|7 year old Standardbred ridden in tom-thumb
pelham and english/huntseat style saddle in indoor & outdoor arenas
by rider very experienced, but not with gaited horses
Question: I have a Standardbred mare, bred to race on the trot. However,
over the last few months, she has developed more of a pace, though she
still trots under saddle. I am
How do I encourage her to pace? And how do I teach her the difference between trot & pace, since she seems to confuse the two gaits sometimes?
I have noticed that when other people ride her, she tends to pace much more. She is 100% sound (since pacing can be sign that she's sore somewhere, I had her checked out by the vet, just to be safe).
Any information or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
From Panelist Alan
On a saddle I'm not quite sure how you would hang them but on a driving harness they are attached to the cruper. If she has trouble with switching gaits this would be a good way to teach her to pace only. If you want her to switch gaits then this should only be done temporarily to teach her and let her get a feel for pacing again. She may not have used those muscles in a while and just needs to be pacing for a while again.
I raced standardbred pacers for about 5 years so feel free to contact me if there is anything else I can help with.
From Panelist Liz
Since this mare was started at the trot and is now showing pace this
tells me she is now starting to carry herself in a hollow backed frame.
This is either due loosing conditioning and losing strength in her back
or is being asked to carry her head in a more up position
Having the pace and trot does indicate that she should be able to achieve some smooth in between gait. The trot being the most rounded back and the pace being the most hollow back you will want to find a happy medium in between to find and develop a smooth gait. Her structure will determine what this may be . It could be a fox-trot, running walk, rack or stepped pace. I recommend not allowing her to pace though or she will just get stronger in that and get weaker in the back and start to put stress on her whole body over time. I would find a person that knows how to identify the smooth gaits and knows how to develop them naturally ( with out going to weighted shoes or bigger bits) and help you figure out what her best smooth gait is and work toward it. I would continue to utilize the trot so she will keep her back strength.
She can be taught to do a trot and to gait separately with different
head sets and body signals. This takes time and patience but is well worth
the effort. I would also recommend going to a different saddle, as
a forward seat saddle will position you to add more pressure to the shoulders
and front quarter of the horse keeping the horse from being able to free
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