ridecamp@endurance.net: Re: Gaited vs. Arab

Re: Gaited vs. Arab

gerhardt (gerhardt@theriver.com)
Mon, 10 Mar 1997 17:51:23 -0700

To Wendy Milner,

Thank you for your comments. I asked the questions I did not to offend
anyone but genuinely to get information. Having come out of a dressage and
three day eventing background, I agree with you that training can make a
great deal of difference in the comfort of the trot, just as poor riding
can throw a gaited horse out of gait. I teach each person who buys one of
my horses how to ride it properly if they live close enough to me, and I do
a great deal of long distance, mail and now e-mail, consulting and
teaching. Riding a gaited horse is not difficult, it is just a different
style of riding than people have ususally learned.

However, the very nature of the trot, a diagonal two beat gait, means there
will be concussion, and the more suspension between the diagonal pairs, the
more the concussion will be. For a 46 year old rider such as myself, I
simply can't take it anymore. No matter how smooth the trot, I have not
found a trotting horse with the comfort for the rider's joints and back as
the evenly timed 4 beat gait of a properly gaited horse.

Your comments about the variability of the Mountain Horses are absolutely
correct. This is because they were bred for function, not standardization.
I have one horse that is 13-3H, is smooth as glass and can easily maintain
8 to 10 mph in gait over the 2 to 4 hours I usually ride, with bursts up to
about 12 mph. We have put everyone from 2 years old to 85 years old on her.
I have another that is 15H, not quite as smooth as she has more lift in
front and hock action in back, due to different bloodlines, that can
maintain the same trail speeds over distance, and hit over 14mph in a
measured distance of one-quarter mile, in gait, while maintaining even
timing. She is also used regularly as a demostration horse. I have never
conditioned my horses to see how fast they could go for how long, though.

Your thoughts about why there are more Arabs and Arabs crosses out on the
trail were very interesting. If indeed your odds are that 80% of Arabs can
do endurance if trained, while only 20% of other breeds can, that would
certainly explain why they are the favored horses for endurance riding.

Thank you again for taking the time to comment.


> From: Wendy Milner <wendy@wendy.cnd.hp.com>
> To: ridecamp@endurance.net
> Subject: Gaited vs. Arab
> Date: Monday, March 10, 1997 12:39 PM
> At 05:59 PM 3/9/97 -0700, gerhardt wrote:
> I have
> >really wondered why more people are not flocking to the gaited horses
> >generally and Mountain Horses specifically, rather than keep on riding
> >horses that they have to stand in the saddle to get away from a body
> >pounding trot, instead of a horse that they can sit on in comfort for
> >themselves and the horse.
> That "pounding trot" is a matter of training, not something that is
> inharent with the breed. The real problem is rider education.
> I can get Drake into a wonderful, smooth, big, long trot, but it
> takes work on my part. He knows how to do it naturally, I've seen
> him as he blazes across the mountain.
> I was at a ride, trotting smooth but slow (it was Drake's first ride),
> and I was very please with what he was doing. Along comes a rider
> on a hollow backed, head high, almost out of control horse. She (the
> rider) says to me "You need to teach that horse how to trot." A few
> miles down the trail, Drake is still going strong. Her horse is back
> sore and tired. She is tired and sore from all the bouncing. If she
> learned to ask for the nice slow trot, then she could ask for a ground
> covering trot and still get the *nice* part. I came in second, she
> came in around 20+. So much for my slow trot.
> Now a gaited horse starts out knowing how to do a nice smooth gait.
> (Most of them anyway.) But the rider can still ruin it. The rider
> must still get some education in what to do and what to ask for.
> As for the Rocky Mountain horse, I'm not a fan. I went to an exhibition
> of horses last year and watched a group of Rocky Mountain horses.
> Every one of them was drastically different from the other. They
> ranged in size to small pony to extreamly large horse. The confirmation
> was very different on them. Where's the standard for the horse?
> If I ask for an Arab, I can pick out a couple of differences, and know
> what line (Polish Arab, Egyptian, etc.) they come from.
> The Arab is a very intelligent horse. It is very high in personality.
> I think it has the best temperment, is the most beautiful, the most
> versatile, and the most wonderful of all the horses. That's why I have
> them. But a lot of people just can't stand them. That's why we
> have so many different breeds.
> [Warning - gross generalization being done here]
> On the endurance trails, you find arabs, cross arabs, and more arabs.
> There is a scattering of other breeds. Basically, 80% of all arabs
> can do endurance if trained properly. 20% of the other breeds can
> do endurance if lots of training is done. So, which odds do you
> prefer.
> --
> Wendy
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