Indiana looking for a foxtrotter youngster

Question: I have owned several Foxtrotter over the past ten years, and some have gaited and some have not. I am currently looking to purchase a weanling, and wonder what
criteria to use to judge the youngsters future gait potential. 

How much emphasis should be placed on a good pasture foxtrot, and if I am allowed to see/ride the dam, how do I tell whether I am looking at a "natural" gaited animal or one who has had a lot of professional training to achieve it? I was planning on looking for one down in Mo at some of the well known farms, but have heard that a lot of them have such excellent trainers, that they can almost make a quarter horse gait..... I have no access to such professionals in my area, and NEED something natural. Please advise! 
Thank you.

From Panelist Liz

For myself when looking to purchase a young gaited horse not started or a foal, I look for them to show gait now while being out with the herd. This is not to say a foal that is out in the pasture and trotting only will not fox trot. It may just need more training and
support to get it and hold. 

But for me I like to see the gait being picked up at liberty. I've seen many young fox trotters( more so than Walkers) out in the field just doing a fine job of fox trotting on their own, and one that does that would be a good choice. They don't have to hit the fox trot every and all the time but you should be seeing it at least once in a while.
Good luck in your search.


From Panelist Bob

The most important thing to me when evaluating a young Fox Trotter is that I want to see some gait and rhythm when they are loose in the pasture. I want to see the same thing in the parents. I don't mind a young horse having several gaits, but I feel that the fox trot should be the horse's "gait of choice". I would want to see both parents ridden and handled, that way I can see the gait AND I can evaluate disposition. 

I would want to see a lot of foundation horses up close in the pedigree. The more "modern" lines of MFTs tend to be more lateral. The main thing that I encounter in my clinics and workshops is gaiting problems. This breed didn't use to be this way! There 
are still breeders that are breeding for natural Fox Trotting horses, you just have to look to find them.

Bob Blackwell

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