Washington, 16 year old TWH ridden in walking horse snaffle and new western for TWH by intermediate rider

Question: First time TWH owner, horse is kind, loving, will go or do anything I ask. Not sure how to ride this type of horse, my other horse is a Quarter Horse. No one in Maine to ask for help. Have taken (Princess) TWH to natural horsemanship clinics with people like Buck Brannaman and Greg Eleil to help her relax and loosen up to make sure there was nothing phyicial. Princess racks, her dog walk is fine, she slow racks and fast racks, canter is wonderful. Question is, Princess has a gait in between her slow and fast rack that looks like a trot on front but a canter behind, very rough to ride. She trots sometimes freely in pasture or in round pen. How can I get her to trot under saddle.

From Panelists Lee

I am not sure what your exact question is --  however, it is entirely likely that this horse will NOT trot under saddle, and as far as her breeding is concerned, this is to be expected.  Many TWH do prefer a rack and do it willingly.  At her age, she is not about to change gears for you -- either mentally or physically.  She has been told all her life that the trot is not allowed with a rider, I doubt that she will suddenly switch gears at this late date. The in between gait you are describing sounds like the "siar" which is not a desirable gait and is not something you want to spend time doing.  Try to avoid it!

As far as getting her to trot with you in the saddle -- if this is really a goal, you would have to do some major retraining.  What may work is to  put her in a regular eggbutt type snaffle, teach her to stretch her head and neck down and forward, bring her body together in semi collection, in a flat walk, and then, preferably on a slight uphill grade, with you sitting a forward seat, ask for the trot with leg pressure.  It might happen.

I think the two of you will probably be happier if you just continue to allow her to rack, however. Good luck with your horse.

Lee Ziegler

From Panelist Laura

It sounds like you have a very nice horse.  When your horse goes into that 
rough gait - either slow her down a little or speed up a little until things 
get smoother.  Don't worry about teaching your horse to trot.  You have a 
gaited horse and they are supposed to do a smooth gait, not trot.  Enjoy what 
you have.


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