Idaho 5 year old TWH ridden in Parelli halter, and a bridle and snaffle bit with Western, bareback pad, dressage saddles in roundpen and pasture and hills. by Experianced Rider

Question: When he was young he would trot when I lunged him, then I read gaits of gold and the other book and they said not to let him, so he hasnt since then.  Then it said that
to let him walk with his head out and relaxed and so we did and he is very relaxed.  It said to canter uphills and we did.  He can do a bunch of gaits, which I read one of your
responses and that is Ok, but you said I need to know which one I want.  So I will do that this year.  I can ride him bridless and he is always relaxed. I dont have to hang on
him at all.  My question is should I bring him in and collect him, I am very confused on this.  I have no one up here with a Walker that I can ask.  I dont want to start hanging on his face. 

We are on second level Parelli and I love it.  I thought I couldnt train a horse to come this
far, but we have made it.  I have never trained a horse before.  So I need help with this.  If you could explain what you think I should do I would really appreciate it. 

Thank you very much.
Peggy


From Panelists Nancy

Hi Peggy,

You don't need to collect him.  If you don't want to collect him - don't.  He  can do his running walk stretched out and let down - or collected.  You can  work him both ways, let down or collected.  I like to teach my horses to go  either way.  That way you can collect them if you wish, or let them stretch  out and relax.  They can cover a lot of ground that way and it would be less tiring.

Nancy Cade



From Panelists Lee

Question: When he was young he would trot when I lunged him,then I read gaits of gold and the other book and they said not to let him, so he hasnt since then...

Actually, it won't hurt him to trot on the longe line, and may even help if the horse is naturally pacey to allow him to trot from time to time, when you want the gait.

 Then it said that to let him walk with his head out and relaxed and so we did and he is very relaxed.

Well, that is a first step ...

It said to canter uphills and we did. 

Usually cantering up hill is a good thing for a horse with a pace problem, not quite as necessary for one that is inclined to be trotting.

 He can do a bunch of gaits, which I read one of your responses and that is Ok, but you said I need to know which one I want. 

Yes, it helps to tell him what you want. First, of course, you have to know what you want and be able to identify it from the saddle.  You don't say, but have you had experience doing this?  It helps to have a knowledgeable ground person spotting for you, so that you can learn the feel of the different gaits your horse is doing instantly.

So I will do that this year.  I can ride him bridless and he is always relaxed. I dont have to hang on him at all. 

While this may be useful for a western type horse that does not have extra gaits, it is not such a useful thing in a gaited horse, where the gaits depend to a great extent on how the horse carries his head, neck and back.

My question is should I bring him in and collect him, I am very confused on this. 

Yes and no.  To get any kind of a consistent running walk you will probably have to teach the horse to travel with a higher head and neck than he is currently carrying (assuming he is traveling like a western Pleasure horse, or at least in a somewhat strung out manner)  and to bring his nose toward the vertical.  But, to get that collection, you don't want to "bring him in" by pulling back on the reins to set his head. Instead, take constant, steady, even, light (weight of a plum) contact with his mouth through  the reins, and push the horse into that contact by squeezing with your legs. His head will rise as a result, if you don't yield your hands forward. That is the beginning of true collection.

I have no one up here with a Walker that I can ask.  I dont want to start hanging on his face.  

There is a big difference between riding with contact and "hanging on his face" -- but some people think that any contact is bad.  It isn't --- in fact it is necessary to communicate to the horse how he needs to carry himself in the gait.  The kind of contact you need, however, will look like pulling to someone accustomed to seeing horses ridden with thrown away reins in the typical western style.  While that may work with horses who don't have extra gears, it won't work with a multigaited TWH.

We are on second level Parelli and I love it. 

It is a useful system -- however, some parts of it may not help you with a gaited horse. Remember that the method is geared toward trotting horses, most especially stock/western horses, not ones that need to work in collection. One aspect of it that may actually interfere with the way a gaited horse must work is the use of the rope reins and slobber straps -- they are great for adding weight to the bit and causing a horse to lower his head and somewhat extend his neck -- but when you want to bring the horse into a different "Frame" or body use so he can do his gait, they can interfere.  I would change them for some light latigo reins (1/2 inch or no more than 5/8 inch) .  You might also want to consider a change from the ring snaffle to an eggbutt which will be a bit more stable in the horse's mouth
 

If you could explain what you think I should do I would really appreciate it. 

Thank you very much.

Peggy

I tried!  I hope this helps some.  Good luck with your horse.

Lee Ziegler
 

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