|Washington 3 1/2 year old Tenn. Walker
ridden in Tom Thumb with Western saddle in Pasture by a Beginner.
Question: This is my first TW and I don't know how to cue him into his gaits. How do I do that? I have ridden dressage and hunt seat with quarter horses and Thoroughbreds but, this is so different. I live way out in the country so I'm trying to teach myself. Do you know of any beginner TW books or videos on the market? Also, I've always ridden English. Are walkers mainly ridden Western style?
From Panelists Darla
Does your horse gait at all? They can be ridden any style you prefer. Mostly
western or Saddleseat. I would need more information to help you. You can
contact me you want to get more into this. There is
a book called Gaits of Gold that would help you some. If you have a strong
gaited TWH it should just go into the gait naturally. Try a light contact
with the mouth and lifting a little to support the head then at the same time
cue with your legs to move forward. You should find the gait there. Darla
From Panelist Nancy
You have ridden dressage. Remember how you asked your horse to
do an extended walk? That's just about what you will do to ask your
horse to go into gait. Sit down on the saddle - with your legs and
seat ask your horse to move on a bit more from a flat walk - hold him steady
and straight with the reins, but keep him stretched out, relaxed and extended.
Work on a stretched rein. At first, just ask for a little - always
working from a
As for riding Western or English - it doesn't matter. Remember, good riding is the same whether you are in an English or Western saddle.
Good luck - and I'm guessing that you'll soon be sailing along on your gaited horse (and that's what it will feel like!!).
From Panelist Laura
This is a tough question to answer, Walking Horses can do many different gaits both smooth & bouncy - without knowing what gaits your horse is currently doing, it is very hard to tell you how to ask for a flat/running walk. Since your horse is only 3 1/2 yrs old, you should probably concentrate on getting him well-broke. Teach him to give to the bit, teach him to collect, and do a lot of riding in a walk. Whenever you speed up slightly and the horse feels smooth, praise and pet him. If he gets rough, either slow him down until he is smoother, or ride him in rough ground/high weeds until the gait smooths out.
A lot of people ride gaited horses english. However, this is generally saddleseat and not a forward or hunt seat. There are some people now riding gaited horses in a dressage saddle which allows you to sit down more than an all purpose or jumping type of saddle. If you have a dressage saddle which fits your horse, you might want to try that. Don't over-collect your horse. Most TWH do best with their nose out a little.
There are several good tapes available now. Catalogs from National Bridle Shop & World Champion carry these tapes.
From Panelists Lee
First it would probably be a good idea for you to figure out what gaits
Success with cues for gait depend a lot on what the horse knows.
Assuming to begin with that you are riding in a snaffle? Take light
That is about it, if the horse does a flat walk and running walk.
If he does some other gait, you will have to ask him to use his body
In the case that he does either of these things, check out the archives