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If she paces, she has lots of optional gaits and gears, most of them very
comfortable!   The pacing Standardbred put the runningwalk in the TWH, all
pacing SBs can do a great runningwalk (they can rack, stepping pace, and
foxtrot too).  

If your girl is off the track, she has a conditioning base she will never
really lose, it will always be easier to condition her than a horse who
didn't have the benefit of countless miles of jogging, starting at a tender

My enduro wannabe is a pacing SB, tougher than nails, agile as a mountain
goat and can go forever at a way smooth running walk.  He is into covering
as much ground as fast as possible and does shift gaits for different
terrains.  If there is an advantage to putting the rear foot into the front
track, he will foxtrot of his own accord.  I don't let him pace, but he
does when he runs away with me (another story).  

I had seen him trot a few strides free but the only times he trotted under
saddle was when I rode for part of a loop with a few 100 milers (we were
doing 50)  he watched those big trotting Arabs and did his own big trot for
a few miles. He wanted to try the trot and I had never ridden his trot, so
I let him try it on for size for a bit.   When our loops diverged, we
continued on at a running walk, just as fast and a whole lot more
comfortable!   He very rarely gallops, he can rack or runningwalk with
galloping companions.

Urge her forward from a walk but restrain her with the bridle, jiggle the
reins enough to "vibrate" the bit a little and allow her to speed up as
long as the gait is four-beat.  If she goes to a pace, slow down and start
over.  They are easier to gait on upgrades, more likely to revert to a pace
on downgrades.  Once she understands that you want a four beat gear, she
will likely show you that she has several of those to choose from, all more
comfortable for horse and rider than either a trot or pace.  Also, since
there is no period of suspension, leg impact forces are reduced, soundness
is easier to maintain over a few thousand miles.  Go for it!

Try riding tights, you will never go back to anything else!

Marge (another wannabe)

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