Young Paso Fino won't walk

Florida : Paso Fino 2 1/2 years Gelding I have owned  8 months  Lungeing with halter with fleece cover in a Western reining saddle in Paddock by  Intermediate Rider

Question: My gelding has only had 3 sessions under saddle.  The trainer has not actually sat on the horse's back yet.  Just on/off, lifting leg, mounting from of-side.  My horse, Cory, is lungeing nicely (althought stubborn initially), saddles like a pro, stands untied while being saddled, moving forward nicely.  However today, trainer  began driving him with long reins and Cory would not give in.  After the initial adjustment period he was making nice soft turns, doing real good.  BUT then he wouldn't walk, he just either trotted or cortoed.  The trainer continued to cue him to walk, when Cory wouldn't walk, trainer made him move out faster.  By the time the session was over, Cory was blowing and had raw spots on his nose where halter had rubbed him.  My question, having never owned a Paso Fino before, is this; are there any limitations to the ability to WALK for a Paso Fino?  Does their brio prevent them to settle down to a calm walk as they do in the paddock or while being led?  This may sound crazy but I seem to remember several advertisements for Paso Finos mentioning "walks calmly" indicating that many do not or can not do this.  Thanks for your time and advice on this issue,

From Panelists  Laura

My first thought on this horse is that he is only 2 1/2 years old.  Is he mature enough to be doing the amount of work asked of him?  Are his work sessions short (10 - 15 min) and kind?  Is he being worked past his attention span & stamina level?  You have many years before you with this horse.  Pushing him too fast to start with isn't going to do him any favors later on in life.  Most gaited horses take longer to mature than the trotting breeds 
so you need to go a little slower when they are as young as your colt.  You could even wait until this colt is 3 or 4 yrs old to start him under saddle.  What's the big hurry? 

You said he had only 3 sessions so far with your trainer.  Perhaps you are expecting too much too soon?  Don't push your trainer for fast results.  After only 3 sessions, it is a little much to expect a colt to know exactly what you want.  As far as brio goes, yes, some horses have more fire than others and can be harder to settle down.  Usually, you need to get them calm & relaxed to get them to walk.   If every session with this colt should turn 
into a battle, I am pretty sure he will learn to fight with people and won't settle down and walk.  You will have more success with this baby if you always try to end the work sessions on a good note with some simple thing he does well. 


From Panelists Nancy

 My question, having never owned a Paso Fino before, is this; are there any limitations to the ability to WALK for a Paso Fino?  Does their brio prevent them to settle down to a calm walk as they do in the paddock or while being led? 

My answer to your question is that if the horse can walk in the pasture, he  can also walk under saddle while being ridden.  From what you say, I believe  your horse is getting excited and probably frightened, and he will not calm  down by being made to go faster.  The first thing he needs to learn is to be calm and relaxed in his work - and then he will walk.  His training is just beginning and this is a very important time in his education and it is very important that he learn the right things.  To walk, he must be relaxed.  Good 
luck with your young horse.

Nancy Cade 

From Panelists Robin

Your horse seems to be willing and intelligent but it appears as this horses' first trainer was incomplete in relating to the horse that forward motion is at the walk,FIRST. I think learning to walk off is as important as whoa.  Now I know it appears as if you could never take the enge off a Paso by lunging them but is important that you ask for the same  commands on the lunge and daily handling.  You will have to go back and "retrain" him that we walk first and then the horse accelerates when asked. All this as to be executed when they have been worked enough to become willing to cooperate.

 I have a mare that was the same way when I started handling her.  She wanted to Blow Out of the stall when you got her out.  I retrained her by going back to the basics. Now when handled by others who let her"get away" with running out of the stall I have to retrain again.  Some things are not set in stone in their horse minds.  Which brings me to another suggestionon perhaps you should slow down on the progression in training.  Go slower
because this is still a very young horse. When I have my mare under saddle we always start out slow(because she would like to just largo if permitted. The trick is to get the horse to please you at the walk and then he will be more interested in pleasing you as his training ,muscularity and mind progress to a higher capacity.  Just be patient,understanding and firm. The horse has to relax and understand before you prodeed.  Unfortunately you
will have to go back and retrain the horse because it was done incompletely from the beginning regarding the walk. Give it a try! 

My Best,


From Panelists Christine

My question, having never owned a Paso Fino before, is this; are there any limitations to the ability to WALK for a Paso Fino?  

Back up a few steps with your horse. If he can't walk relaxed while being grounddriven I would suggest the trainer missed a few steps. I like grounddriving as it teaches horses about going forward and turning, but for me it is very important that the horses are quiet and understand what is asked of them every step of the way. I want horse to know that when they are unsure of what is asked they can stop and ask for a clearer signal. Sounds
like he might have tried that when he was started to lunge, but was labeled as "stubborn". 
With the ground driving I would add another person to his head and have him led quietly at a flatfooted walk to give him the security he needs. If he is unsure of the lines tying one in a figure eight around his body, first in the stall ad then leading him with it quietly, might help
him get more comf ortable. Feeding him will help him breathe. I bet his head is high when he is ground driven, watch that he can keep his head low in order not to trigger his flight instinct. I would start with only one line, to give him the chance to step away from the line touching his hindquarters of they frighten him. Lots of stopping and reassuring, watching that he can drop his head and breathe, should help him become more comfortable with the
process.  Is it important for him to flat walk? I think so, if that is what you want him to do when you ride him it is an important step in his training.

Good luck

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