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A Gaited Arabian?

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  • A Gaited Arabian?

    Got our little Arab gelding into training yesterday, Day One after a six-month vacation. Yes, he was stubborn at first, but then he settled down and worked like the trooper he is.

    However -- trainer has our boy in a walk when she says to me, "What is he doing? Is he walking?"

    And I say, "Sort of. Looks like he's doing a running walk."

    This was a very smooth, very quick running walk. As my trainer said, you could put a cup of tea between his ears and it wouldn't spill.

    Now, this boy has a jaw-rattling trot ... so ... what is up? Never heard of a gaited Arabian ... though we know nothing of our little guy's history. Bought him at the end of the season last year because he is a good bomb-proof ride for DH.

    He is not purebred Arabian, so maybe he is a cross with some type of gaited horse?

    DH would LOVE that smooth gait if we can reproduce it on cue. Thoughts?

    Edited to add: I did not mean put a teacup between his ears. She said you could HOLD a tea cup and it wouldn't spill.
    Last edited by King's Ransom; Jun. 23, 2011, 09:17 PM. Reason: Making sense.

  • #2
    My first thought was wondering if he is full Arabian - as in you know his parents/he has papers.

    He very well could be a gaited breed cross. I have known quite a few gaited breed crosses that gait, especially the running walk.

    One pony at a place I rode was old as the hills, and bought when he was old as the hills. We had the vet out before and were never quite sure if he was gaited or a bit off...he trotted sometimes, but not all the time, sometimes it looked more like a running walk. This was especially true for the kids that did not have as much leg.


    • #3
      We once owned a purebred APHA registered paint gelding that racked. It's possible, just a rare occurance.


      • #4
        When I was a kid I could get my Arabian to amble. Of course, the rest of my family had five gaited ASBs and I wanted one too. Almost any horse can be trained to amble or rack. How easy it will be depends on how much lateral genetics they have. There are many many breeds who have lateral genetics, including QH, Appy and Morgan to name a few.

        If you want this one to amble, just keep his head raised, and help him to adjust his timing. He will learn from repetition. Rythm Beads or working him on a hard surface where he can hear his footfalls will help. Also, riding him with other gaited horses will help as he will probably try to immitate what he hears.


        • #5
          My sister owned a papered Arab mare that definitely had a smooth running walk. She was awesome to ride!



          • #6
            Gaitedness in PB Arabians is not unheard of, just uncommon. I had one that had a full blown rack to him. Could rack all day and night. No one is breeding for gaited arabians therfor the instances of gaited arabians are low. You will also find Morgans that rack or running walk naturally as well. Again not unheard of, just uncommon.


            • Original Poster

              My trainer is coming back today, I will share your responses with her. If we could get our little Rocky to do that running walk, DH would be ecstatic. His back is not the greatest anymore, and we were, in fact, considering giving Rocky over to me as a trail horse and looking for a gaited horse for DH. This would be tragic, though, as DH and Little Rock are incredibly bonded!


              • #8
                I've known the occasional quarter horse that 'singlefooted' as we used to say.

                According to the book the Virginia Horse, early TB race horses in England were often gaited- they'd gait to the post, gallop the race, and then gait on back to wherever.

                So to me, it stands to reason that even a purebred Arabian might occasionally turn up with a 'gaiting' gene.


                • #9
                  there is one where I board and yep, she racks!
                  Little Star Chihuahua Rescue
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                  • #10
                    Read this book:


                    You Kin Do It, Chile: (You Can Do It, Child) (Paperback)
                    by Maxwell Dickinson

                    Excerpts can be read on Amazon - select Saddlebred as the search term, and you'll read about Arabian stallion Bazleyd winning a National Championship Arabian title at the Tennessee State Fair, then several days later, going in the Saddlebred Championships for a third place, and after that, the Tennessee Walker division. He gaited properly in all three classes according to the author.

                    Obviously this was long ago, when registration was not so strict a requirement, but the old man who trained this horse and many others, could put a rack or a running walk on nearly anything.

                    I've always liked this story since I first read it in an Arabian breed magazine, and you can read a substantial part of the good stuff in the "look inside" function.
                    "I couldn't fix your brakes, so I made your horn louder."


                    • #11
                      Bazleyd was just one of several early to mid-20th century Arabians who gaited. Kellogg in CA had some of his stallions trained to gait, too. I'm not sure if they were horses who showed a tendency to gait on their own, though.
                      You have to have experiences to gain experience.

                      1998 Morgan mare Mythic Feronia "More Valley Girl Than Girl Scout!"


                      • #12
                        As others have replied, this happens, and in purebreds. I've heard it's more common in older bloodlines, but that's just the shedrow gossip. I'm sure it happens more than people realize, too, and they either don't notice, or encourage a more regular WTC rather than seeking to develop the gait.

                        IMO there is a difference between a running walk and a rack, although this is often blurred both physically and linguistically. But for me to understand what your horse is doing I need to know if s/he feels like she is speeding up (walking faster and faster) or if you feel a "break" into a gait that is not a trot. The footfall pattern is slightly different and the running walk is essentially an extended flat walk, that normally as the speed increases you will notice an increase in overstride and a pendulum-like compensating up and down motion in the head and neck. My arab is capable of moving out into a nice flat walk, but over 5-5.5mph will break into a trot. No running walk.

                        A rack, which is really a family of gaits and goes by many names is often smoother, in the sense that there isn't the big swinging motion of a RW. There may be no overstride at all, all the way to the hopping in place type movement of a Paso Fino's show paso corto. My arab has offered a rack, but only in very steep downhill terrain, or a few times when very excited and ventro-flexed. I have not made any effort to develop it in him.

                        I'm a big advocate of the oft underused voice aid. Horses respond well to it, and this isn't something you're going to be doing in a hunter ring or dressage test. Teach him "trot" and something else for rack. I've used "step out" only b/c I think I heard someone else use it before and "rack' just sounds silly to me.

                        There are a lot of whacky ideas out there about how to encourage gait, so good luck sorting through that! I'm no expert, so I can't tell you what to do or not. Just be kind and sensible and have fun with your gaited arab!
                        An auto-save saved my post.

                        I might be a cylon


                        • Original Poster

                          Trainer just left, and we talked about this but -- right now still working on a few other issues - like standing STILL until asked to move, and leaving the herd without losing little horsey mind. Rocky got a "B" for his work today.

                          Trainer has a little background with gaited horses from her university days, so she is going to talk to some of her contacts in that world. As noted earlier, if Rocky could give DH that smooth running walk ... well ... it would certainly be an added bonus. DH is 65 and new to horses and Rocky's trot will shake your teeth out if you're not so hot at posting!

                          This little horse is sure a joy, and always full of surprises. He adores DH so ... wouldn't surprise me one bit if he just decided to learn to gait so DH would have a smoother ride! ;-)


                          • #14
                            If his head is still and steady it isn't a running walk. He may be racking or saddle gaiting, though.

                            And the trainer needs only know that they want to encourage the gait, and discourage the trot to develop whatever gait that is, really. It's about that simple.


                            • #15
                              gaited Arabians

                              Gaited Arabians do exist. Still. Some of the old Crabbet lines ----Skronek(?) and some Raffles bred horses would gait. They used to have gaited classes for the Arabians at the Arabian shows.


                              • #16
                                Before he passed away, an old-timer I worked for said he knew a trainer several years ago that could train any breed of horse to rack. We'd laugh together imagining his 18 hh Percheron racking away on a trail (a horse that would rather plow through bushes than go around or over them.)

                                OP if you post a video somewhere, some of the gaited folks could tell you if he's racking
                                If wishes were horses then beggars would ride...
                                DLA: Draft Lovers Anonymous
                                Originally posted by talkofthetown
                                As in, the majikal butterfly-fahting gypsy vanners.


                                • Original Poster

                                  I was thinking the video idea is a great one. Trainer is coming back Friday so I will try to get some video to post.


                                  • #18
                                    Lee Ziegler (RIP), one of the better North American gaited horse trainers, has written that just about any horse can be taught to rack. It won't be a "show winning" gait but will be a slow, comfortable "trail gait." This can be done without the use of running Ws or other "dramatic gear." It won't take much time on Google to find her method.

                                    A soft gait, or "4th gear," would have been a valuable asset to a rider in the Age of Horsepower. It was the rise of good roads, which permitted the large scale use of wheeled vehicles, that put the "gaited horse" off to side of the transport equation. In places where such roads were rare (particularly rural North and South America) they continued to be part of the system of personal transport into the mid-20th Century.

                                    I'm not at all surprised that the odd Arabian will show a "4th Gear." I doubt that most Arabian fanciers would welcome that, however.

                                    Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão


                                    • #19
                                      Not too long ago (ok, 100 or 200 years ago when people actually rode ) riding horses with a smooth gait were preferred.

                                      I have heard of gaited Arabians, and considering the lineage a 'riding horse' for a few hundred and thousand years, makes perfect sense.


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by Beverley View Post
                                        I've known the occasional quarter horse that 'singlefooted' as we used to say.

                                        According to the book the Virginia Horse, early TB race horses in England were often gaited- they'd gait to the post, gallop the race, and then gait on back to wherever.

                                        So to me, it stands to reason that even a purebred Arabian might occasionally turn up with a 'gaiting' gene.
                                        I once had an Appy mare that used to "singlefoot". She was the best bareback horse ever!
                                        Groom to trainer: "Where's the glamour? You promised me glamour!"