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Re: [RC] speaking of twh/mft - heidi

Well Lori, that was my question when I first started  LD rides with my
paso fino last year.  He has done well this year; He is currently
listed as the top BC horse in LD in the NW region.  He IS a good
endurance horse in that he can go the distance, but he is not
particularly competitive against arabs.

"Pete" is about as good a Paso Fino as I've seen in this sport--he's a
wonderful horse, and Paul has done well with him.

Why do I say that?  Well, the reason we are doing well on the BC front
is twofold: luck and weight.  The luck part I won't go into, but the
weight part is straightforward.  Gaited horses can carry more weight
for long distances.  This year my gear and I weighed in at 235 lbs.  If
I can make top ten, I am hard to beat.  A 120lb woman coming in an hour
before me does not have a chance, if Pete (my horse) has a passable
recovery rate.

I would argue the point about gaited horses carrying more weight.  Some
pretty tiny Arabs carry some pretty awesome HWs and finish up front
looking fresh as daisies.  A well-balanced horse of any breed should be
able to carry the weight.  Pete is bigger than a great many Arabs that
I've seen carry 250 and more and do it well.

As for Speed.  Pete and I can go like a bat out of hell downhill,
because of the gait.  We can really beat other horses there, BUT on the
straight at a "trot speed" we cannot keep up.  I was out riding with
Snip (a great arab formerly owned by the Teeters) last summer.  Snip's
working trot is Pete's hand gallop.  A four-beat gait does not have
that over-reach that those really competitive arabs have.

This is a good observation.  But don't forget that many Arabs also gait

The original Morgan horse was gaited.  The U.S. cavalry bred it out of
most of the breed, why?  They wanted to cover more ground.

IMO, the ideal horse to cover ground rapidly is one that is a trotter on
the flat but has the flexibility and agility to break into a 4-beat gait

And don't forget that a trot being a diagonal gait is a very stable gait
in rough terrain.

Now as for your question "I was told that a gaited horse could not fair
as well, because of the stamina, and because their tendons couldn't
take it.", That is NOT true for Pete, but as Amy Berggren pointed out
to me at the Dust Devil ride, Pete has a "pleasure" gait.  He does not
lift his feet up high like some gaited horses are bred and encouraged
to do.  That way, he covers more ground with less energy.

Don't forget metabolics!  Yes, part of what makes an endurance horse is
biomechanical efficiency.  (And again, the most biomechanically efficient
tend to be those who have good walks, good trots, good canters, AND the
versatility to break the trot up into a 4-beat gait downhill.)  But the
bottom line here, IMO, is that few gaited breeds have been specifically
selected for long, fast marches the way the Arab was in the desert.  They
have been selected for comfort to the rider for middle distances and
moderate speeds.  All breeds have a distribution of metabolic capability
(the old bell-shaped curve) and you can find good ones in all breeds. 
(Paul has one in Pete, IMO.)  But you will find more of them among Arabs,
simply because that IS what Arabs were bred and selected for, for
centuries.  Gaited breeds tend to be kind of mid-range with regard to
metabolics--on average better suited than fast-sprint breeds such as the
QH and the APHA, but less so than the Arabs.

As I go up to 50's next season, I will be really interested to see how
we do.  I am a little scared with all this talk of dying horses, but
the LD's just aren't doing it for us any more.

Wish me luck,

Luck from me, Paul--and I think Pete can do it just fine!  :-)



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[RC] speaking of twh/mft, Lori Greene
Re: [RC] speaking of twh/mft, Paul Latiolais