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Re: [RC] [RC] walker - Keith Kibler

Hi Karen,
Contentious? On ridecamp? :-)
Seriously, I argue for a living and wont do it over these horses that I love so much.
So, We currently have 9 twhs and mfts under saddle. They all move differently and have different degrees of "sure footedness" if that is a word.
But, I would say generally that any that we have had that were trippy were changed by training, and to far less degree, hoof angles.
Many twhs that come out of the show world, are like buying a used car that needs a whole lot of attention. I have never personally bought such a horse.
Most of those horses have too long of toes and wrong hoof shapes to start with. Many of them, certainly not all, have pace issues if they have previously been
shown on pads.
We have absolutely nothing to do with that world except to go to a few shows and watch. Everything we do is flat shod.
These horses, if not played with through pads or trying to obtain artificial "big lick" gait (which makes me queasy btw to even watch) are naturally extremely sure footed. No suspension. In either the flat foot walk, running walk or amble (what is sometimes also called a saddle rack) the horse has 2-3 feet on the ground at the same time. In the rack the horse also has one foot on the ground.
As far as propensity to "run" too fast, that is absolutely entirely an individual horse issue, (as well as a training issue). That being said, the bloodlines do make a difference of course.
Here is what I generally do about starting horses. At 2 1/2 they are introduced gently to a ground work in the round pen and eventually to a saddle. They are
then allowed to be a horse until 3 or 3 1/2 at which time outside the farm riding begins. We keep track of each ride on each horse, with gps and often with heart rate monitors. That way I know what is going on with each horse. The "thirty day training" thing is weird to me.
As far as bits are concerned, I usually start in a snaffle. My next progression is usually a pelham, which can be used like a snaffle but has a solid mouth piece. Sometimes I go to a wonder bit or argentine or even a curb grazing bit. Basically, I try to watch the horse closely and use what works on the horse.
It is not my experience that a snaffle bit is a good bit to stay with because of your need to train the gait or different gaits. Many or even most gaited horses
need to have their gait "set" or worked with. This is very often if not almost always having to do with collection. I suppose that you could use a second set of reigns
but that is not comfortable for me.
Sometimes, a horse needs more shank. I am not talking about an old school twh huge shank. I am talking about a small shank. The issue is soft hands. I never want to wrestle with a horse or see one of my horses wrestled with. I will not sell a horse to someone like that.
On our site, you will see 2 or 3 horses that have a shank that would be a bit longer than what I would normally progress with out of a snaffle. Each of those horses are horses that we obtained as older horses (8 plus years) and that already had issues to be corrected or worked with.
As far as the "glide ride" you mentioned, that of course is the twh running walk. It is wonderful. Most horses like that will also perform an easy rack and a
speed rack if trained for them. This whole stumble issue is training related.
We live by the Shawnee National Forest and train frequently there. It is hilly and rocky. The horses then do well in any terrain.
Thank you for your kind words about our competing. For us this comes down to:
1. Proving what these horses are capable of.
2. Encouraging others to step outside of their comfort zone dare to dream of doing something new.
We have had a wonderful year so far. 12 starts on 6 different horses. 10 completions, 2 times of jr sponsorship and one grandma ( :-) ) sponsorship.
Want to see how to make a jr smile? Take her to her first event:


We then took her to the ky horse park and it was her dream to compete there someday. I would say the aerc will have a member for life.
Keith Kibler

Karen Sullivan wrote:
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 <mailto: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
         Gosh, where is Amber Applegate to add her expertise to this
         On 6/28/08, *rides2far@xxxxxxxx <mailto:rides2far@xxxxxxxx>
        <mailto:rides2far@xxxxxxxx <mailto:rides2far@xxxxxxxx>>*
        <rides2far@xxxxxxxx <mailto:rides2far@xxxxxxxx>
        <mailto: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
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
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
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
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,
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
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
someday. If anybody in the AL/TN/GA triangle needs one,
let me know.

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