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Re: [RC] [RC] walker - Karen Sullivan

Keith, not to be contentious, but my earlier experiences with gaited horses were not good at all.  The foxtrotter i bought was extremely unsurefooted, to the point that she fell on her face going up a steep hill (the type the Arabs just skipped up), and ejected me over her shoulder.  We played with hoof angles, but never could get her to be safe on her feet.....now, this was back in early 90's, so I wish then we had pulled her shoes, trimmed her naturally, and then looked at how she went.....she had been a successful NATRC horse, but in an area with gentler terrain.
At the same time, friends were trying walkers, who seemed okay on flat, groomed surfaces, but didn't do well at all on rough terrain.  At the time I also talked to people who did endurance on Walkers.  One lady tome me her horse moved like an express train, just kicking rocks out of the way as he barrelled along.  She did Tevis with that horse..........another Tevis rider on walkers told me he found a breeder who bred very athletic walkers, on a hilly terrain.....and that you had to be careful which lines you bought......
Is this genetic, or enviromment in that they aren't raised on anything but flat....or shod or trimmed badly, or ridden too young, etc....>
My experiences 15 yearss later are much better, but I still think a gaited horse needs to be raised on hills, taken out as a baby to run loose, etc, just like you would ideally do with an Arab endurance horse.
I also totally despair over all the gaited horses I see advertised in the south that seem to be ridden and SET in gait the winter before they come two.....(gaited up and down barn aisles)...often shod at age 2......ridden hard on trails at age 3.  Coffin bones don't finish growing until age 4 or 5, right? They get pick up by dealers and hauled to California and resold for a lot of $$$$$$, and guess how many develop arthritis and break down at age 8 or so?   I found a beautiful blue roan i was interested in, age 4, that had already been shod, padded and rejected as a show prospect by age 2.....once I found that out, it was a no no for me....pretty sad.
Gaited horses that are "daisy-cutters" or have low, gliding gaits also seem to trip or stumble more....
Took a quick look at your website, and congrats for doing endurance on gaited horses and promoting them....but I did notice that you are riding quite a few of them in "big honking curbs?"  This is not a criticism, as my mustang mare goes best in a curb.....but I believe bit choice depends on the individual horse, not breed related....

On 6/28/08, Keith W. Kibler <kwkibler@xxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
Welcome to the  dark side.
(that was a joke)
 btw, it is a an old wives tale about gaited horses not being sure footed.  With the caveat that any specific horse might have a problem, in the norm, they are
extremely sure footed. Think about it. Their is never a time during a flat foot walk, running walk or rack when all four feet are off the ground. No suspension.
Those of us who raise gaited horses hate the dreaded pace and do a lot of things to "cure" it.  Lots of different ways to fight that.
 We raise breed and endurance mfts and twhs.
You absolutely do not need a great big honking "walking horse bit".
Any way my wife or I can  help here, please ask.
Keith and Sandy Kibler

Karen Sullivan wrote:
Hey Angie,
let me know what he has <g>.......
 After riding a few really gaited horses (foxtrotters and Walkers) I'm afraid i am probably done with Arabs <g>......the gaited horses are so much dang fun!  I have a 3 year old Foxtrotter gelding who is basically an Arab in disguise....really forward and also the nice gait.....and seemingly very surefooted, which was my  main complaint about gaited horses some years ago.  Then again, I take him along on trail rides on rough and steep terrain and turn him loose, to run and make his own mistakes.....
 A frend has a very gaited foxtrotter, also a real goer,.....right up there in most surefooted horse i have ever seen, just cruises downhill.....I followed her up a trail this last weekend that was pretty narrow and twisty, with very steep drop offs....my friend started out foxtrotting.  i was doing an easy trot on my mustang....and by the time we were moving along, my friend was doing a slow canter on that foxtrotter that was to die for......
 The pacey ones you sort of want to discourage or stay away from.
 Nice thing about  my gaited mustang is that you do also have that trot to add into the mix.
 But, please, don't harbor the misocnception that you need a big shanked bit to get the gait....in fact, my preference is to  basically throw away or drop the rein; i hate to ride collected....when i do that, my horse really books along, and yes, the running walk comes out of a flat walk, in simple terms.  But, the other benefit is that if the horse does get amped up, i.e. starting to get jiggy, you can get a pretty fun gait instead of an awful jig....the mustang will broken pace and do that running walk on a loose rein...if collected a tad or checked, i get the foxtrot or broken pace, and if she is really being a ding dong such as trying to get back to camp too fast and I really collect her up, I get a high action rack......
 Gosh, where is Amber Applegate to add her expertise to this question>
 On 6/28/08, *rides2far@xxxxxxxx <mailto:rides2far@xxxxxxxx>* <rides2far@xxxxxxxx <mailto:rides2far@xxxxxxxx>> wrote:

           >>>If someone knows the answer to this question could you
           email me privately as it is not really endurance related.
           If a Tennessee walking horse is not gaited by the time he
           is four, can it he be >>>trained to be gaited? My email
           address is: sbolinge at aol dot com. Thanks!
                       One of my best riding buddies when I was a kid had a
           registered TWH. There were 3 of us in this "gang", 2 on QH
           and one on TWH. She walk, trot, cantered...and our
           favorite RACED him everywhere with us for years. He never
           did one lick of anything gaited that I saw. When he was 8
           or 9 the farm she lived on went up for sale and a man who
           rode show walking horses came over to try her horse. He
           took the snaffle out, put in a long shank bit, kicked him            up a little while hold ing him back with his hands up high
           and the darned horse started gaiting. I saw him the next
           year at a show. Very sad. He'd had so much fun swimming in
           ponds with us (though he aways crapped first thing and we
           had to splash to make it float away from us). We put up
           with it because he stood still to be a good diving board.
           We were always climbing mountains, and racing bareback,
           then he started having to do that high stepping garbage in
           a ring. Poor boy. :-((
           He was not a pacer. Maybe that made a difference.
                       >>>>Also....my BLM mustang mare always had a powerful
           walk...but after 4 years steady riding, now, at age 8, she
           has a singlefoot, rack, running walk and foxtrot at
           times......what you get >>>>depends on motivation,
           footing, attitude and relaxation or non relaxation, and,
           again. >>>>>walking for years, hills and TIME.......
                       I had a big Appaloosa that was 1/2 QH who was always in a
           hurry and wanted to jig. (ex-racehorse). I would make him
           walk everywhere and he started walking faster and
           faster...kinda like when you tell an elementary school kid
           *WALK!* on their way to catch the bus when the bell rings
           and they find a way to do a weird gait that involves far
           more speed than a normal walk but that you won't punish
           them for. Finally he was head bobbing walking really fast
           leaving the other horses as usual (we did all our trail
           rides riding 100 yards ahead and circling back, over and
           over all day) and a friend said, "Is he gaited? I swear
           he's gaiting!" That made me mad so I started trotting and
           he was my first endurance horse. >g< I suppose if you walk
           *fast* enough it becomes a running walk?
                       I'm scared to death I'm going to have to learn all these
           terms. One of my favorite uncles is 78 this year and has
           already been resuscitated 3 times. He's got about 13 TWH
           40 miles from here and being the family "horse expert" I
           *know* they're going to be my responsibility to disperse
           someday. If anybody in the AL/TN/GA triangle needs one,
           let me know.

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