PostHeaderIcon Fox Trotter Rough Fox Trot-Smooth it Out

A Missosuri Fox Trotter has a lot of options on where to place his feet while moving forward. There might be as many as 12-15 different names for the two forward gaits that are unique to “gaited”horses.

Cisco was born with a bouncy 2nd gait. He was born with a tendency to hard trot. This is the normal trot that non-gaited horses have. We gaited people don’t like that suspension bouncy gait. We gaited people want smooth, non-bouncy.
Bouncy fox trot vs hard trot Discription: If you bounce out of the saddle, you are hard trotting. If you are not thrown up out of the saddle, it is a rough fox trot and might be very close to that suspension out of the saddle. There is a difference between the two but both are uncomfortable.

Fix the hard/rough trot:
1. Slow transition from the first gait into the 2nd gait. Really really slow. In the fox trotter world, we go from flat foot walk to fox trot. Or we might go from regular quarter horse type walk into a fox trot. Or we might go from a dog walk into a fox trot. These are transitions. Cisco is a “what do you want me to do,” horse personality. If I ask for a slow transition upwards, he gives me at least a medium to fast speed. We usually need several upward transitions until my “ask” is light enough for Cisco to be confident to give me slow. Cisco is generous with his giving back to me. Two years practicing along with Healthy Stride farrier work with Tony Vaught has just resulted in a balanced horse with an upcoming slow fox trot. Cisco and I were in a lesson with Erin Patterson yesterday and Cisco fox trotted smooth enough that I was not praying for the command to transition down. This was a miracle day.

2. Practice transitioning to the fox trot. Practice slow transitions upwards and down. We transition from quarter horse walk to dog walk (extended walk in non-gaited horse), to flat foot walk to fox trot, down to flat foot walk, up to canter, down to fox trot (Mucho Difficult). Cisco and I have been doing this for two years and he has taught me a lot about my non verbal signals. Cisco told me just this past winter that he wish my signals would be consistent. He told me a year ago that my non verbal signals were much too “loud”. He throws his head up when my signals displease him. (This gets me yelled at during horsemanship lessons!)

Once you get a smooth fox trot, let your horse keep at it. The more your horse does a smooth fox trot, the more muscle memory builds up in the horse. When the horse gets a little tired, he will find a way to make less effort (smoother) as he tires. There are two theories here. Above is the the let them do it for a while. The other is to reward them when they are doing it right. When you transition down to a stop, rub your horse. Rub a lot so there is no question in your horse’s mind that he did something right!

3. Head position. Every fox trotter who does a fox trot, has the perfect head position in which the perfect fox trot comes forward.

Ava 2014 5 years and over mares. Watch Jody Lynn Jokisch 374 for perfect head position and smooth fox trot. This is a treat

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