Florida, 7 year old fox trotter ridden in  linked snaffle and Fabtron western synthetic saddle in small paddock; pasture; and on trail by advanced beginner.

Question: My 6 year-old gelding does a good flat walk but when asked to increase speed by either kissing or gently touching his sides, he raises his head, hollows his back and
goes straight into a fast pace. He fox trotted when I first got him although he was high strung even then. But now he just goes straight to a pace.

After unsuccessfully trying to get his fox trot back by trying to get him to tuck his nose with the curb bit, I have taken him off the curb and started using a full-cheek linked
snaffle. He gives to the bit well at the walk, but his energy level increases dramatically when whenever he is asked to increase speed. I have been riding him a 100 x 100
paddock and asking him to give to the bit while he is pacing and he seems to slow down into a headshaking fast walk, but I still can't get him to fox trot in the paddock, let alone
on the trail.

We rode with some friends with fox trotters a couple of weeks ago, and he fox trotted great on deep sand trails while he was in a line with fox trotters in front of him. But when he got into the lead, he almost leaped into his high headed, hollow backed pace and tried to take off. When he does that, I make him do hips around or do small circles before we move off again. But I'm really stumped about what to do to try to find his fox trot on hard ground or when he is in the lead.

Thaks for your help.

From Panelist Lee

I think you are on the right track, and that it will just take time to get
him where you want him.  Remember to keep your hands low, to separate them,
and to insist that he keep his head low when he starts to even "think" about
going hollow.  Ask him to nose out a bit, rather than tuck his head so much,
and try using a forward seat when you are pushing him out of the flat walk.
That sometimes helps stretch out the muscles that are needed for the fox
trot.  His doing the gait in deep sand is a sign that he just needs to round
up his back a little more for you on harder surfaces.  Working in the
snaffle and keeping his head and your hands down will get you there

You have made great progress -- keep with it!

Good luck.

Good luck.

Lee Ziegler


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