KMSHA very trotty, what differances in training from TWH? 

Wisconsin,  kmsha almost 3 year old filly, started in a western saddle with snaffle. Ridden in a small pasture by an advanced beginner.

Question: I bought my kmsha filly as a foal with much more hope than experience, but was assured by the seller that she was gaited.  Brought her home at three months old and raised her in a pasture with trotting horses for the first year.  I have never actually seen her gait.  We are now starting her under saddle and she is doing very nicely except she doesn't gait.  We are living in a geographic area where expert help is not readily available .  I have since gotten a beautifully gaited RMH mare and by riding them together I occassionally feel that I am getting a hint of the beginnings of gait ( maybe wishful thinking) but I must again stress my inexperience. 

I have recently been able to enlist the aid of a capable horse trainer with some limited experience with Tennessee Walkers.  My questions are:  Will the trainers experince with TWH apply to my  KMSHA mare or are there going to be differences we should know about?  Since she is a very trotty rather than  pacey horse how should I have her trimmed and/or shod?She is a nice horse and we would like to have her certified if at all possible so any pointers you can think of would be helpful.

From Panelists Laura

First, I think you are doing the right thing by riding your filly with your Rocky mare who is gaiting.  They do watch & learn from each other.  I used to pony gaited colts with an arab and noticed the arab was watching the colts (they were very gaity) and he got smoother and developed some nice overreach.  In your case, I hope the filly watches your mare and tries to match her stride. 

I think that your TWH trainer should be able to help you if your trainer is familiar with converting a trot into some type of 4-beat gait (usually a rack, running walk or saddle gait).  Typical shoeing involves leaving the front feet bare and putting a wide web keg shoe or toe weight shoe on the hinds.  The hind angles are a little lower with leaving a little longer toe (don't deviate very far from natural angles).  The front feet are kept short. 
 The angle depends on where your filly breaks naturally.  This encourages the horse to swing his back end more.  The headset should be fairly high for a good rack. (you should work on teaching the horse a light to medium collection)

When your horse is consistently going well (and fairly fast) in a 4-beat gait, then you need to either pull the shoes or put plain kegs on all around.  Certification will not allow partial shoeing (just fronts or just hinds) or a shoe other than a plain keg. 

You should be ready to certify your horse when she can gait either barefoot or in keg shoes and the gait is consistent.  For your video, work your horse where the ground is a little hard so they can hear the 4-beat.  Follow the certification video instructions to the letter and don't skip the order or any parts of the taping.  Do a few practice tapings to get you and your helpers in sinc.  Try to have 4 people to do a taping.  One to ride the 
horse, one to hold the horse while you pick up the feet, one to operate the video camera, and one to read the instruction sheet out loud so you get it right.  If you only have 3 people to help, the person who holds the horse can read the instruction sheet.  Be sure to have anything else that needs to be mailed in with the video already taken care of before you send the tape (and make a back-up copy in case it gets lost).  The certification isn't that hard - the most important thing is to be sure the horse is gaiting with a good, solid 4-beat gait. 

Good Luck!


From Panalists Robin

It is my opinion that your filly is gaited.  She just might not be exihibiting the gait until she is truly under saddle and is given the opportunity to build coordination and strength with the weight of a rider. Then through a slow progression that leads to increased endurance and balance your mare should come around nicely.  I beleive your choice of a trainer with TWH experience is your best bet.  Hopefully they will be under the impression that gaited horses "evolve" both physically and mentally into well gaited individuals but it takes patience and wet saddle blanket time.  And in essence that should be stressed in every bred,the horse lets a well informed trainer "know" where it is and how fast it's training should progress.  They get a "feel" from the horse.

       As to your question about how she should be shod,go with her natural angle and a keg shoe.  Work more on the horses confidence and physical condition .Just remember a "shoe" won't put the gait on the horse,patience and hard work will.Nurture and encourage your mare,if she was breed for gait,it's in there.  It might take time(perhaps a year if not less) to get there but when it does come around,it will be the best because your horse was brought there with no short cuts and just good solid conditioning and training.  

Best of  Luck,


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