Michigan, 4 year old  Rocky Mountain Horse

Question: I am looking to buy a Rocky Mountain Horse. He is 4 yrs old. Only been ridden a year. With some training from the breeder. I don't know how much. The women that owns him now just trail rides him. He is tall and lanky and needs to fill out alot. My question is: He is young and his gait felt rough to me when I road him, not what I am use to on my other gaited horses, which do have alot riding under their belts. How do I know if in time and alot of riding his gait will improve and smooth out. I have never purchased a gaited horse this young. He does have a lot of action in front. He has a great personality and is very willing to please. Also he was gaiting when I road him and I did not bounce, but there was alot of chop. Any help you can give would be appreciated.

Thanks, Kelly

From Panelist Lee

No matter what his age, if this horse is doing the correct gait for his breed, he should be smooth to ride.  If  he is rough, he is going to take some retraining into a better version of his gait, as well as miles before he smooths out, in my opinion. How is he shod? or not?  that can have something to do with a choppy step, as can conformation that inclines to high, short action.  Did you have a vet check? sometimes soundness issues will also create a choppy gait.

If the choppy gait is due to conformation or soundness issues, it is probably not going to smooth out. If it is due to shoeing issues, it may improve with different hoof care.  There are a number of gaits possible for Rocky Mountain horses that are not as smooth as their true gait, but which don't exactly bounce the rider.  Are you certain he was doing the true
Rocky Mountain Gait?

So, I guess the short answer is that you don't really know if he will smooth out in time until you find the root cause of the uncomfortable gait.

Lee Ziegler


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