|Texas 2yr almost 3 TWH
Question: AS I HAVE ONLY OWNED AND TRAINED Q HORSES IN THE
From Panelist Liz
I do not agree with them being rougher undersaddle if driven first.
I believe this to be a very good way to get a young gaited horse started
and Have seen no ill effects unless done incorrectly as with any breed.
I would first understand which of the natural gaits this horse
Yes, you can and should. Your thinking is sound. Nice way to build back end without weighting the horse's young joints.
However, some caveats:
(1) Pulling a cart can stress hocks on a young Walker. Don't over do it. Don't pull too much weight. Avoid a lot of tight circles and soft ground, especially at first. Don't do it too long at one time. And most important...go slow. Lots of dog walking.
(2) Do not expect perfect gaits in a young Walker, whether ridden or driven. Your goal should be for the horse to enjoy going forward. You want, above all to let the horse move and use himself, regardless of gait. Do not penalize off gaits or fast off gaits with punishment e.g. bit pressure. The horse won't know what the problem is and will assume you don't want him to go forward. It will confuse and sour him.
(3) Do not worry about off gaits at this early stage. Gaits are easily taught from the saddle by lightly discouraging off gaits and rewarding correct gait. This requires you to learn the difference. This would be a good time to start...before it matters.
Remember...gait in any gaited horse is a combination of factors in descending order of importance (known as Ranger's Equation):
Gait = genetics + comfort (mental and physical) + conditioning + physical maturity + gait training.
For example...if the horse is immature, is uncomfortable, is ridden only once a week and is untrained for gait, then even the finest genetic Walker will not gait. By punishing him for the wrong gait, all you do is make the horse mentally uncomfortable. You make the equation worse. Don't go there. Gait training should be a positive experience for the horse.
A mature Walker with mediocre genes, but relaxed, in optimal shape (ridden daily for at least one hour) and ridden by an expert, may gait very well.
Think of the Ranger Equation when you work with your Walker in any setting and you won't go astray. We can't do anything about a horse's genes (which are most important), but we do have control over everything else.These "minor" factors, when added together, can make up for a lot of genetic deficiencies.
From Panelist Lee
Whoever told you that about driving gaited horses must not have known much about the history of the TWH -- once upon a time they were most all driven before being ridden, and many were worked to a plow. On a video called " A look into the Past" made by Dr. Bob Womack there is some film of old time TWH that spent their early lives being driven, and none of them are rough riding.
Some of the older trainers used to always drive them before they rode them, because they believed it made their gaits better.
Go ahead and drive your horse -- just try to avoid letting him pace when you do, and do NOT use an overcheck.
From Panelist Nancy
You are very right. The only reason he would be rough under saddle
is if he
From Panelist Bob
I start ALL of my young horses in harness. I use the same D ring snaffle bit that I use when I start them under saddle. I have never found this practice to make their gaits rougher. I have found that by starting them in harness they tend to be much more rounded and there is much less tendency for them to pace..
From Panelist Stella
I agree a certain extent, but it can be corrected; it really depends on your under saddle competence training, and if you are inexperienced with gaited horses, you're likely better off reversing the process, starting under saddle and then going to the cart.
Gaited horses move best if light in the forehand and driving off their
hindquarters, doing this more so than their non-gaited counterparts (except
those at higher levels of dressage). Cart training has a tendency to promote
the horse to work more off the shoulder, chest, general forehand to pull
(getting somewhat strung out behind), and so it can become confusing to
the horse when this is OK in the cart, but not something you want under
saddle. A naturally well-gaited horse that is a "clean slate" and balanced,
can easily be asked to work off the hind end more so with leg and little
forehand dependence under saddle. Once he is "locked in" on the habit of
driving forward off the hindquarters as a habit of movement in gait under
saddle-which includes conditioning the appropriate musculature to perform
properly - they tend to keep this frame when later placed in cart, even
if they do need to use their forehand more-that becomes just "adding" to
The hindquarters are simply already conditioned to "do their job right." It is far more difficult to teach the correct frame initially in the cart without more harshly using overchecks and breeching adjustments that may make training uncomfortable to the horse...not something you want to do ever, but certainly not as an introduction to work...that should be pleasant and not so restrictive. As a "first gaited horse," try the reverse of what you are used to with the QH and you'll have a much easier time reaching your goals of a super smooth riding AND driving horse!
From Panelist Laura
Sounds like you are doing a nice job with your colt. Don't worry too much about gaits while you are driving him. Keep him mostly in a walk and he will build the right muscles for his later gait. The nice thing about driving is that it gets a horse pulling from the front end and pushing from behind - exactly what you want for getting a good gait. Keep up the good work with your horse.
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