Non-USA, 3 year old Morgan ridden in snaffle and english saddle in round pen  pasture by meduim level rider

Question: I have raised and broken this gelding myself to both harness  and saddle. It was during this training and observation from my wife that this horse did not trot. 

Clancy is very personable and willing. I am very keen to train this horse properly to the gaits which he obviously is predisposed to. One lady, who is experienced with singlefoot
Morgans tells us to basically work in relativly stright lines, no round pen, and keep the shoes off. Is this sound advice and can you give me more specific information on how
to properly train my single foot Morgan gelding?

Regards

Gary 



From Panelist Lee

What you do with the horse is going to depend a lot on what gait he does, of
the several that are possible in gaited Morgans.  You can work him in a
round pen for such things as obedience, although it will probably not help
you develop his singlefoot (for the moment I am assuming his gait is a
saddle or stepped rack, not something else).  If he is already under saddle,
then the round pen is sort of superfluous at this point!   To ask him to do
his gait, simply ride with his head a little raised, with you sitting deep
in your saddle -- I would suggest a dressage or more upright seat all
purpose rather than a hunt seat type saddle, as it will help you sit
straight on him, rather than incline you to a more forward seat.  As for
driving, I would probably not want to do much of it if he is saddling, as
that gait is not very good for pulling/pushing a load.  He is likely to hard
trot with much work under harness, especially if you do not use an
overcheck.

You can put regular shoes on him if he needs them to protect his hooves from
excess wear --at his normal, natural angles, not with long toes and low
heels or caulks or weighted toes.

As far as developing his gait -- ride him at a speed he is comfortable
maintaining his gait, ask on slight downhill inclines if he has any desire
to hard trot, keep his head slightly elevated with light, even contact on
the bit, sit straight and enjoy!  You can work on large circles to teach him
to be supple,  and generally do just about anything with him that you would
do with a non-gaited horse, except tight, small circles in his gait.

Good luck and enjoy your gaited Morgan.

Good luck.

Lee Ziegler



From Panelist Laura

Actually, you can do quite a bit of gait work in a round pen (60 ft diameter works well).  When long-lining, you can see what gait the horse is doing and add a bit of collection to help improve the gait as needed.  I like to see the horse learn to balance on the turns which working in circles or arcs can help.  For trimming, keep the horse to his natural angles (match hoof angles to pastern angles) and if shod, use a light shoe.

One of the things that I find works best with teaching gait to most gaited horses is to loudly praise them when the "ride becomes smooth."  Don't lean forward to pet them since this usually throws them out of gait, but use your voice to let them know they are giving you the right gait.  As your horse gets better at giving you a smooth gait, gradually ask for more speed (slow down if it gets rough).  As for your seat position, most gaited horses work 
better if you sit down (dressage type seat) or even lean back a little.  I think this gets you off their forehand which frees up the front end.  It also encourages them to drop and use the back end better.  

Good luck & enjoy your nice horse.

Laura 

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