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Author Topic: Riding a gaited horse?  (Read 2187 times)
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wildflower4757
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« on: December 11, 2008, 01:21:22 AM »

Hi again. I have another newbie question. I have never ridden a gaited horse before. I know there is a difference in how you ride a gaited horse, but what is it exactly that you are supposed to do differently? What are you supposed to be feeling for as far as motion? Is it easy to learn for a novice rider? Or does it matter if you are just going to be "walking" most of the time on trails? Thanks - Susan
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JeneJen
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« Reply #1 on: December 11, 2008, 09:04:34 AM »

Hi! Well lets see, the key for me was loosening up my hips and lower back.  At least with the RMH/KMSH the motion during a gait is very similar to the motion of walking, almost kind of do a figure 8 w/your hips?.  When they hit a gait, I was taught to shift my weight back a bit.  This enables the horse to "lift" in the front and really hit a lick.

They are MUCH easier for a novice to ride.  They don't have the bone jarring movement of a trot.  It's hard to think about what you're doing when you're just trying not to bounce out of the saddle,lol.  
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wildflower4757
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« Reply #2 on: December 21, 2008, 04:50:31 PM »

Are you supposed to post to a gait or do you just stay seated in the saddle moving your hips in a figure 8 motion?
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Reindance
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« Reply #3 on: December 21, 2008, 05:57:56 PM »

No posting, it would be almost impossible to post if your horse is gaiting right.  I never heard of the figure 8thing but I have never taken lessons either so that might be why.  I rode cow horses for years till I finally got my first gaited horse about8 or 9 years ago...and really there was no "getting used to" anything, you just knew when the horse was gaiting and when it was not.  It is such a smooth ride I would liken it to riding a bicycle as far as the bouncing and posting thing goes, there is no way that you would even want to post.  There are some "gaited" horses out there that can give you a bumpy ride, but they just are not all that smooth, and they cannot help it, that is the way they are put together.  I suggest that you get out there on your gaited horse with some other gaited riders and have them gait with you and show you how to get your horse to get into it if he needs some help.  They can see what is going on with you and your horses movement.  That is the only way that you will be able to personally feel, and know what it is like.  
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RaeMorrill
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« Reply #4 on: December 25, 2008, 05:19:44 PM »

I agree, it would be nearly impossible to post on a gaited horse. My Pasos trot sometimes - even that is so smooth it is not necessary to post. I didn't learn to ride on a gaited horse, but on one that is well gaited there is nothing to it. You just sit there pretty much. No bouncing or jarring.
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NoBite
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« Reply #5 on: January 04, 2009, 10:06:39 AM »

wildflower4757 - you ask an excellent question! Loretta (my wife) and I transitioned from QH's to gaited horses 4+ years ago and I am just now feeling pretty good about being able to help my horse get and stay in gait. I guess formal lessons could have sped up that process.  :Smiley

I think it is an art and a feel you get for your horse. Lots of reading and watching tapes (Liz Graves, for example) will help your mind get around what should be happening. But, you will need to develop your own feel for it. Perhaps if I would have started with gaited horses from the get-go, I'd feel differently, but I think riding gaited horses is sort of like a graduate course compared to riding stock horses. And, I am not diminishing the skill it takes to ride a stock horse! No, not meaning that at all!!

I ride a KMSH who can do a nice saddle rack. He can also do a nice stepping pace, extended walk, dog walk, canter and probably several other combo-gaits that I haven't identified! The trick is to be able to balance yourself in such a way that it makes it possible/easy for him to go into the gait you ask/dream for.

Have fun! (Hint: mechanical aids are not the solutions.)

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kychic
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« Reply #6 on: February 27, 2009, 11:48:04 PM »

I've been riding and successfully showing gaited horses for well over 25 years. The concept of having a straight verticle line from your ear to elbow to hip to ankle is the same as for any other discipline. You will see all sorts of silly things on gaited horses: you see a lot of professional walking horse trainers lean over the horse's neck looking like they're gonna fall forward, and a lot of mountain horse folks riding with their feet way out in front of them. I've tried both methods, and they do absolutely nothing but make you look silly and put you way out of balance. You'll also see folks holding their reins in all sorts of funky positions, none of which do anything to help the horse. The proof is in the pudding: Just try those obserd positions bareback and see what it does. You'll immediately want to ride in the proper position, and once you're in proper position, your horse will resume proper gaiting. You need to have an unbroken line from your elbow to your hand through the reins to the bit/horse's mouth. Let your body be flexible yet absorb the motion. You don't need to sit stiff. Don't rock in the canter; you're horse should be making the motion, not you. Basically, if you read Sally Swift's Centered Riding and Janie Savoie's Cross Training, you'll get the picture as far as proper riding skill. These are Hunter and Dressage trainers, so keep in mind that anything Hunter requires a shorter stirrup, which you will not use. Your seat should be the same as any western or dressage rider. Use this information, learn to feel for your horse's proper gaits, and you will truly enjoy riding. You should also consult Saddle Seat Equitation by Helen Crabtree. There's a special section on Walking Seat Equitation. No, you don't have to be an equitation rider to enjoy your horse, but learning the concepts sure help!
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NoBite
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« Reply #7 on: March 01, 2009, 01:07:33 PM »

kychic - yours was probably the most concise, well-written post on this subject I've read in a long time! Had I been aware of the clinicians you mentioned, my learning curve would have been shorter!

We attended a Liz Graves clinic a couple of years ago. She is in agreement with everything you said. The part about the horse is responsible for the movement is a little jewel that took me a long time to realize!

There is, of course, another way of riding. Some saddles, notably Steele saddles and Watson saddles, put you in more of a chair position. It doesn't have to be exaggerated, although often you do see that. In that position, if you have a racking horse or a horse that will rack, the horse is more or less forced into the rack. In fact, that style of riding is exactly one of forcing the horse to assume a certain frame. IMO, and in the opinion of the folks you mentioned, this is not helpful to the horse in the long run, although I will admit that it is comfortable to the rider. I am not advocating for this style of riding, just mentioning this because this style of riding is popular. David Genadek has a term for it, which escapes my mind right now.

For me, I'd rather ride in harmony with my horse. That, too, is very comfortable when I achieve it. I think it is actually a more versatile way to ride over a variety of terrain.
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kychic
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« Reply #8 on: March 01, 2009, 10:36:18 PM »

Thanks for your comment. I'm no expert myself, but I know what I know, and I'm happy to share it with others.

In general, I'm not big on "clinicians" but those who I mentioned truly know their stuff (Savoie is the only author & clinician. The other two are older ladies who had trained and instructed since the '30s or '40s and authored some books.) I love Jane Savoie because she is a wonderful trainer and when she gives a clinic she doesn't have anything to sell but her knowledge!

Myself, I learned by riding my THW's bareback for countless hours as a kid. These trainers I mentioned confirmed what I already thought I knew. Now, there's a feeling of accomplishment! But now I ride my Mountain horses w/ my trooper saddle. I've heard so many people say that trooper and cutback saddles force the rider to sit with their feet forward. They don't. 
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saddlesor
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« Reply #9 on: March 02, 2009, 12:09:57 AM »

                   Just had to also say : Kychic - good post
    , Many years ago --when I got my 1st gaited horse  ,  I was given Helen Crabtrees book - sure did help .  Still have that book , There is also a book sold right here that I plan to buy . Check it out in the banners .  I don't think the author is trying to sell tack or a saddle - just trying to help you ride a gaited horse . I kinda like that .
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pasolady
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« Reply #10 on: March 03, 2009, 12:03:43 AM »

The first time I rode my Peruvian I thought it felt like I was sitting on a waterbed and someone on the other side of the bed was making waves.  It was like the most wonderful flow all thru my body.

I learned to ride on a Q-horse as a kid - western saddle, etc.  I haven't changed my seat and my Peruvian saddle puts my weight somewhat back on my butt and my legs slightly forward.  I've never ridden him in a bit.  He just collects himself and does his thing.  I ride with a loose rein, a bit of leg pressure and neck-reining for turns. 

If I pick up my energy a bit, lean sliightly forward, he'll go into a canter and we do that just for the fun of it.  A canter on a Peruvian is like riding a rocking horse!

Don't worry about doing everything absolutely right - just have fun - a gaited horse is a gift from God.
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naturelover56
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« Reply #11 on: March 03, 2009, 04:19:58 PM »

Hi, I'm a newbie, (love to say that at 52!), and have gotten my first spotted saddlebred. And FINALLY have read the answer that wildflower asked, that makes sense, how do I ride her? The man I bought her from had his feet straight out in front of him, and kept saying, hold her back, but give her the gas. What the **** does that mean? Well, I see the answer here, ride like you are supposed to! I have not had much fun, and have contacted a lady to come out and help me. So, if I understand all I have read here, just ride correctly and she will go into her gait? I also plan on finding the books mentioned, as I love to read anything I can get my hands on. He also had her in a bit that has a long 6" shanks and chain strap, is that right? Thanks for everything...
« Last Edit: March 03, 2009, 04:30:39 PM by naturelover56 » Logged
kychic
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« Reply #12 on: March 04, 2009, 12:30:36 AM »

Wow! Sounds like you have a beautiful horse, Naturelover56. A 6" shank will probably work just fine if that's what she's used to. But is that what you're used to? How quiet are your hands? You may want to consider something with a 4" shank. Or, if you want, go with a dee ring or full cheek snaffle. I actually do my daily riding in either a full cheek snaffle, a jr cowhorse bit (4" shanks), or just a halter. Really, it's whatever you and your horse are comfortable with. I don't like to see anything too long or extreme. Don't let anyone tell you that you need a "gaited" bit, either. Use what the two of you are happy with. Plus, keep in mind it's entirely possible that the bit that works for one rider will not work for another rider on the same horse. And, like most other horse owners, you'll maybe even go through many bits before you find "the" one.

Just enjoy your horse. As I always say, you don't have to be a perfect equitation rider to enjoy your horse, but just work on the basic concepts to help you and your horse enjoy each other.

As for the instruction you got, it sounds like he was trying to teach you to collect her. Collection, or in gaited terms, containment because gaited horses don't collect well. Your Spotted ASB probably trots in addition to rack, so you can collect her at the trot, and "collect"/contain her at the rack. I think Saddle Seat Equitation by Helen Crabtree is a great reference that will likely help you to at least become acquainted with what's right. You can't read a book and become a horseman/woman, but it will at least give you some guidance. Centered Riding by Sally Swift, and Cross Training by Jane Savoie are also wonderful reads that will give you some guidance on the principles of movement with your horse, feeling what's she's doing, what you should do, etc. The last two I mentioned are not really geared to gaited horses per se, just all horses.

Once upon a time I was a newbie with a gaited horse, who had non-horsey parents, living in the land of Quarter horses. Boy, did we ever have a time sifting through all the bologna just to find the right info. Years of going through the school of hard knocks. I'm still learning today. This is why I like to help others, so they can cut through the garbage and enjoy their horses!  Smiley
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naturelover56
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« Reply #13 on: March 06, 2009, 10:12:34 AM »

 Smiley I had the fellow come out and give me some tips. What a difference a day makes! I was all wrong in how I was trying to do it all. He had her head real high, with the reins pulled back fairly far. She looked like she was collected, and trotting really smoothly. Now my turn. After walking her for the most part, to get the feel of the tighter reins and RELAXING, I tried the trot. Wow, that felt different and great. He said to practice walking and some trotting, she tends to like to trot, and we will advance from there. Does all this sound correct? That is all I want to do is do it correctly for her, and of course me too. He suggested, a shorter shank 4", and a little narrower too. Thanks for the lovely advice! naturelover56
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horsedreamin
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« Reply #14 on: May 06, 2009, 05:39:39 PM »

I have to say that I'm a newbie to gaited horses, too.  I own two QHs, but the next one is going to be gaited!  I have LOTS of questions, but think I have a wonderful new place to get the answers. 

THANKS!  This was one of the first questions I had.  Smiley
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