of birth; I also don’t know much about his past other than that he was a rescue who was discarded like trash when the kids lost interest, and was starved nearly to death). I would love to find another horse who rides like he did, though I know I’ll never be able to replace him.

Hi my current horse is a Missouri Foxtrotter. I’ve owned him since he was 13 months old. He was my first youngster and my first gaited horse. When he was 1st started, he was pacey most likely because he was lazy, didn’t know where his legs were and didn’t know how to use himself. It took him a long time to learn how to foxtrot but he’s amazing now. If he doesn’t foxtrot, he needs chiro or massage. Some of them are smooth as glass and some are choppy and uncomfortable. Rustle’s a beautiful mover (even though his legs point in 4 different directions) but he had to be taught to gait. I wouldn’t trade him for the world. This year is the first year I’ve seen him foxtrot in the field at liberty (he turned 13 in May).

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I have a foxtrotter rescued from a killpen. Her foxtrot is super smooth. Her hard trot is terrible. Paso Finos tend to have smoother gaits at all speeds then most gaited breeds. My friend has a TWH and she feels like riding a washing machine. Uncomfortable to sit and you can’t post. She is only smooth if she running walks. I don’t really like riding her, although she is a pretty horse.

Gaited horses are on a spectrum. The closer you get to a 4 beat gait, the smoother the horse is. Yes, TWH and Rocky mountain horses can do a 4 beat gait.

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The Peruvian Paso, Paso fino, and Icelandic are the purest gaited horses I know of… anything American is on a broader spectrum. So that’s your TWH, KMSH, racker, SSH, etc and those are all strongly influenced on how they are started under saddle


I have a KMSH and his gait is subject to how stiff or loose his back is. His back gets stiff when he doesn’t get enough turnout. He’s now on 24/7 turnout and smooth as glass at all speeds. If he ever gets pacey, I know what the problem is - and it is very uncomfortable to ride.

OP I’d say your MFT was your horse of a lifetime!

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I have owned 3 TWH - 1st one registered Racking Horse, 2nd registered TWHBEA & #3 is “alleged” (no papers).

1st had not much gait, but he trotted & had a Rocking Horse canter. He was DH’s Eventer so gait was not important.

2nd was smooth-gaited, felt like getting a backrub riding him. He never trotted, even in pasture he would gait.
Canter was an issue, he would crossfire.

Current horse came to me gaiting & had been used solely for horsecamping/trailriding. Comfortable gait, but I wanted trot & working with my Dressage trainer have achieved it.
His canter is still a Work in Progress as former owner never asked for it.
Once canter is established I my ask for & allow gait. No reason he can’t have all the gears.

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I’ve owned and worked with a lot of different gaited breeds- some I started, some came to me already under saddle. There are so many factors that influence the gait that it’s hard to pinpoint one that would give you a 100% of the time smooth horse. I think the closest I’ve ever come to that is one of my Morgan mares who actually isn’t gaited- her trot is so smooth that it’s hard to post to and her canter feels like you could sit it for days. I think it is very easy to tell when gaited horses are using themselves and working properly through their body because their gait tends to feel just right then, at least IME.