What is so Special About Gaited Horses?

Gaited Horses come in all shapes and sizes, in all temperments and colors; they are truly like Ice Cream. Each breed having itís own unique and sweet flavor, but different from the rest.
Many folks, new to the gaited horse world, think that gaited horses canít do many of the things that ďregular horsesĒ do. NOT TRUE! Gaited Horses are first and foremost HORSES! They can be trained to perform most any task that their non-gaited cousins can do! The only limit being the natural talent of that individual gaited horse, the same limit that applies to the non-gaited equine.
One of the myths often repeated about Gaited Horses is that they canít canter.  Well of course they can canter! Just turn them loose in a pasture and watch them canter and gallop!  Some riders do not allow their horses to canter undersaddle, but that is rider preference, not the horses inability to perform! Also many breeds take the canter from the walk, so as not to reduce the speed or quality of the faster gait. This is due to many horses tendency to break into the canter from the faster gait if allowed to take the canter from anything but a walk. Most riders of gaited horses wish to improve the forward speed and extension of the faster gait for their breed, so most teach a specific cue for the canter.
Almost all gaited horse breeds require that their gait be natural. The tendancy for the gait to be transmitted to the foals is of utmost importance to responsible breeders. This assures the newbie to gaited horses that their horse CAN gait! After all what is special about a gaited horse that doesnít?
The majority of the Gaited breeds also mandate a good temperament as part of their breed description. This quality makes gaited horses a good choice for the new horse person. A horse that is easily handled makes their first horse experience much more enjoyable as well as safer!
Of course it goes without saying that the smooth ride of the many gaited breeds is appealing and in some cases a necessity.  Physical limitations (from a disability or injury or just plain back problems) do not interfere with the ridersí ability to use and enjoy the gaited horse breeds. Oftentimes an individual turns to the gaited breeds because they simply canít tolerate the jarring gaits of other horses. More mature first time riders are more secure on the gaited horses, allowing them to build their riding skills more easily. Gaited horses are used in many disabled rider programs, due to the same security they can give a rider.
Gaited horses can and do perform in dressage, team penning, driving, endurance and many other equine activities. The thing that separates them from the other horses, their unique smooth gait, allowing their rider to enjoy the activities without as much exertion on the riders part!
Once you have experienced the SMOOTH RIDE of a gaited horse, there is often no turning back! Welcome to the world of gaited horses!