||Colorado 15 year old Missouri Fox Trotter
ridden in Smooth snaffle and English Hunter saddle by riders from Intermed-Advanced
Question: I have Morgans and obtained this horse. I do not know
the cues for the different gaits. I would like to start him again.
I have lunged him and can get a walk,
pace, canter, but I do not know how to get the trot or the rack.
If I know the cues then I can see what he knows. He is stubborn and
had dumped a child. I think he will be
great but needs some work before I can put his 10 yr old green rider/owner
back on him.
From Panelist Lee
First the good news --he is gaited. Now the bad news, if he does
on the longe line (in a large circle) and instead paces, he is not
be easy to get into a fox trot. Forget the rack, that is not a gait
Trotters perform and there is no real reason to try to cue him for
problem is not your cues, the problem is his body use that is making
do a fox trot or hard trot as his intemediate gait.
As for cues -- it depends on what he was taught. There are no
for the fox trot. One that is sometimes used in MO is to poke
the horse on
the withers on one side with your finger -- sometimes this works.
often it does not. It certainly does not work on horses that are very
and there is no way you can apply it on the longe.
To ride him, put him in something besides a forward seat saddle -- a
dressage saddle if you have one, even a western saddle, will put you
better position to develop his gaits. The snaffle is fine, if
accepting it. If not, you might want to try a Kimberwicke, no
first goal with this horse, IMO, would be to establish a good flat
walk -- a
fast reaching ordinary walk, not the same walk you are familiar with
Morgans. (about 5-6mph walk is what you are aiming for).
That is how you
can get rid of the pace and then advance to a fox trot. Ask him
his head and neck, work into the bit, and then go forward on contact,
the lower head. See "Cure that Pace" for details.
At the same time, you need to teach this horse to hard trot -- at least
the longe. Start with two low cavalletiis --- one at 12
one at 6 on the
circle. Set them about middle height, 8 inches or so. Ask
him to work over
them on the longe, in a large circle with *NO* sidereins, using either
snaffle or a longeing cavesson. He will hit his legs a
bunch of times, but
will eventually start to trot a couple of steps over them (and probably
back to a pace in between). Ask him to move with his head lowered by
light downward vibrations on the longe line. Add a couple of
cavallettis at 3 and 9, so that he has little space to pace between
poles. Alternately, you can set up a row of 4 cavallettis in a straight
and work him over them on the longe.
As you are working on the flat walk, under saddle, walk him over poles
scattered in various places around the arena. Two grouped together
least 5 feet apart) in one place, 3 in another, a single one
else. Keep his head and neck lowered, and his speed above an
as you ride over these poles. Find the locations where the arena
slight uphill grade and ask him for more speed there, still keeping
low and his contact even with the bit, allowing his nose to come in
toward vertical. Practice, practice practice, until he will move
consistently in an even flat walk when you ask him to speed out of
ordinary walk (same cues as any horse, squeeze with legs to ask for
When the flat walk is established and he has started hard trotting well
the longe, ask him to speed up in the flat walk, still keeping his
neck low, taking a little stronger contact on the bit. He should
a slow fox trot. From there, it is only a case of building his
keeping him from pacing.