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TWH transition in to Dressage

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  • TWH transition in to Dressage

    Hi - I'm looking for some help with a 10 year old TWH gelding - wasn't sure what category this would best fall under, but since my goal with him is to take him to some dressage shows this spring, I thought this would be the best forum to try.

    I need guidance/ resources on evening out his transitions, work on the running walk which can become pacey and I need a little advice on headshaking (the good kind and the bad). Looking for anyone who can point me in the right direction if they have experince with TWH's or know someone who does.

    Thanks!

  • #2
    Lee Zeigler's book Easy Gaited Horses is a must read.

    Do you want to do gaited dressage or teach him to trot and do ' dressage '

    Comment


    • #3
      Are you talking about gaited dressage?
      Horses aren't our whole life, but makes our life whole

      Comment

      • Original Poster

        #4
        Hi - thanks I'll get the book. Gaited dressage - I doubt this horse could trot nor would it be important for me either way.

        He's a good willing horse with gaits that have gotten messed up by bad riding. My goal is to straighten/smooth out the gaits but unfortunately I don't have a lot of experience with gaited horses. We bought him for my boyfriend b/c he's a nice pleasure/trail horse. Although scramble gaited he takes care of his novice rider, so for that he will have a home no matter what. He was in bad condition when we bought him, under weight and badly developed (likely ridden upsidedown and backwards) We talked to the trainer of the guy we bought him from and he said that when he trained him 5+ years ago he was a smooth, nice gaited horse. I'm hoping with some conditioning and better riding I can bring that back, but would like some thoughts on some of what i'm reading off him. Also, when attempting the running walk, which usually falls into a pace, His head bobs latterally - which i'm told is not good. It's supposed to bob up and down but not side to side. But i can't find any information on what's the difference or what to do about it if anything. So any advice would be appreciated.

        Comment


        • #5
          I have been you. Welcome to a curious journey! Where are you? I may be able to point you to an instructor in your area. PM me if you prefer to send it that way.

          Basically- he step paces- left hind lands just before left fore. Now that is a walk per se but the timing is wonky....it should be 1 2 3 4 as it is in any good walk but the horse smooshes the two legs on the same side together...then the other two go...so it ends up being 12 34 12 34
          And it tells me he is tight in his ribs.

          At walk teach him he can trust your hands. Teach him to leg yield, shoulder in, haunches in...he will get looser and stronger over time and may rediscover his walk. Job ONE is that he
          trusts your hands and reaches into contact.

          Comment

          • Original Poster

            #6
            LOL that's good to hear! Down the rabbit hole we go - I'm in Western New York. He's very tight in his ribs. He turns well but quick - I was surprised how well he turned b/c other gaited horse i have ridden have been very stiff - however, he turns quick b/c he's scared - i think he was spured with an uneducated leg. and you hit on another big point - He's very distrustful of your hands, a simple light ask to back up would send his head in the air with a sharp intake of breathe - and usually my horses back off my seat - I can assure you i'm not heavy handed, but he does not understand pressure which is another reason i thought dressage might be a good place for us. Thank you - I will work on all of this. It's nice to hear a gaited person encouraging bending and lateral movement. I do have to admit i never put all of these together as part of the same problem, but now that you mention it, it all makes a great deal of sense. Thank you again!

            Comment

            • Original Poster

              #7
              I do not want to come across as derogatory of gaited horse owners - I know good riders are good riders regardless of their horse or discipline. I hope i didn't offend anyone.

              Comment


              • #8
                Are you terribly far from Denver, PA? Diane Sept is there.
                http://www.connectedriding.com/home/...nia_u.s.a.html

                Many gaited horse peeps do one of two things:
                1. Focus so entirely on The Walks that the horse doesn't much learn how to turn, or canter, or bend in any way. Hey Boy they can walk on with the best of them, but then the rest doesn't get done.

                2. Rush them past their running walk into either a rack or a flying pace or a stepping pace...and then the horse is so strung out and slung out he doesn't really get it that you want that little sliver of a gear in between 3'rd and 4th gear, does that make sense? Many folks on TWHs want to keep up with the rackers and they get their wheels run slap off. You'll find his wheels. I wish I was closer, I'd so be there to point you in a fun new direction.

                ****

                If you can find a regular trottin' horse trainer who will see him as just a horse that was rushed and upset, a horse that needs help at a walk finding his way forward, truly, that's all you need, and all you will need, for a good long while... The walking strides just get bigger and deeper, as you progress from a medium walk to a flat walk to a running walk...and let me tell you...they all walk on a little bit differently. I get to ride my friend's amazing barefoot TWHs that are competitive on the rail and let me tell you, all of their running walks feel different, from horse to horse. It's not like trotting. It's different and every horse has its own feel.

                I have three gaited horses in the pasture right now, anything I can offer to help you, I'm here. I had precious little resources when I dipped my toe into walkers 5 years ago, and OMG I had a lot to learn, but the biggest thing...is that they are JUST horses.

                If you like DVDs Larry Whitesell's are a great place to start.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Just throwing this out here. Years ago, my mom and I visited a friend of hers who lived in Utah. We went on a side trip to visit the friend's adoptive-uncle who raised TWH. He took me trail riding on one of his young horses (and after the fact told me it had only been ridden ONCE before our ride. It behaved perfectly, and apparently that first ride had been six months previously! Talk about a good disposition!!) Anyway, he sent me to ride the horse around his arena for a bit while he saddle up his mount, and specifically said to me, "Don't let her trot." I gave him a quizzical look, (but it's a TWH?) and he said, sure, they'll trot. So....I gathered from that that TROT is among a/some TWH's gaits, just not encouraged or desirable. So it would seem you don't HAVE to do gaited dressage - you can do "regular" dressage - but you'd have to be willing to compromise and allow/teach your TWH to trot. Not inveighing against "gaited dressage," which is fine with me (though I do wonder about lateral work.) Just mentioning what that TWH breeder said.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Haunches in, shoulder in and leg yield can readily be done in a flat walk. They should not be attempted in a running walk.

                    My SSH will readily break to a gorgeous trot if pushed past his running walk. He would never, ever pace. He can zoom downhill, in gait, which is common of trotty walking horses.

                    My TWH will hard pace downhill and hard pace anywhere else he can get away with it, LOL, he very rarely trots, very rarely. He'll pace a damn mile coming for supper. Jerk.

                    They are all unique M&Ms

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      You did not mention what bit you are riding him in; a lot of these horses have had their mouths pretty severely abused with shank bits before they were ready for them, sometimes even (horrifyingly!) with draw reins. You might have better luck developing relaxation for a few months by putting him in something like a curved, sweet-iron "Western" snaffle with copper inlays that encourage a wet mouth, or even a gentle bitless bridle like a Dr. Cook's.

                      Then go out on the trails and walk, walk, walk--dog walk with a correct 4 beat count until he drops his head, relaxes his ribs, swings his back and starts giving you his uniquely TWH huge tracking-up. It probably won't take long if he was originally well-trained; all he needs to do is learn to trust you.

                      Look around for hills, too, that will help him reach down and push off from behind while rounding his back up. Don't ask him to "gait" a lot right now--what he needs is long, slow distance to re-acquire the top line musculature that will ultimately enable him to get it done, all the while reinforcing the correct way of moving. These horses are so incredibly smart you probably won't have to do much more than show him the trail, and he'll get most of it done! If you come back from a ride and he's barely sweaty on his chest and under the saddle, but soaking wet from the dock to the hocks, you're making progress!

                      If he remains very stiff and apprehensive about turning, he's probably "blocked" with contractions somewhere--visit the French School thread and see how we do flexions from the ground, which can be wonderful aids to relaxation and getting rid of those kinds of instinctive compensations.

                      There is NO reason why TWH's can't do brilliant, effortless lateral work--my guy certainly does. They're immensely flexible and can put their legs anywhere they want!

                      Fun project, enjoy him!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Lady Eboshi, you've adopted the French School threads as your very own. Good for you.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Lady Eboshi View Post
                          Look around for hills, too, that will help him reach down and push off from behind while rounding his back up. Don't ask him to "gait" a lot right now--what he needs is long, slow distance to re-acquire the top line musculature that will ultimately enable him to get it done, all the while reinforcing the correct way of moving. These horses are so incredibly smart you probably won't have to do much more than show him the trail, and he'll get most of it done! If you come back from a ride and he's barely sweaty on his chest and under the saddle, but soaking wet from the dock to the hocks, you're making progress!

                          If he remains very stiff and apprehensive about turning, he's probably "blocked" with contractions somewhere--visit the French School thread and see how we do flexions from the ground, which can be wonderful aids to relaxation and getting rid of those kinds of instinctive compensations.

                          There is NO reason why TWH's can't do brilliant, effortless lateral work--my guy certainly does. They're immensely flexible and can put their legs anywhere they want!

                          Fun project, enjoy him!
                          Exactly. Colect, collect, collect... These horses were made to drive from behind. The mechanics of thier gait is from their hind. Any good dressage trainer instructor who would be willing to work with your horse and you would be good. Have fun, great horses...

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            JLM82,

                            You're in for some fun! A wonderful TWH landed in my barn a year ago, when I didn't even know what "gait" means. Wonderful trail horse. He went with his head up, hollow. When I asked him to do something faster than walk it felt horrible.

                            Finally I found out he was step pacing, which doesn't seem bad until it gets fastish. (A lot of the gaited dressage videos show horses step pacing. It takes a lot of watching slow motion videos to see the differences.) Now we're doing flat and running walks (working on finding the distinction between them) and we're racking.
                            Per Anita Howe and Gary Lane we spent months in the ring long and low, untwirling his head, backing, rebuilding his muscles. It worked. He has a tremendous hind end reach underneath me, rather than strung out as he was. He relaxes into roundness easily. And it's showing its value as we go faster.

                            I discovered his rack on the trial. "What the heck was that lovely thing?!" It quickly deteriorated into a pace, but gosh, wow! It's incredibly smooth, with huge power behind and an uplift like trotting in front. I realized a few weeks later as I drove by people in a ring trotting that this %$#@ Yankee doesn't miss trotting at all--and I can do a very good sitting trot!

                            In the ring we're doing a very slow rack, just started maybe a month ago, getting short little bits before falling into a stepping pace. I'd bring him down to a walk and start over. When he got it long enough I'd give him a release, letting him have the reins, or just pop off, which is a huge reward. These guys are so smart they get it quickly.

                            It's pretty amazing to write this since a year ago I was scared to death to ride. I learned that blasted forward seat too well and coupled with my fear had me clamped oto the horse all the time. By slowly releasing my mind and body by spending lots of time reading and watching videos and thinking and riding and riding and riding, I am developing a feel, which as Lady Eboshi wrote, is key to getting those gaits down. It seems with these guys each one is different. It's not as simple as a WTC horse. So you have to find your own way together. Which is the best part.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Sandy yes

                              I am riding a cross right now that trots beautifully!

                              Lemme see if I can post a pic!

                              http://tinypic.com/view.php?pic=28mcpxw&s=6
                              ~~Member of the TB's Rule Clique ~~
                              http://www.off-breed-dressage.blogspot.com/

                              Comment

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