Inconsistent Gaits

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Inconsistent Gaits

Post by Sunny Admin on Sat Feb 20, 2010 3:15 pm

Hi yall,
Found your site yesterday. This is going to be lengthy I'm afraid. This actually could be a cont. monthly feature of mine and Feather's (5 yr old TWH) progress. I've had him for 3 yrs. Came to me green with only 4 or 5 rides. We have ridden many hours now and lots of ground play. He can be very responsive and light. Loves to leave the property and go to the woods. Ears up and happy about it and looking ahead with anticipation. Sometimes he can be a bit bracy here on the property. Will even go sideways to the mounting block and wait for me to get off. If I don't he will reposition himself to see if that helps me! ha It is a hoot to see him working that angle. I have no problem with any of that as he doesn't fight me.


Now for my gaiting questions. I haven't ridden much in the last year. I have had the lousiest saddles to ride. I do have a great one coming that is made for women (not a cowboy's build). It is specially for gaited horses. Puts you right where you need to be. Feather, is so inconsistent in his gait. Gets all out of whack after a few nice beats. I think probably 50% of it is my fault as I just wasn't balanced good. (been riding all my life) I feel this new saddle will be very helpful and also that I am more than half way to my goal of losing 35 lbs. I'm doing my own hill therapy every morning. My legs are getting back like they should be so maybe I'll can actually get on without a mounting block! He's only 14.3 hh. My plan is that when my saddle arrives the weather here should be let up some from the heat and humidity is to get to riding everyday. I'm going to start with doing hill therapy with Feather. My hill out back is perfect. Not to steep at all just a nice uphill grade. I want to work him on that and start building up his hindquarters and just getting him in condition. I'm not even going to worry about the gaiting part at first. Do yall think that with his butt being strengthed that he will be more consistent with his gait? Also I have some rollers that my farrier gave me to put on his back feet. They are very light weight and I'm sure would only kind of tickle his feet to make him aware to pick them up better. I'm against artificial means in making a walker gait but, these seem harmless enough. I have also read the comments so far on the website about collection etc. and will be referring to them.


Any suggestions you have will be greatly appreciated. He does have a lovely four beat gait when he is in it. It isn't fast but, just comfy. And oh my gosh that awful trot!! I'm just thinking that if I condition him and have a better balance thru losing my weight (hope to be at 128) and having a saddle specially made for him and me that will help everything improve.


Thanks
Sue
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Re: Inconsistent Gaits

Post by Susan Brown on Sat Feb 20, 2010 5:40 pm

SUSAN: Hi, Sue,
It sounds like you have a lot of good ideas to help your horse as far as getting a saddle that will improve your balance, and working him on the hills you have. The strong working walk will help build both the muscles and the rhythm.Remember to keep contact on the reins and keep the nose in, with a rounded crest as you drive him forward from behind. Sit back deeply into the saddle. When you are ready to start flat walking him, be sure to do it very gradually. Just a little bit faster from a walk. If he breaks to a trot, quickly and firmly correct him back down to the walk or flat walk he was in before he broke. If he is trotty, you likely have too much of a forward feet and not enough collection. Sit back on your tail bone and do not tip forward in the saddle. Keep your chest behind your zipper and think "sit down". If your horse starts into a good gait, as you say, and then loses it, I would say he is naturally gaited and does not need the rollers. Gaining your balance and his collection and drive should do the trick.

Susan
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Re: Inconsistent Gaits

Post by Caroline Siegel-Hoffman on Sat Feb 20, 2010 5:52 pm

CAROLINE: Sue,
Sounds like you have a lot of great ideas to try and have really done some research. I would encourage you to try one thing at a time for a week or so so you can really tell if it is helping the horse. If you try all of your ideas at once it will be hard to tell which one is beneficial.

All the concepts you mentioned are correct for gait correction training for a trotty type horse.
I have two more suggestions for you to try and can't wait to hear how things progress for the two of you.

One suggestion is toe length on the back feet. Often on a trotty going horse if you leave the front feet short with a very light shoe so they have a fast break over with a longer toe in the back. Try using a toe weight type shoe or a little heavier keg or lite shod type shoe will help keep the back end on the ground by slowing the break over.
All of the balancing collection type things and exercises you have heard us talk about will help as well.

Two would be a tie down or you can do it manually by trying to lower your hands and bring his head down to even with the withers. Then get his head flexed at the poll and ask for a gait there. This will keep the back from hollowing out and the body from stringing out. Those combined should help work out the trot and teach your horse timing and shake if done consistently. I suggest a tie down only because it is really hard to keep your hands from moving and it is really important the pressure and head placement be consistent while he is learning his cadence.

Hope this helps!
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