13 year old TWH with some professional training. Ridden in Walking Horse bit and pleasure Simco saddle in round pen and pasture by intermediate level rider.

Question: When we bought our gelding, his gait was good, but we bought him in January, so we didn't get to ride much until spring. Now he wants to pace all the time. He is a little overweight and hadn't been rode much before we bought him. Could these all be factors? He also holds his nose up when he goes. How would you get him to "tuck his head"? Would this help to collect him in his gait? Also, our farrier is used to trimming quarter horses, and I think she trimmed his feet too short in the front. Would this also be a factor?

From Panelist Carol


       Most all of the factors that you are suspecting could cause the horse's gait to deteriorate. To get back on track, first, I reccommend that you work in a small area in a snaffle bit.  Do  lots of lateral bending of the neck and the body  (see the site for info on bending--there is lots of good stuff.  Punch the button "gait conditioning")  Your horse will need to do lots of lateral bending before he can really be expected to do much vertical flexion.  Check your saddle fit, also.  Develop lateral control of your horse to the point that you can shoulder-in him at the flat walk if you need to in order to square him up. 

There are lots of techniques that will help, but it is crucial that you know how to get him in a rounder frame to affect a permanent change.  Go to the site article and start there, with lateral flexion on the ground and just take it step by step from there.  It may seem complicated at first, but just go a step at the time and you'll be walking soon!

Carol Camp Tosh

From Panelist Stella

If the farrier got his feet shorter in front than the rear, that's likely part of the problem...it will shorten the front stride relative to rear, and cause pacing.....but with his nose in the air, his neck is likely being carried ewed, so he's likely hollowing his back, if that's the case...which can also cause pacing...but, that can be either from a bit - but you're saying you use a Walking horse bit, which wouldnt cause that type headset - OR, trying to avoid
the pressure of an ill-fitting saddle. 

You likely have a Simco made for a QH back, and it may be too wide in the front of the tree, running downhill in front (which also causes rider to balance incorrectly, which can
throw a horse off gait,too). Even if your horse is fat, TWH generally have a different shaped back/more wither height, but a more oval rather than full round ribcage that a QH does....so, I'd be checking for pressure points of the saddle, its likely causing him to hollow his back to avoid undue and painful pressure, esp if he's not fit......also, check that
the back of the saddle isnt digging into his loins...

On the feet, your farrier could temporarily "extend" his hoof length in front by shoeing very "full", set slightly forward(to where the natural hoof would normally extend, being they grow in at an angle), but be sure the heels of the shoe are long enough. Or, if there's room to do so in back, take the back feet as short as the fronts are...keep angle natural, make
sure she has not lowered his natural back angles(that can cause pacing too)

Stella Wise

Back to main page
Ask a Trainer