Side-Stepping Gaited Mare

Arkansas, Gaited  7 year old Mare.I just bought her, she has no professional training, I ride her in a western saddle in the pasture, Rider has almost no experiance.

Question: I am having a real hard time controlling this 7 year old.
She has only been rode a few times in the last 3 years and she doesn't want to do what you want her to do. She starts side-stepping and I don't know how to stop her. She is a very gentle horse as long as you're not ridding her. I don't want to hit her but some people have told me that sometimes you have to.

From Panelists  Nancy Cade 

You state that you have no riding experience.  First, you need to know if your horse knows anything.  If you have no riding knowledge and your horse doesn't know anything, the two of you are apt to have a very difficult time, even though she is of a gentle nature.  Have you seen her ridden?  If you have and she went well, then you know that she has had some nice training.  If you have not seen her ridden, then I would advise you to take her to a trainer or experienced rider and let them ride her and find out what she knows or does not know.  If she has had some training and goes well, then you should get some riding instruction from an experienced gaited rider and have them help you learn to ride her correctly. 

If she has not had any training, judging from the way she goes, then I would advise you to take her to someone who trains flat shod gaited horses and have her get some training and you could get some training from them also.  You and your horse will be partners so you need to understand how to communicate with her.  Don't be discouraged.  I'm sure she's a very nice and honest horse and the two of you will become good buddies.  It does take work - and that is true with every horse that anyone trains.  At first we are asking our horses to do things that they have absolutely no knowledge of.  They were not born with saddles and bridles on.  So we need to learn in order to teach them what we want.  It is fun and very rewarding.

Nancy Cade  

From Panelists Laura

It sounds like you need to get some help in training this horse.  I would highly recommend that you take her to a local trainer and take some riding lessons on your new horse after she has had some work.  You don't need to hit her, it will probably just make your problems worse.  She needs to be shown what to do by someone who knows how to teach her.


From Panelists Christine

It sounds like you might be "overhorsed". It is a difficult and potentially dangerous situation if you are not very experienced and your horse is not ridden regularly. I wonder if there is a good instructor in your area  who can help you and someone who can ride your horse to teach him to listen to your cues. Sidestepping and not standing still are often signs of
discomfort, I would have the saddlefit checked on this horse and make sure he had his teeth done. 

Riding is a tricky thing, you have to spend many hours in the saddle to become a competent rider. Even with a well trained horse you need to learn the cues. I like to think of a Mac Truck. Those trucks drive very well on the road, they are perfectly obedient and while I know how to drive a pick-up truck, I am sure if I got into a Mac Truck I could not even get it off the lot. And it would not be the truck's fault! I am glad you are not following the advice to get after the horse, I can guarantee you it wouldn't help.
Good luck

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