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Author Topic: Fastest Gait  (Read 5531 times)
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Quiethorse
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« on: November 08, 2004, 09:42:05 PM »

I have been looking for the right gaited horse for me for a while and have a question for the board.  I live in the mountians and am fortunate enough to not have to trailer my horse when I want to go for a ride.  Here is my dilema.  The more I ride, the more country I see and therefore for me to get farther out into the mountians, I need to ride longer and longer.  This is one of the main reasons that I want a gaited horse.  So that I can cover ground quickly and the smoother ride will be nice.  So here is my question.  Does there seem to be a breed that covers ground faster at a gait that it can keep up for long periods of time?  Is there something conformationaly that I should look for in a horse that covers ground quickly?  I would think that some breeds have very smooth gaits while others may have gaits that are smooth but cover more ground.
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spots4u
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« Reply #1 on: November 09, 2004, 09:33:21 AM »

We had a spotted saddle horse that was also reg. racking and he could rack up to about 30 MPH, and did it with ease and smoothness and was totally surefooted, he was very swift at just a plain walk too...... I would look into racking horses, for ground coving distance.(JMO)
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Sherry in CA
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« Reply #2 on: November 09, 2004, 12:02:31 PM »

Regardless of the breed, you really have to look at the length of stride of any particular horse.  Obviously a shorter legged horse will not have the stride length that a taller, longer legged horse has.  Some racks are very, very fast (hence the speed racking classes at shows), but a straight pace (very uncomfortable) probably covers more ground (hence the pacing standardbred RACES).  Consider too that the fastest rack is not supposed be done uninterrupted for long periods of time as it's pretty hard on the horse.
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Quiethorse
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« Reply #3 on: November 09, 2004, 12:26:59 PM »

A trotting horse has a walk, trot (jog), canter (lope), and a gallop.  Where does a rack fall in as far as gaited horses go?
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bbsmfg5
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« Reply #4 on: November 09, 2004, 12:56:41 PM »

Boy, do I wish I had your problem.  We simply love to ride the mountains.  We have spent the last 6 years(3 wks per yr) riding the mountains.  First year was Estes Park, second year we the Tetons, next 3 years was Gallatin National, and last year Monti Lasalle in Utah.

We ride with a lot of fast riding gaited horse people.

It is very interesting to watch the gaits of the fast gaited horses.  I'd say it is about split 50-50 between a rack and a stepping pace, very few running walk at the faster pace.  What is even more interesting is that some have a smooth gait and others do not, ditto, stepping pace. I have been watching and studying these faster paced horses for the last eight years trying to see what makes one smooth and the other rough.  It took me some time just to be able to recognize the different gaits the gaited horses do.  There are so many variations and opinions.  I finally purchased a video that gave a demonstration of the different gaits, and gave them both at regular speed and in slow motion.  Watched this tape over,and over and eventually could tell what gait most of them are doing.
I now vidoe my horses to tell what they are doing, and not doing as the case maybe.

There is a lot of disagreement on which gait is easier on the horse.  I've found that some horses do the rack with less effort than the stepping pace or the running walk, but the reverse can also be true.  I prefer the rack for my fast gait.
I have seen a few fast moving Paso Fino,and a few Peruvian Pasos.  Not many fast running walk, but a few.  
Finding a good fast moving gaited horse with sense is not easy. I'd suggest you ride a good racking horse, a good stepping pace horse, a good Paso, and see which gait you prefer.  Then you'll probably have to convince someone that has one to sell it.  You won't find many advertised for sale, and if they are advertised, you'll pay big bucks for them.  I can not find what I want for what I can afford, so I look for horses that do the gait but have a behavior problem of some sort, then pray that I can fix the behavior problem.

There is nothing more invigorating than riding a good racking horse at top speed along the top of a high mountain top.

A rack is a 4 beat even cadenced gait characterized by having only one foot on the ground at a time, ie, that is why the single foot gait and the rack are the same gait.  This is the same gait the show racking horses do, but without as much animation.  And some speed racking horses are very rough.  That is why I suggested you try riding several different gaits before you decide which one suits you.
« Last Edit: November 09, 2004, 01:04:19 PM by bbsmfg5 » Logged
Sherry in CA
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« Reply #5 on: November 09, 2004, 01:07:54 PM »

You are sooo right.  There was a little black twh mare at our ride on Saturday that had one of the fastest racks I'd ever seen!  She just FLEW!  BUT....some folks can be intimidated by this type of horse.  On the other hand, one of our long time friends has a huge TWH (probably close to 17 hands, that has a wonderful & fast running walk.  I'd always assumed that the running walk was actually kinda slow....but this guy had amazing stride & ground coverage, all the while head nodding like a fool!  The owner rides this horse tons, as he is a volunteer park ranger (there is a required mileage for certification).  I'm sure that helped develop this big guys gait.
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freedom
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« Reply #6 on: November 09, 2004, 01:17:39 PM »

My gelding has a very fast rack that is lots of fun to ride!We can set a steady pace  (er..rack)so that my quater horse friends have to gallup to keep up. Freedom is very smooth, sure footed, and goes around curves on the trail without missing a step. He also has a power walk, which my friends hate, because they have to trot to keep up.
Amy.
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spots4u
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« Reply #7 on: November 09, 2004, 01:39:13 PM »

Quote
Finding a good fast moving gaited horse with sense is not easy. I'd suggest you ride a good racking horse, a good stepping pace horse, a good Paso, and see which gait you prefer.  Then you'll probably have to convince someone that has one to sell it.  You won't find many advertised for sale, and if they are advertised, you'll pay big bucks for them.  I can not find what I want for what I can afford,

We stumbled across our guy and was extremly pleased, he had the BIG MOTOR, but he was all HEART, gave you everything he had and more, very trustworthy, had the motor, but never bucked or reared or acted stupid, our only problem was our other horses could not keep up with him on the trail, so if I rode him, my husband would be lagging behind somewhere and if he rode him, I would be lagging behind, so we opted to sell him verses our trail horses we have had for years.  I hated to do it, but can't ride them all and I miss him terribly, he was such a blast to ride.

One time we went out riding with a group of about 50 riders and my husband rode him and he made it back 45 minutes before everybody else. That is the only problem you will face if you have other riders on the trail with you.
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JVanHorn
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« Reply #8 on: November 10, 2004, 12:50:00 AM »

bbsmfg5,

Could you tell us the name of the gait video you purchased?
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Always wondering
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« Reply #9 on: November 10, 2004, 02:34:28 PM »

The only mountain riding I have done is on very narrow trails with lots of winding around obstacles and lots of steep sections.  Is a gaited horse O.K. for this kind of trail riding?  What about a tall TWH say 16-17 hands?  Or would a 15h mountain horse be better.  The horses I've ridden in such situations were either rented or owned by friends - usually 15h or smaller QH, old type app, or grade, never a pretty horse, usually with rough trots but very sure feet for climbing or going down steep slopes.
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bbsmfg5
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« Reply #10 on: November 10, 2004, 07:55:26 PM »

The size of the horse really is not an issue when it comes to riding the narrow trails in the mountains, unless of course they are too tall to go under some of the obstacles, which is not usually the case.
I have 16.3 hd horses and 14.1 hand horses that do equally well on the narrow switchbacks in the mountains.  We have ridden the Teton's of Wyoming the Gallatin National Forest in Montana, and the Monti LaSalle of Utah with these horses.

The real issue is training, conditioning, sure footedness, and spook training.  You definitely do not want to take a green horse to the mountains and have them spook at a bear or a elk or a moose, etc. If a good mountain horse sees something that they are unsure of, you want them to stop and look; not spook, spin and fall 4000 ft.
You can train your horses not to be silly spookers.  And it is best to do it before you hit the mountains.  

We really enjoy riding the mountains.  We have our horses in good condition before we go.  Then we find we can ride the lower trails for the first 2 or 3 days, then we just go ride.  We might gait along at top speed on the top of a 12,000 ft mountain and enjoy the snow hitting you in the face.
Not really, we avoid the snow.  When the storms come in we seek shelter.  You can usually see them coming and go down to saver altitudes.  But the regular showers you will get we just put on our ponchos and go on.

The real danger is the major thunderstorms that can come in and wash out the trails at lower elevations while you are above them.

We find our gaited horses do just as well in the mountains as the quater type horses, and better than those that are out of shape.
As far as the type of gaited horse is concerned I haven't found in difference in them.  We have(or have had), TWH, Mountain Pleasure, Paso Fino, and just plain plug gaited horses with equal success in the mountains.
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WalkinOn
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« Reply #11 on: November 10, 2004, 08:59:01 PM »

I think that racking horses are a little more rough to ride the true walking horses.  If you want to have it all I would look for a long-legged, short backed walking horse maybe out of the Roan Allen line as they tend to be more defined than the Merry Boy side.  Look for a long chest area for endurance. You will then get speed and agility along with a smooth ride.  Have fun and try them all as every gaited horse can be multi-gaited and it is up to you to bring out the best in the best Smiley
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bbsmfg5
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« Reply #12 on: November 11, 2004, 09:08:00 AM »

I think that racking horses are a little more rough to ride the true walking horses.  If you want to have it all I would look for a long-legged, short backed walking horse maybe out of the Roan Allen line as they tend to be more defined than the Merry Boy side.  Look for a long chest area for endurance. You will then get speed and agility along with a smooth ride.  Have fun and try them all as every gaited horse can be multi-gaited and it is up to you to bring out the best in the best Smiley
Dear Walkinon,
I am curious.  You sound like you are very familiar with the THW horses.  My experience with the "well" bred TWH has not been good.  They all are much too pacey.  Some of them, with enough training do come around, but by far the majority of the well bred TWH we see on the trails are pacing, or step pacing.  Very few have a nice natural running walk.
I have one TWH that is very good, but it took 2 years to get him there, and I still have to stay with him regualarly to keep him in his smooth running walk.  If he gets the least bit too heavy he'll pace your seat right off, if he isn't riden regularly, ditto.  On the other hand the single foot(racking) horses either have it or the don't, not a lot of inbetween.  My best trail horses(other than the one TWH) are Mountain Pleasure, Kentucy Mountain, and unregisterd gaited, and their rack is smoother that any running walk I have found.
Am I missing something?  Or are the majority of trail riders not training their horses adequately?  Oops, I do not want to step on the Paso Fino, or Peruvians, they are naturally very smooth, but finding a trail gaited Paso is tough, most are show type gaits.  I had one that was the smoothest think going, but he was so hiper, I could not get him to settle down until he was completely exhausted, then he was done in.  And it wasn't for lack of training, we rode and trained that horse for over a year, and he never settled down one bit.
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tnwalker32
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« Reply #13 on: November 11, 2004, 10:15:52 AM »

Am I missing something?
Quote


What I have found is just because they are well bred (for many this means many WGCs on the papers) many of these horses pace because that is what these horses were bred for, that way they can be squared up with the pads and plantation shoes. IMO just because a horse has lots of WGCs in their papers doesn't always going to mean will walk. What we look for in our "well bred" TWHS are horses that walk from day one, not pace, not rack. Some may be a little swingy when you first put them undersaddle. But after 30-60 days of quality riding and getting them in shape they go to walking. I have no problem with this because IMO you cannot expect a perfect performance on a horse that is not conditioned and has just been started undersaddle.

Also there are trail riders that just don't care what their horse does, they want to get from point a to point b. We breed for TWHS that excel in the show ring AND the trail. That way you have a quality horse that gaits well and you have many options when it comes to what you want to do with them. Our young stock is started in an arena and then they go to the trails, if they can handle our trails then they can handle a show ring Wink

Also many TWHS that are started for the show ring lack many basics in their training. For example a horse is ridden with a hollow back and was never able to learn self carriage. A horse cannot correctly do a flatwalk or runningwalk without rounding their back. Many have to be held together with the reins because they were never given the chance to gait on their own. So right there a horse has been created that cannot gait on their own, now that doesn't mean that they don't have the ability to, they just need to be given the chance. Many don't want to take the time to give them the chance.
« Last Edit: November 11, 2004, 10:17:44 AM by tnwalker32 » Logged
Sherry in CA
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« Reply #14 on: November 11, 2004, 01:38:51 PM »

So, what do you have against a basic step pace?  My husband's walker does this gait (he can do a running walk, but it's not his preferred gait) virtually all the time & he does it for miles without any real exertion.  This is a very athletic horse (not all horses are going to be athletic right off the bat).  This step pace is just as smooth as any running walk I've seen & he covers ground doing it.  And, are you saying that all of your mountain horses do a running walk?  What little I know of mountain horses, is that they don't usually do a running walk....more like a variety of saddle gaits (many step pace).

I also had one of those paso fino's you're talking about and yes, he was hyper, but he too was very athletic.  He could do his corto for hours.

And I won't go into how many miles of mountain trails, etc. that my 23 y.o. peruvian has done during the time I've owned him (since he was 2 years old).  He's arthritic now- from an injury, so I'm working my peruvian mare up to speed (she foaled last spring).  So far, she appears pretty athletic as well.  I agree, there are few walkers (here in Calif. anyway) that do a very natural GROUND COVERING running walk, but I also think that putting the miles & muscle into many will get you there.  I saw a near 17 hand walker this past weekend that does several speeds of head nodding running walk & consistently.  BUT, this horse is owned by a guy who does volunteer park ranger work, which has required miles & time before you can even certify your horse for their program.  I saw this horse several years ago, and he wasn't doing this then.  So, alot of work will help this out for sure.
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