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Talk to me of gaited horses

[QUOTE=jeano;5378792]
MY racking horse has a nice, flat, really almost a QH lope that often degenerates into the wicky wack (cantering with one end, racking with the other).[/QUOTE]

I think we’ve had this conversation before, but we call that the “weeble wobble” because Weebles wobble but they don’t fall down (if you’re old enough to remember that little jingle. :smiley:

My husband’s racking SSH does this, but is capable of a decent canter if you can get there. It’s an ugly, ugly transition most of the time.

Up until a few months ago I couldn’t get my TWH to canter under saddle, though out in the field he had a beautiful, smooth canter. We just couldn’t manage the transition. I finally went to a trainer to help me figure it out, and OMG it was like a light came on for both of us. Now we just have to work on his muscle tone this spring to support it.

My DH’s SSH can walk as slow as a pokey QH or as fast as my TWH. He racks, but pretty much can do it all if you know what buttons to push. He definately takes work to keep him in gait. My TWH, God bless him, is so true to his gaits that he has taught me much (I’ve only been riding gaited for three years). His walk may be a QH’s trot or lope, but there isn’t anything “hot” about him. Sweet, big heart, honest and extremely curious. I am so completely sold on his temperment he’ll be the yard stick for every horse I have in the future. My DH’s SSH, the big lug (he’s 17.1 hands and drafty in look), has a similar temperment – though it’s hard to see his personality as much when his head is always buried in a hay round.

When you get to the point of shopping for a horse for you husband, commit to looking at and riding a lot of different horses. He needs to have an understanding of the diversity of how gaited horses move so he can decide what his preference is. Because he will have a preference, ultimately.

I had a TWH that looked sort of Morgan, or QH. Great temperament, but after I had him a year or so he started pacing more and more. When he cantered, he cross-fired and felt terrible. He wouldn’t even jump a log on the trail. I guess a TWH trainer could have worked with him to get him back together, but I sold him for the traditional WTC.

[QUOTE=Bank of Dad;5379084]
I had a TWH that looked sort of Morgan, or QH. Great temperament, but after I had him a year or so he started pacing more and more. When he cantered, he cross-fired and felt terrible. He wouldn’t even jump a log on the trail. I guess a TWH trainer could have worked with him to get him back together, but I sold him for the traditional WTC.[/QUOTE]

Hmm, that sounds like he must have had a hurting back to me…a preference for the pace tends to lead to back issues, might have been a vicious downward spiral for that horse. I dont mind the fact that mine trots, and am glad that the racking horse has so many gears she is able to keep her back pretty healthy using them all.

I use an assortment of breeds for track ponies. My best of course, is an appy – hes unflappable, hands down. But the horse I could have ridden into my death on … was my spotted saddle horse.

He was the most comfortable … stable… considerate, sweetly tempermented horse I ever met. He had a gaited trot, he had a regular trot… his canter was to die for !!

I used him 3 years solid on night work — he managed some pretty tough characters without a fuss… tough enough to anchor them solid. push them where they needed to be without scaring them… kind to them, helpful… and was my best working partner I ever had.

I would suggest you take this time inbetween to book some rides at stables and ride gaited on the trails to sort out your preferences. It takes time to adjust, well, I take that back, it took one step to know I was on something special with my SSH!

Sadly, the time came to end his track career – and bring along a new pony … he now packs an entire family – big dad, inexperienced mom, teaching the kids patiently .they love him!

In my old age, Im going back for another …just like him.

TWH’s canter. It is not as easy for them though, due to being more laterally wired and the canter is a diaganol gait. It is beautiful… soft upward, comfy. Each horse will have a bit of a different feel, depending on build and training. I would suggest going to a barn and try a few gaited horses and ask lots of questions. They make terrific hunter pace horses… can jump the moon with a bit of training.

Good luck!!! Welcome to the gaited horse… they are incredibly smart, and people oriented. Know what you want to do before you do…and are gorgeous to boot.

When you go to look at gaited horses be sure to pick up all 4 feet and see what they are wearing for shoes.
This will give you an idea on how much work it will be to keep the gait they are doing right then.

If you were to use that test on my gaited horses and my friend’s mft you’d find a total of 12 naked feet and no shoes. There are plenty of flat shod and unshod gaited nags that gait just fine with no pads, weights, chains, soring, etc. Honest injun.

Its a fact that you can shoe pacers so they’ll rack and walkers so they do something that looks like a spider with epilepsy but good gaits come more from good breeding and good riding than from special or expensive shoeing. Especially good TRAIL gaits.

Welll…I’ll split the difference. I’ve seen some utterly awful trail horse shoeing coming right out of Jamestown, TN; Where they oughta know how to shoe a plain old trail horse. But many of them have coke-cans for hooves and large heel caulks on all 4s.

I think you two are both correct :slight_smile: