TWH/QH Gelding Used to do running walk, now very trotty!

Tennessee  TWH/QH Cross, 4 years old. Ridden in D ring jointed snaffle and light weight western in passture, trails, quiet roads by intermediate rider.

Question: I own a 4 year old TWH/QH gelding.  I rescued him as a baby, and didn't know much about him except that his mother is a QH.  After we started him under saddle, one day out of the blue this wonderfully smooth running walk magically appeared.  I have since found out his sire is a triple reg. TWH.  My problem is that sometimes he tends to be very trotty.  He has kegs on all 4 since we ride on everything from dirt trails to pavement.  This is the first gaited horse I have ever owned, and I thought he was full QH for a long time.  There are no trainers in my area, so I am on my own.  I have no trouble getting him into the RW, but sometimes he breaks into a trot and nearly jars me out of the saddle.  Also ,and I know he is just anxious to get home, he does much better on the way back.  He tends to stay in gait longer then, and when he does break, it isn't quite as "dramatic".  How can I get him to hold the gait longer?  One more thing. What kind of bit should I be using? !
 All he has ever known is a snaffle, and I want to be as easy on his mouth as possible.  Thank you.

From Panelists Robin

My response to this is keep him in the snaffle it is quite suitable for the horse and horses gait just fine in a snaffle.  His RW has probably appeared due to consistent riding and better muscling in the horse.  In order to build on this just gradually increase the time you keep him in gait and build on that.If the horse does break gait stop them. Ask the horse for the gait and when he answers praise the hell out of him. Not just verbally but by STROKING the neck.Try that and see what happens? Of course your consistancy with
training and praise transfers to the horse in him wanting to please you by holding his gait longer to get  that stroking. I hope this helps! Give it a whirl and see what happens! 

Best to you,


From Panelists Nancy

What a wonderfully nice surprise you had when your horse started gaiting!  He 
is apparently already gaiting quite well.  Just don't ask for too much speed, 
keep a light steadying contact on his mouth and if he breaks into a trot, 
check him down and you can probably recover your rw.  If he works and gaits 
well with the bit you are using, continue using it, or you can go to a curb.  
I like the Tom Thumb style of bits with a snaffle mouthpiece and short, loose 
shanks.  Continue using your hands very carefully and gently and ride with 
your hands low (just slightly above the withers).  The shoes you are using on 
your horse are fine.  Remember, don't ask for more speed than he can handle 
at the rw.  

Nancy Cade

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