PDA

View Full Version : To go gaited or not??? and advice



jnel
Apr. 22, 2008, 10:45 PM
I need some advice. I’m in the process of looking for a horse. I trail ride, hop over logs and stuff like that. I hope to move into some LD’s to get a taste of endurance and see how far I can go. I’m an older, heavier rider (working on the weight loss, its just taking time) with bad knees. I don’t enjoy poky; I want a horse partner that steps out willingly. I was looking at TB crosses and Arab crosses but after a recent lesson I realized I couldn’t trot comfortably for more than 15 minutes or so (either posting or two point), ditto on cantering in 2 point.

Is time to move to a gaited horse? If so what breed? I did get to test ride a TWH and thought his running walk was slow but comfy to ride. A horse doing a regular trot would have left him behind. I also didn’t see how he could keep it up for very long, especially on uneven ground. Did I just have a bad experience? I came across Single-foot horses and they seem awesome. They have a range of speed from 7 mph to 20 mph or more. Has anyone ever seen or ridden one? Info on the single-foot at http://www.shobaonline.com/

SilverMare
Apr. 22, 2008, 11:10 PM
Yes, go for it!

Many gaited horses can really haul their butts. My gelding is gaited and we clocked him around 16mph for his fastest gait. His slower gait is a bit faster than the average trot and he could go on for miles with it.
Unfortunately my boy is retired.

Just watch out for those gaited horses that pace as it's way more uncomfortable than a rough trot.

Some gaited breeds:
Tennessee Walking Horses
Rocky Mountain Horses
Missouri Foxtrotters
Paso Fino
Peruvian Paso

There are dozens of gaited breeds out there, however those seem to be the most popular in my area.

Sithly
Apr. 22, 2008, 11:49 PM
Well, usually you hear people say that trotting horses can't keep up with the gaited horses out on the trail. :D

We've had a couple gaited horses at my barn. The two TN Walkers had running walks that equaled an extended trot/canter for non-gaited horses. The Fox Trotters and Rocky Mtn seemed to have slower gaits -- about average trot speed. This may have just been individual variation, though. My sample size was small.

Here's a video of the coolest gaited horse I've ever seen. http://youtube.com/watch?v=DytqyLjJd0A

sublimequine
Apr. 23, 2008, 12:05 AM
If you're not super-tall, Icelandics seem to be a cool gaited breed. Their tolt is quite fast too (at least from what I've seen).

CoopsZippo
Apr. 23, 2008, 12:46 AM
My hubby's MFT HAULS BUTT.. He blows the doors off my BO's Endurance TB not even breaking a sweat or his gait.

He is as smooth as silk. But Hero is a old fashioned trail bred MFT. The show bred lines are not as smooth.

BaileyTW
Apr. 23, 2008, 12:46 AM
yes, gait speed depends a lot on the individual horse. My TWH that I am selling now has a medium speed gait (ranges from a jog speed to a working trot speed depending on his mood! lol) but his speed is increasing as I train him and get him back into condition for the summer. He knows to canter though also, something not all gaited horses are trained to do, so watch out for that too in your search. My guy sure likes to go though, he just loves going places! It doesn't take much to get him moving.

Oh, I miss trotting, I could trot all day!! Want my guy? lol. Gaited horses sure can be fun though, and going gaited is always worth a try if you are finding a trotting horse to be not quite the right fit for you anymore.

Oh, edited to add, that depending on the horse the stride is so huge at a walk that in an endurance race it may easily make up for lack of speed at a gait. My TWH leaves other horses in the dust when just walking because he has some serious overstride. Its no effort to him to go like that all day, too! So that is something to look for too, if you are wanting an endurance horse.

Rudy
Apr. 23, 2008, 01:23 AM
Oh, edited to add, that depending on the horse the stride is so huge at a walk that in an endurance race it may easily make up for lack of speed at a gait. My TWH leaves other horses in the dust when just walking because he has some serious overstride. Its no effort to him to go like that all day, too! So that is something to look for too, if you are wanting an endurance horse.

I second this! My TWH was a very long and sweepy stride and even when walking really slow, the sheer size of his stride still makes him cover a large amount of ground. Other horses have a hard time keeping up with him on the trails because of his natural stride length, not his speed. Now when asking him to walk out more there is no hope for others to keep up while walking and if I actually ask for speed, other breeds are cantering to keep up.

rideapaso
Apr. 23, 2008, 02:18 AM
I switched from Arabs to a Paso Fino. My little Paso has done some LD's and some 50's. We aren't fast, but I still feel great at the end of a ride. You might want to check out a group on yahoo called gaitedenduranceriders. People on that list ride a variety of gaited horse and could give you some information on the different breeds. I picked the Paso Fino because they are "hot" and very Arab-like in their personalities. Personally, the big TWH walk kills my back. Try as many different gaited breeds as you can until you find one that suits you.

tabula rashah
Apr. 23, 2008, 08:45 AM
My TWH is extemely pokey when I just let him meander about. However, if I take up the reins a bit he'll really walk out. His gait is pretty quick- he can gait along fine with other horses doing a canter, although he has a to die for rocking chair canter too. I would say try some gaited horses- you should definitely be able to find one that you will mesh with

jeano
Apr. 23, 2008, 08:49 AM
My two trail horses are both gaited. Sadie racks, Hawkins is a trotty TWH, meaning his preferred intermediate gait is not the running walk. He and Sadie can both canter. His canter is the classic TWH rocking chair canter, not really a good distance gait. Sadie's canter is smooth as silk, and she can pace, rack, and amble. She also trots but rarely under saddle.

Having said all that, for an endurance horse I would recommend a fox trotter, mostly because their preferred intermediate gait is as advertised, "easy on the horse, easy on the man." Although walkers can and do stay sound when worked for long periods of time in the running walk, more laterally gaited horses like rackers and singlefooters tend to develop back problems IF worked too long in their gait without being worked at intervals in other gaits, preferably a trot if the horse will do it.

The fox trotters were the preferred horse of the Forest Service, because they can deal with rugged terrain, carry a heavy load, are safe and sane, cover a lot of ground, and stay sound while doing their job. And the gait is not something you have to post, its quite sittable.

Lmabernathy
Apr. 23, 2008, 09:04 AM
another recomendation for an MFT. I know you said you are heavier (aren't we all:yes:) MFT are generally the stockiest of the gaited breeds. TWH can be very slightly build-of course there are exceptions. I also like the old foundation type Rockies. They are pretty stocky. I have one of each and they are both perfect boys. My Rocky was once swarmed by yellow jackets and just stood there and quivered because I was riding him. They are known for their great disposition and work ethic.

Lmabernathy
Apr. 23, 2008, 09:09 AM
Oh I forgot, you might be looking for a horse that can rack. They can haul butt at a rack. Many different breeds can do it. That would be their fast gait. The running walk, amble, singlefoot would be their slow gait.

BaileyTW
Apr. 23, 2008, 09:13 AM
My two trail horses are both gaited. Sadie racks, Hawkins is a trotty TWH, meaning his preferred intermediate gait is not the running walk. He and Sadie can both canter. His canter is the classic TWH rocking chair canter, not really a good distance gait. Sadie's canter is smooth as silk, and she can pace, rack, and amble. She also trots but rarely under saddle.

Having said all that, for an endurance horse I would recommend a fox trotter, mostly because their preferred intermediate gait is as advertised, "easy on the horse, easy on the man." Although walkers can and do stay sound when worked for long periods of time in the running walk, more laterally gaited horses like rackers and singlefooters tend to develop back problems IF worked too long in their gait without being worked at intervals in other gaits, preferably a trot if the horse will do it.

The fox trotters were the preferred horse of the Forest Service, because they can deal with rugged terrain, carry a heavy load, are safe and sane, cover a lot of ground, and stay sound while doing their job. And the gait is not something you have to post, its quite sittable.

Yep, yep! A foxtrot is pretty cool! And I second that also about the soundness. because a rack, singlefoot, stepping pace and hard pace are all gaits that the horse has to be ventroflexed (hollow) to be in, it is hard on them to do for distances. a running walk and foxtrot they can be a little more round and it is a much healthier gait for them to hold for distances.
Foxtrotters do seemt o be the more sturdily built ones too.
Some gaited horses are just built strange. like, my TWH has good bone etc, but NO ribcage, so he's super narrow. it looks kind of strange, lol.

But yea, I would say definitely go and try some gaited horses out, see if you like them!

jnel
Apr. 23, 2008, 09:36 AM
Thanks so much for the replies, you all have really helped me to understand some of the finer points of the different gaits. I was getting really worried about buying a horse that wouldn't suit me over the long haul. I'm now going to be cruising all over Northern VA looking for the right MFT. :yes:

Tiempo
Apr. 23, 2008, 09:47 AM
Make sure you test ride a Paso Fino or two :yes:

My guy can really move out, is super willing on the trails and so sure footed and responsive it's like riding a cat :D

I have a bad back and bad hips and can ride him all day :yes:

Look for 'performance' pasos if you want more speed.

Auventera Two
Apr. 23, 2008, 09:58 AM
Definitely try before you buy. I personally cannot handle the back and forth butt sliding movement of gaited breeds. I've ridden walkers, a missouri fox trotter, and one mare that nobody really knows "what" she is. On all three types of horses, the gait is comfortable but after a while, the fact that my butt is sliding back and forth, back and forth, and I can't post, reallllly makes me uncomfortable. I just don't like the feel of it. I like the very distinct 1, 2, 1, 2, 1, 2 of the trot. I like to post and I like to two point and half seat.

I have a really stiff back and hips and while the gaited horse does feel super comfortable, that feeling only lasts for 15 or 20 minutes for me and then I'm irritated with it and want to start posting. I get cramps in the large muscles of my lower back from being shuffled back and forth or front to back in the saddle.

Also another issue I've had with the gaited horses is that I have extremely prominent seat bones. I mean, reallllly prominent. Even sitting on my cushy office chair, I can feel the bones on the seat cushion. It's hard on a horse's back for me to sit for any period of time because of those seat bones. Not to mention, it's hard on my bones. They get very sore if I sit in the saddle too much. For me it is much more comfortable to ride faster than to walk all the time because I need to be able to get up out of the saddle.

So I think it's something you have to try out and make sure you really like it before buying a gaited horse. If there's some way to borrow one for a trail ride and ride for least 1-2 hours or more that would be great. Many people love gaited horses and they are easy on their backs or hips. I guess it just depends on your personal preferences and body.

They definitely boogie down the trail. I've been passed many times by gaited horses on the trail when I'm moving along in a good trot.

Good luck, it sounds like a fun venture. :)

johnnysauntie
Apr. 23, 2008, 10:12 AM
Here's a video of the coolest gaited horse I've ever seen. http://youtube.com/watch?v=DytqyLjJd0A

Holy cats, lookit that guy move! :eek:

A gal in our barn has two TWH and a slew of achy joints and bad knees. She rides them bareback, at that fantastic running walk, and swears by them, they are the only horses she can tolerate riding.

jnel
Apr. 23, 2008, 10:16 AM
A2- that is exactly what I'm afraid of happening! My problem is trying to find some place where I can go out and ride these types of horses for a long trail ride. You've made a really good point! I've been posting and 2 pointing my whole riding life so I don't know how I'll handle gaiting over a long distance.

GallopingGrape
Apr. 23, 2008, 10:18 AM
I have a gaited Spotted Saddle horse that I LOVE, but he walks, trots, racks and canters. I prefer the rack, but like another poster said, he can't (and souldn't) hold that gait for very long. Find yourself an easy gaiting horse, you'll never go back to a trot!!

Kim

psidio
Apr. 23, 2008, 10:19 AM
The MFT can make a wonderful trail horse. However, when it comes to Endurance, on average, they will take longer to pulse down at vet checks. I ride Endurance on both an Arab and a MFT. The MFT does fine at LD, (except the 2007 LD from Hell at the Old Dominion), but 50 miles takes him over 11 hours every time. My Arab is usually in the 6-7 hour range on 50's.

I actually am more sore after riding the MFT for 25 or 50 miles than the Arab. It is probably due to not moving my knees and legs as much on the MFT. Kind of like sitting in a chair for a long time.

We have several Endurance riders in the Central Region on Tennessee Walking horses. They do not top 10 very often, but finish almost every ride just fine. We have a few Pasos out there too. At a ride I recently managed, probably 15-20 of the 75 entries were gaited horses. (plus about a half dozen Appaloosas and Paints. One or two AQHA. 2 Saddlebreds, and the rest were those dish faced rascals)

Rather than a particular gaited breed, I would recommend you look for an individual horse of any gaited breed whose conformation, build and attitude show some Endurance ability.

Paul N. Sidio
To Finish is to Win

Auventera Two
Apr. 23, 2008, 10:54 AM
I actually am more sore after riding the MFT for 25 or 50 miles than the Arab. It is probably due to not moving my knees and legs as much on the MFT. Kind of like sitting in a chair for a long time.

That's how I have felt too. I get more sore from just sitting there than actively posting and changing positions frequently.

When I rode the missouri fox trotter, I noticed that the lady had a very slick seat in her saddle and my butt skiied back and forth across the seat. The saddle didn't seem too big, but the motion of the horse just slid me all over the place. My butt bones got really sore from that.

Steve Smith's 100 mile horse is a missouri fox trotter, so obviously the gait works very well for him. :) I think it's one of those things you just really have to try before you decide.

lindat
Apr. 23, 2008, 11:12 AM
I have to say that I was never really a fan of gaited horses for a personal horse. However, my sister just got a TWH gelding in that could possibly change my mind. First of all he is gorgeous! Looks more like a warm blood than how I typically picture a TWH. NICE head, black, almost 16 hands, extremely smooth and FAST! He has a little more "get-up-and-go" than some trail riders want but will relax and slow down if encouraged to do so. So I guess you would have to ride a few and see what you think. I know they certainly have a LOYAL following!!!!

jazzrider
Apr. 23, 2008, 11:34 AM
I encourage you not to look at just one gaited breed. Individual horses can be so different. I got my TWH last year (didn't ride gaited before that), and while we were looking I was amazed at the variety of body types and movement ("feel") the breed has. Like others have said, my TWH is anything but pokey. My QH has to trot (occasionally lope) to keep up with his flat walk. He can go forever without breaking a sweat at the flat walk, which is big. My TWH is the more fine build, but many we looked at were much more stocky.

My husband has a 17.1 Spotted Saddle Horse that most people think is a draft cross. He can walk, trot, pace, rack or canter. Whatever you prefer. He's a very versatile trail horse.

When we were looking, there weren't a lot of gaited horses for sale in the NVA area (we ended up buying in the Charlottesville area). If you limit your search to one breed, you may have slim pickens!

jeano
Apr. 23, 2008, 12:38 PM
Agree that there's a lot of individual variation in the gaited breeds, but one thing I notice, both from personal observation and Utube videos, is that most of them seem very capable of packing us larger riders around. If you check out trail rides involving gaited horses you will find a lot of folks like me, generously endowed in the poundage department, middle aged, creaky joints. My narrow walker has no trouble toting my 180 pounds around all day, and my racking horse could probably handle (heck I know she HAS handled) a much heftier rider using heavier tack. While neither of my horses has been to a real LD or endurance ride, they have comfortably handled little 18-20 mile rides barefoot. They are sound--Sadie got clonked on a back leg once and that leg got hot and tender, two days rest and some cold water several times a day and she was fine....These horses for the most part were bred and used back in the woods, up in the hills, not pampered. They are tough and typically have very kind dispositions--this from someone who used to own stock type horses and couldnt see what the fuss was about with gaited-ness. Well, now I know.

gabz
Apr. 24, 2008, 05:21 PM
Yes, when shopping, be sure to try each and every horse out.

When I was searching for a MFT, I checked more than a couple that had NO gait in them because they were owned by non-gaited horse people who didn't know HOW to help them gait.

I wanted a MFT because I hope to be able to do some cow work - which is why the MFT was originally developed. I would say that an MFT is more likely to be 5 gaited than a TWH...
And. gaited horses can be "pacey" or "trotty"... there are ways to help them achieve the correct gait through riding and through hoof trimming.

Ask around and find some VERY good and trusted MFT breeders/ trainers if that's what you want. Same for any other gaited breed.

AND... there ARE gaited Baskir Curly horses - the hypo-allergenic horse!! There's a gal in Vermont ? or New Hampshire, can't remember - that raises them.

scrtwh
Apr. 24, 2008, 05:50 PM
There has been some very good advice about gaited trail horses. The best one being try a lot of the different breeds out and then try a lot of different individuals within your breed of choice. The TWH has the ability to do nine different pure gaits and an infinite number of bastardized versions of them. The best way to describe the gaits are to visualize two beat diagonal (trot) to two beat lateral(pace), the four beat "gaiting horses" range within those two parameters. MFT's have a broken diagonal gait, the racking horses have a broken lateral gait.

I currently have two TWH's. Both are foundation bred, so stout, big boned, deep wide chest, with that gorgeous saddle horse neck and head. My boy is much more comfortable to ride for longer distances because his overstride and reach are not as long as my mares. He has a nice little saddle gait but much shorter strided, it minimizes movement in the saddle. My mare, is a hoot to ride for shorter, less than three hours, rides, she can walk a hole in the ground, not much can keep up with her, she has a 42" overstride that thrusts you forward with every stride and is very exhilerating. But, the butt gets sore because of her impressive movement, I ride her in a Heather Moffit Pheonix, which is uber comfortable and makes the "longer rides much more fun. so ... have fun and welcome to the world of gaited horses. :yes:

sunridge1
Apr. 24, 2008, 08:42 PM
I'm an ASB owner but have owned some very old style TWH's. Last spring I bought my 49 year old non-horsey DH a 4 year old TWH that is wonderful for him. He's not the stout type I like however DH loves him. They are a great breed just be careful of the pacey types. Very uncomfortable ride. Good luck in your search.

Mary