Ohio 20 plus year old TWH ridden in LTellington Jones bit, w/very loose curb/3 fingers and Wide, lightweight Syd Hill Aussie Saddle in/on 60x120 indoor, perimiters of 250 acres of cropland, 50' round pen by rider with 12 years experience.

Question: I have no formal training with TWH's. I rescued this dear old boy last year, based on his lovely face and kind eye. As I was putting about 175 pounds on his skeletony 16.1 frame, I rode him at a walk (only) for an entire year, using P/C sports med boots in back, until his hoofs grew out - they were in terrible shape when I got him. Though the hoof wall has grown in nicely in a year's time, he is pretty flat-soled all around; he is currently barefoot. He is very narrow up front, and in hand he rope walks in the back, with occasional slight interference of left on right. His headset and tailset are lovely; it is obvious that he had training at some time in his life. 

In the arena he tends to get quite "hot"-I believe he was shown also. I have recently begun to let him move out more on the trail, but I don't know how to get him into - and keep him in the comfortable running walk for which TWHs are known. He has his plodding walk;   then a "jog" (which I can sit comfortably); then there is a faster jog which is bumpy and difficult to ride; then he gets into a true lateral pace, which isn't that comfortable either. 

The next speed might be a rack (although honestly, I only saw a rack once at a saddlebred show I went to). And sometimes he settles into that heavenly "proper" gait, but I don't know what I did (if anything) to get him there, and I don't know how to keep him there. He also has a surprisingly nice, level canter - very collected! He has settled down a lot since he got here, and I honestly do not want to get him back into the "hot" showhorse       mode at his age. He looks exquisite now when he parks out to show off; his back is still pretty straight (just a bit of a hay belly!) He has the disposition of a saint, and I just want to love him and use him for trail riding the perimeters of our fields. Please offer me some insight as to signals, cues, that I need to know to communicate with him and the training he's had, and maybe some TWH-specific book titles? 
Thanks so much, 
Joann Van Horn 
Sonny Boy's "mom" for the rest of his life 

From Panelist Theresa

Hello, It sounds like a wonderful end to a questionable beginning for this old guy.   I have several TWH that came to me in similar condition, and now one is in his late 30's(who we also call Sunny Boy) the other in his early 40's.

It sounds like your old guy is truly trying to find out where his feet are. There are two excellent tape series. One is to do with shoeing, angles, and feet. It is by Jake Price and Andrew (I dont know his last name, hes from California) and its shoeing the pleasure and trail walking horse.   The other tape series is by Dianne Gueck. It has a tape regarding bits and bitting, and I believe she also has one on gaits (although it may be part of the bits and bitting). 

When I have a walking horse that cant seem to find his feet I will usually check out selenium/vitE levels and proper shoeing. Then I would move on to proper use of the bit, legs, seat to make sure the horse is not going hollow, but pushing forward with impulsion coming from the back end. (This is imperative to keep consistency in the gait).

If you would like to send me a video tape of you riding, I would be happy to evaluate it and get back to you.  Seems like you have enough going on that it could be a multitude of things, and would be nice to see exactly what you are speaking of since your not sure what the gaits are doing under you. This way we could elaborate more on the need to's without confusing you further.


From Panelist Carol


Thanks for your inquiry and congratulations on your acquisition.  It is impossible to know where to start when we don't really know what gait your horse is doing.  

Please use the resources on this site, or if you still don't know, feel free to mail me a video
snail mail at 905 Hickory Hills Dr., Franklin, Tennessee 37067 and I will be glad to watch it and identify what he is doing and how to fix it. 

Carol Camp Tosh 

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