Gaiting Under Saddle

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Gaiting Under Saddle

Post by Sunny Admin on Sat Feb 20, 2010 3:24 pm

Hi,

I have a gelding with a mysterious and traumatic past. Apparently he was purchased at an auction and then brought to Florida as a consignment horse. His coggins list his breed as a Racking Horse. He has striking bay sabino markings. When people see him in photos they think he's a Clydesdalecross because of his markings, but in person, they see he's barely 14.3 and fine boned. He has low withers, a short back and rather long hind legs with low hocks. He tracks up so much so that unless he's trimmed correctly he forges a bit. He has a prominent head nod at the walk. When he trots at liberty, his head is on the vertical, his neck arched and he gives the appearance of being naturally balanced and collected.


However, I have not seen him gait at liberty. Perhaps once, but it was dark and he was heading downhill, I thought I saw a different cadence, but I can't be certain. Here's my question: If a horse does not gait at liberty, is there a possibility it will gait under saddle? He's not yet under saddle as he's still recovering from serious post traumatic stress symptoms. Is there any ground work I can do with him that would indicate an ability to gait? Is there something I could look for in his conformation that could provide any clues?

The reason I ask also, is that I have two Paso Finos, one that is trotty and one that is pacey at liberty, but under saddle, through weight shifts, and collection I can influence their footfall to create a true four beat gait. Without the opportunity to work my gelding under saddle, I'm very curious to know what to look for that could help solve the mystery... is he actually a Racking horse with an actual rack?

Here's a video clip that shows him trotting as well as a pseudo Spanish walk. His gait is not as loose as it as when he's at liberty, because he's targeting a target stick. But I think it will give you an idea of his conformation and basic movement. http://paintinghorse.com/videos/fancy_footwork.htm

Many thanks!
Cheryl
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Re: Gaiting Under Saddle

Post by Susan Brown on Sat Feb 20, 2010 5:34 pm

SUSAN: ,Hi, Cheryl,

You are right, after watching the video I'd have to say you have a stunning young horse there. And I have little doubt to believe that he will easily perform a nice four beat gait for you. With his long and loose stride, you could probably encourage either the Running Walk, the Rack, or both.

The Racking Horse Associationregistry allows a horse to be registered either by demonstrating the rack for the person certifying the horse, or by having both parents registered as Racking Horses. I understand you do not have his papers, but I'm sure at least one of his parents must have been "gaited" or they wouldn't have any reason to write "Racking Horse" on his papers. And usually the four beat gait carries through in the foal with one parent gaited and one non-gaited. If both are gaited, then he is pre-wired to do a four-beat gait. It is very common to see only the trot in a horse at liberty. It just means he's more likely to trot than pace when he's not collected. Racking Horses are naturally trotty, that's why they more easily rack than do a RW.

I am very impressed by your video and truly admire all the work and time you put into your animals. I think training the brain to think about your agenda is a wonderful thing to accomplish at this point. You've got him really thinking, trusting you and trying for you. What a fantastic foundation to start him with! I'm not convinced that stretching his head down will do much for you, since they do this all day when they eat, anyway. When he is under saddle and carrying a rider, you will teach him to do this with his head low, and striding out, gradually. You said when he speeds up he lifts his head and trots. You will teach him not to lift his head to speed up, and this will help create the gait. Stretching and collecting are not the same thing. The collection will come under saddle, AFTER you have the long low stride. Bringing in the nose, adding drive while he is still stretching and pushing your seat from behind into the bit will create the collection. If you'd like a quick peek into the future, you may be able to get him to gait on a lunge line with short side reinson while you're pushing him. That might collect him some and reveal his gait. But don't do it for too long. He needs to learn it correctly through stages.

Have fun with your wonderful horse, Cheryl!
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