|Standardbred 9 years old with Professional
Training ridden in snaffle and english saddle in dirt ring, indoor arena
by intermediate-advanced level rider.
Question: I have recently been given the opportunity to retrain a Standardbred pacer. He was retired from the track about 9 months ago and has started under saddle for the past 3 or 4 months. However, he is a free pacer and only trots with great difficulty.
He can trot on a lunge line but has more difficulty with a rider.
We are using trotting
Thank you very much for your help.
From Panelist Stella
I think if you read the sections of this site about conformation, and learn how conformation lends itself towards either being trotty or pacey, you will realize you are doing the horse a tremendous disservice and will create mental anguish trying to force it to do something its body is not built to do well, even if he tries his darndest to please you, but will likely continue to fail at. Gaited horses have elements lending to both the trot and the pace...both lateral and diagonal support systems, and are simply alternating those systems to gait.
Going from one extreme to the other...the pace, where solely a
lateral support system is used...to a pure trot, where strictly a diagonal
support system is used for balance, is something quite different. Accept
the horse for what he is, what breeders spent many generations breeding
for...a good pacer. Let him keep his birthright, not try to make him something
he's not. It is possible to break the pace up somewhat without much trouble
to the horse, or yourself,to make the pace a much smoother ride(to a gaity
pace, true broken pace). But to expect to turn him 180 degrees opposite,
and to what he is not even built to do well at all, is an unrealistic expectation,
and lead to doing most unkind, and most likely unsuccessful and unnecessary
things to a horse. If you MUST trot, buy a horse that trots easily and
naturally....spare this animal, and love it for what it is. They are far
From Panelists Liz
Hi, If it is possible to bring the trot out in this horse it will be
a matter of time and some work on your part. Getting a good relaxed walk
will come first and teach the horse to move with it's head down and lower.
To the point that the back rounds up underneath of you. You will
want to get to the point that the horse will keep it's head lower and the
back higher at a good flat walk and push toward the trot in this frame.
Try this going over ground poles as well. Just remember if the head comes
up and the back hollows out the horse will stiffen and go back into the
pace. For some horses it is a matter of pushing past
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