Washington 3 year old 3/4 Peruvian Paso ridden in  Argentine Snaffle with Endurance in  Round Pen 

Question: Cocho is 3/4 Peruvian Paso, 1/4 Hackney.  When we purchased him he was untrained, but we saw him gaiting in hand and in the pasture.  Since I brought him home, he has not gaited.  He trots with a very high lift to front feet, and termino, but it is a trot.  I have only been able to get him to gait under saddle when he is extremely agitated because other horses are leaving him behind--then he will collect enough to do a little bit of gaiting!  He is just three years old, I am riding him lightly on trails, about 1 hr a day.  Does he need to build up muscles more in order to gait?  A lot of the riding that we do on those hourly evening rides is up and down hill, on the theory that it will build muscle and help him round his back and get hind end under him.  He was just shod, angles are 55 in front, 57 in back.  Concho is 14 hands high, has good confirmation.  HELP!

From Panelists Lee
This horse is a youngster, and probably does lack some muscle
development that would allow him to gait better.  However, since he is part
non-gaited (the Hackney may have once been a gaited breed, but that was
about 1600!)  his main problem is that he does not want to carry himself in
a gaited frame. To help him do something besides trot, you are going to have
to teach him to carry his head high and to tighten the base of his neck
(just before the withers)..  This is not easy to do in an Argentine
snaffle -- it is easier in a regular curb or even a Kimberwicke.  Ride him
downhill, putting your weight back in the saddle (no forward seat) at a
walk -- then ask him for speed, keeping his head high, your contact with his
mouth even and high, slighlty shifting your weight from side to side in the
saddle.  Insist on speed, even though you have contact with his mouth, being
sure to keep his head high and his neck tight.  You should get some sort of
stepping pace gait -- which can eventually be turned into a rack.

It is a misunderstanding to say that he gaits when he collects -- he gaits
when he develops tension in his back and uses it in the opposite position of
true collection.  So, don't do this too often, and be sure to let him walk
slowly with a loose rein and low head in between gait work.

Good luck,

Lee Ziegler

From Panelists Darla
Take it slow.  If you found the gait you have a good fouondation to work 
with.  Just keep him in gait as long as you can and when he breaks gait let 
him know you do not want him to.  Be firm.  Reward him when he goes back into 
gait.  Keep him in and push him a little to stay in and go faster.  When he 
breaks let him know you do not want him to do that and when he goes back in 
gait reward him.  It takes a lot of patience and time.  But he will stay 
longer each time especially if you reward him with a goo neck rug and praise. 
Good luck 

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