||Non-USA Standardbred ridden in snaffle, mild
curb or short-shanked hackamore
with a western and/or english saddle in indoor and outdoor
arena and dyke by an experienced rider
Question: I own a wonderful Standardbred ex-pacer gelding who
is doing very well at learning and maintaining the trot and canter.
However, due to my back problems I would like to pass our current horse
on to my daughters and purchase another pacing Standardbred and train it
to do a running walk or stepping pace. Is this possible? How
would I go about doing this? Would the horse be able to maintain
the smooth gait for
long trail rides? Would it be also be able to learn the canter?
Are there any books explaining the training methods and if so, where
would I buy it? Thank you!
From Panelist Annette
You would have your work cut out for you to retrain a pacing Standardbred
do the running walk. It would be easier to train one to do the stepped
but still a project if he is a hard pacer to start, which is what is
preferred for the track. I am not saying it is not possible, only that
would take great patience, time and effort, with no guarentee of sucess.
Even if you do teach it to do an intermediate four beat gait instead
pace, the problem with pacey horses in all of the gaited breeds is
tendency to revert to the pace when out of condition, when tired, or
downhill grades. Pacey horses in general tend not to hold a smooth
the parameters necessary for a good trail horse, distance, time and
And, if the horse is a determined pacer, it will not canter even at
much less under saddle.
You would be better off purchasing a horse of one of the breeds that
to do an intermediate 4 beat gait from the start, and there are several
choose from, Tennessee Walker, Icelandic, Mountain Horse, Foxtrotter,
Mangalara Marcha, Peruvian Paso or Paso Fino. I am not aware of any
that would be of assistance to you in this effort, except perhaps Brenda
Imus' books. Lee Ziegler also has material in article form, some of
believe can be found on this site, with information on working pacey
into even timing.
Having thrown a bucket of cold water over you with the above, let me
that my very first gaited horse was a 25 year old Standardbred, retired
the track when he was about 5, given to me with saddle and bridle.
He was a
wonderful horse, so I fully understand your love of Standardbreds.
horses I have since found that I personally feel are the closest to
Laddie was in personality are the Mountain Horses, which is exactly
is now my breed. I found that if I sat on Laddie just right, and held
body just right, and my hands just right, and got his head set just
all of a sudden I would be moving along rapidly, with no bounce! Honestly,
for a while I thought he was the only horse in the world that did this,
had come out of a dressage background and thought horses could only
trot, canter. I discovered that it was probable that he'd been retired
the track because he would not hold the pace at the speeds required
to be a
winner, because he was instead a natural single footer. They are out
in the Standardbred breed, and in fact, it was one of them, Allen F-1,
retired from the pacing track in disgrace, that sired what people came
realize were the smoothest horses to grace the hills of Tennessee,
why he was subsequently designated as the foundation stallion for the
Tennessee Walking Horse Association. So, if you are determined to have
Standardbred, because of their wonderful temperament, which I fully
understand, then learn everything you can about gait, and how to identify
it, and try to find one of those that was probably slow on the track,
because he could not pace fast enough to be really fast at it, and
more likely then to be a natural single footer. There is a tape out
Eadie called The Running Walk of the Tennessee Walking Horse where
a pacing Standardbred race, and one of the horses, Interior Decorator,
breaks out of the pace on the home stretch when the horses are being
for speed. As the horse is leaving the track afterwards, he is shown
motion, and it is very clear then, as Eldon points out, that the reason
broke gait is because he was not pacing, he was a pure single footer,
can be clearly seen in the slow motion section of the tape. You might
to get that tape, so that you would be able to see what a single footing
Standardbred would look like moving. I also have a tape which I call
Crash Course in Gait, that shows intermediate 4 beat gaits in slow
so you can get a good handle on what they look like, and there are
out there as well. Robin Ratliff and Ted Saare also have tapes on gait
identification that could be of help to you.
Annette L. Gerhardt
From Panelists Laura
You could probably teach this horse to gait, but it might be easier
to buy a horse already set in their gaits rather than trying to correct
might be a very tough pacing problem. Since you haven't yet purchased
horse, I would suggest you look for one of the other gaited breeds
already has a smooth running walk and a nice canter. If you are
about price, look for an unregistered or older horse that may carry
price tag. Good luck.