QTR/STB Cross 2 year old, how to get gait under saddle?

Question: This is a wonderful 2-year old colt sired by a foundation quarter 
horse and out of a Standardbred pacing mare. The mare does rack. When the 
foal was first born, he would gait out in the pasture. Now that he is being 
saddle broken, his trainer says he will not gait at all. He has the relaxed, 
easy gait of a quarter horse. Is there any way to encourage this horse to 
gait, or would it be a lot of trouble with special shoeing, etc. ? I want to 
keep him because he has a fantastic dispostion, but I would like him to gait 
too.
 
 
 



From Panelist Nancy
.If this colt was gaiting out in pasture, he is able to gait.  Seems 
like your trainer does not know how to get it.  Does he ever hit an ambly 
walk?  If he does, tell your trainer to develop the gait from that.  If he 
doesn't ever do an ambly walk, then the trainer must work to develop it.  At 
this time, he should not allow him to jog or trot, but should concentrate on 
developing the gait.  It might take quite a bit of patient and dedicated 
work, all the while insisting on the walk and what can be derived from it. 
Don't go to any fancy shoeing.  Remember, he didn't need it out in pasture.

Nancy

From Panelists Lee
You are fighting genetics here -- this horse may not be born to
rack. Babies frequently do rack  -- even those of non gaited breeds -- and
lose the ability as they mature.  Of course, at 2 this colt is hardly mature
... but that is another question entirely.

I think to rack him, if he has the ability at all, a different bit might be
indicated ... I am assuming the bit you are using is a normal snaffle
without shanks.  Since this horse needs to raise his head and tighten his
back to rack, that bit is not the best choice.  A regular curb (for which he
is not ready at this age) or even a wonder bit might work better.  Better
would be to leave him alone to mature for a year, do the basics (right,
left, stop) and then teach him to gait if he can learn as a 3 year old.

Good luck.

Lee Ziegler

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