Archive for June, 2004
Gaited horses need to be able to relax. This is way more important in a gaited horse than a non gaited horse. A non gaited horse can pretty much trot even though they are nervous and upset.
Most of the horses were very pacy. One of the horses was very nervous and upset all the time. She had a pretty green rider who was nervous and upset too. He rode with a bridle the first day and he hung on to the reins. The 2nd day, he rode in the halter and they practiced him letting the reins go loose and him relaxing. After that happened, the gait came out. This was a Rocky Mtn horse.
The other pacey horses got to work over poles. The riders became aware of how many steps it took before the horse started to pace again. They stopped at that point and went back over the poles. One woman couldln’t tell when her horse started to pace, so she took a lot longer to get her horse to go into a fox trot. Another one got a nice fox trot for about half the length of the arena after dealing with the poles.
JR is now a trotty horse. He was the only “trotty” horse in the clinic. The secret to stopping that is to do a manuever found in dressage. We trot along the wall and when he starts hard trotting, I asked his hindquarters to step into the center of the arena, but kept his forequarter on the rail. They call this, hindquarters in. The key to this is that you have to keep going the same speed. It works like a charm. Now he has become so smooth that I am doubting my ability to figure out whether or not it’s a fox trot as opposed to a running walk. I feel the little fox trotter bumps back there…just barely.
We also worked on a cue to make them lower their head. Lowering their head makes them calm. Now when the horse gets upset, we can cue them to lower that head which should help keep them relaxed and able to gait.