Illinois 4 year old Tenn. Walking Horse with Professional Training. Ridden in Walking Horse bit and Western saddle in Lot and trails by experienced rider.

Question: Hello
I have a TWH gelding that I bought alittle over a year ago.  He has a wonderful flat walk and a good running walk but he has a tendency to be pacey at times.  I have resorted back to just flat walking thinking he needs time to get more collected.  I am wondering if there is anything else I can do.  I have had a time with him since I bought him--he was so scared and nervous with Everything after I brought him home.  But, most of that is gone(after tons of carrots, apples and PATIENCE).  He is really a beautiful horse and learns quickly.  Thanks, Debbie

From Panelist Theresa

There are a few things you can do for your pacey horse.
Depending on conformation and riding style its difficult to know what is the best solution. The first solutions I give are for conformation, the last is for riding.

The most natural way is slow down and take it easy. This may help or may not when you accelerate your gait. So much depends on the conformation of your horse.

When I have pacey horse that conformationally are pacey, I will work them over cavellettis, ground poles , or grass seed rows (but im sure not everyone has grass seed rows in their back yard  :o)   ) The cavelettis need to be spaced about 1.5  feet apart give or take a little. He should be able to dog walk over them without and interference of the poles. You may need to shorten or lengthen depending in his natural stride.  Next increase your speed and with that increase the poles by about 4-6 inches. When he can go through without interference from the poles, you can speed up again. You may need to lengthen a small amount again. This will force your horse to lift rather than swing his hind feet changing the footfall pattern. The easiest way and quickest way would be to add weight and toe length on the front feet only. Keep the back feet bare and shorter in the toe.  This will slow down and create lift in the front end, both working to break apart the pace.  The problem with this quick fix is that if you are inadvertantly asking the horse to pace, he may go on and  eventually pace with this setup, and compound your problem.

If the problem is rider or tack  induced, there are several things to check on.
1) is your bit long shanked or severe? The higher the horses head, the more
likely to pace.
2)Are your hands held high?
3)Is your seat too perched ? too forward?
4)Is the horse properly on the bit, so you can square her up?
5) Saddle pinching anywhere?
All these areas need to be addressed.  In consideration of these items, maybe you could take a couple lessons to identify any problems you may be inducing, and get the feedback necessary for "rider error". 

Best of luck with your boy.



Back to main page
Ask a Trainer