||Ohio 6 Year old Standardbred ridden in reinsman
little S hackamore and synthetic endurance saddle in arena and roundpen
by experienced rider
Question: I read the post about the Icelandic having a "hitch"
tolt. Well my STB also is having a hitch in his rack on his right
leg. He was gaiting fine, until late November, then one
of the girls at
the barn said he looks sore. He has been seen by a very
equine vet and he said he is not lame, but "ill-gaited."
My horse walks
fine, trots fine, canters fine, but at the rack he looks off.
do this all the time, but not consistently if that makes sense.
takes a few correct steps and then a few incorrect steps, so
he goes in and out of it. VIXL sounds just like what he
does, can you
explain it further please?
From Panelist Lukka
Vixl is when a horse mixes gaits in such a way that the horse tolts/racks,
because of tension it does a mix and it feels like it is jumping an
inch in in
loose air for a split second an then it tolts/racks again. The
is very complicated and I'll spare you an exact explanation, as vixl
But a quick explanation is that the horse is tolting/racking, then
it wants to
go into trot, and takes half a step of trot. But because the
horse does the
transition incorrectly, for a split second it would have to put one
of the hind
legs down on the ground on the same spot as one of the front legs is
As it can not manage to remove the front leg in time, the horse decides
the hind leg in loose air untill it has rearranged where all the legs
can step down with the hind leg. It all happens very fast, and
horses you feel that everything is going crazy under you for a split
It is extremely uncomfortable to sit vixl.
Training vixl out of a horse demands a very careful rider. The
reason for the
vixl is that the horse is tense, and it does not manage to keep the
because the whole topline is tense, at least for the split second.
must be avoided, and crude aids. Reins must be used extremely
(holding them steady, not giving any unnessary clues). The horse
balance by riding it carefully like this for a long time (maybe weeks)
careful way, and do exersises to loose the tension. Very much
care must be
taken when going slow or fast, as that is difficult for a pacy horse,
is the time when the horse that does víxl is most likely to
do so. Do not
loose courage, this is not an easy fault to correct.
So, a horse that does vixl often can just manage the rack/tolt at one
speed to begin with (work on finding the ideal speed for your horse).
get the horse into the tolt/rack, relax and try not to interfere with
horse, so that it can learn to relax a bit in the gait, of course though
much that it gets all on the forehand. It's a thin line you have
there, but every stretch of gait without vixl is an accomplishment.
you can ask the horse to do a bit slower and a bit faster tolt/rack,
but try to
work on success, not failure, in the horse.
Working on releasing the tension at walk is also important, so that
the walk is
not pacy and tense. Do all the things that your horse can do
to improve being
athletic at the walk, for example serpentines, sidestepping, turning
forehand and such things. Allow the horse to drop the neck once
in a while at
the walk and learn to enjoy the relaxation.
It is also good that he trots easily, as he can then relax at the trot.
mix walk and trot training with short episodes of tolt/rack to begin
gradually make the episodes longer, as the horse starts to manage it.
Pacyness and vixl often goes hand in hand, and maybe your horse connects
lateral gait with a racing experience he has had before. Maybe
your horse is
also very pacy in the rack as he's thinking about the fast pace, if
he was a