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Old 02-10-2008, 01:04 AM
Ballibebe Ballibebe is offline
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Riding a 5 gaited horse

I was wondering if anyone could please explain to me how to ride the slow gait and rack. I am pretty efficient in the other 3 gaits but only have ridden 5 gaited horses probably 20ish times in my 15 years of riding. I want to get better but I have no way to practice the slow gait and rack since I do not have access to a 5 gaited horse. I know how to ask for the gaits and how to support a horse but all the rest I am lacking. Hopefully in the future I will own a gaited horse but I like to do my research. Yes I have great trainers but I would love explanations and tips from other experienced riders and trainers so I can be even more prepared. I want to be a well rounded rider and everything else I can learn with the resources I have now but this area is the only one I need information. Thanks for any useful information.
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Old 02-10-2008, 01:24 AM
JustJazz JustJazz is offline
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uhhh.... its kind of one of those things you gotta be able to actually do to practice and get good at. Until you have access to a gaited lesson horse or get your own, I wouldnt worry about it
Old 02-10-2008, 03:28 AM
Jrchloe Jrchloe is offline
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I wish I could help you but I too wish I had more experience on a gaited horse. I donít see a problem with her wanting someone to explain with experience for example if you feel your left hip moving more than your right then your horse is probably uneven behind so bump with your left hand to straighten up, to slow down bump back with both hands and hold, a true slow gait and rack will feel like Ö. even though some horses will be bouncier than others, etc. There are many more tips and hints that experienced riders could explain so when she does get to ride a gaited horse she can get the most out of the ride instead of wasting time with the beginner explanations (just for example). I think itís a good question. Itís just like all the articles you could find on trotting. Yes it would be best to have all the time in the world to trot a horse and learn diagonals and such but sometimes it is helpful to see in print what exactly you as a rider should know.
Old 02-10-2008, 09:35 AM
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wstrngrl wstrngrl is offline
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The problem is, each horse is different; and if she gets advice on how to ride a certain gaited horse, she could 'learn' to do it all wrong for the specific gaited horse she ends up riding in the future. Because not only to different trainers train horses differently (I've discussed 'gaited horse "theory"' with a few different people and have hard some VERY different thought on how gaited horses should be worked/ridden), but each horse has their own quirks and specific needs.

For example. The gaited horse I've been riding in many ways is very opposite what's "in my blood" (I've only been on a gaited horse about, ohhh, maybe 10 times; but have the instincts, so I've been told LOL)

Going around corners, normally you work your inside rein and inside leg alot to keep the horse square and gaiting true around the corners. But the horse I'm riding now tends to push his shoulder too far to the outside on his own, and skips around the corner if you don't use outside rein and outside leg going the second way.

Also, the cue to start and the way you work the bridle to support, collect, and balance the horse is different than what I've always been told; because this specific trainer does it differently; and it works for that horse (like bumping back with both hands WON'T slow him down )
~Any change, even a change for the better, is always accompanied by drawbacks and discomforts. ~ Arnold Bennett

Last edited by wstrngrl : 02-10-2008 at 09:42 AM.
Old 02-10-2008, 10:10 AM
JustJazz JustJazz is offline
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Well thats really the thing, each horse is so different there is no cookie cutter way to ride a horse at the rack. Its not as simple as say... posting , or getting yours leads, ect
Old 02-10-2008, 10:35 AM
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JohnDeere JohnDeere is offline
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I posted this over on Modern-saddlebred but I'll post it here...again every horse is different so don't drill this into your mind as THE way to ride every gaited horse...

I showed possibly the most difficult horse I have ever owned in five gaited for a few show seasons. I gained most of my experience from him, so much so that I am confident in telling you some of the basics I learned.

So when you are asking for the slow gait, it really depends on the horse. some horses just need a light up and down movement of the reins, others you may need to do some left-right-left-right. Sit down deep in your saddle and don't bounce up and down once you get going. let everything sink into your heels. keep your hands quiet, not jerking all over the place terrorizing the horse's mouth. Also depending on the horse keep your reins tight, don't leave a whole lot of slack or they can get their nose out or fall out of the slow gait. Some horses need the support of your hands about a foot apart. Again don't go crazy with this, I find it annoying to see junior exhibitors riding with their hands wayyy up high when holding them a little more down would do the exact same thing for the horse. lol

When you are going around corners, you need to use A LOT of leg to support them and keep them racking. SOme horses you just have to touch their inside side with your inside leg, others, you need to do more: if you are going the first way, for example, and going around a corner, start putting pressure on their inside when you first come to the corner and as soon as you're in the turn all the way you could move your inside leg back and outside leg forward, giving them support throughout their body. (I hope this makes sense, its really hard to explain in words but it worked on my horse ) When you're going around a corner it also might help if you bring your inside hand out a little more, just to keep them stable. All of this really helps them keep their gait through the corner and not fall into a canter or trot.

There is a lot of technique and skill needed to show a gaited horse, by that I mean making good passes in front of the judge, using your ring, etc. In most gaited class, everyone is riding their own riding trying to be better than everyone else. So you have to be a notch better by getting your horse out there and getting yourself seen. When you're trotting/racking/slow gaiting, you can do something like a "diamond" in the the center of the corners, cut so you miss the other half of the corner and go right down the middle to the rail, then go back to the center of the next corner, and make a nother pass like that. (make sense? Lol) Showmanship is a huge part of showing a gaited might help you to watch tapes of some of the big time trainers who really know what their doing...Michele Macfarlane on Casey's Final Countdown would be a good one to watch, and most definitely Mitch Clark on Skywatch and Don harris on Imperator.

I am in no way a professional, so if I've said something contradicting, I know there are trainers are here that can clear up anything. this was just what worked for me, and what I have been taught about riding a gaited horse.
Old 02-10-2008, 01:33 PM
Ballibebe Ballibebe is offline
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I know how to ask for them to perform the gaits but what I am mainly having issues with is when do I know to bump, am I just waiting to feel something not right or do I use it to slow down, etc? What do I do with my weight, I know to sit deep into my bones and heels but do I just sit to the bounce or do I move my hips left to right with the horse (are there times to move your hips and not move your hips), ideally what exactly should I be feeling under me so I know the horse is correct/not correct? What are some ways to slow down (yes every horse is different but just some techniques to start with)?

Thank you for the tips about going around the corner I think I was doing that before but now Iíll pay attention to that next time and be more precise about it.
Old 02-10-2008, 02:23 PM
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Thunderstruck Thunderstruck is offline
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I think of it as trying to keep Dylan aligned so he can fit through a vary narrow gate. When I feel him going one way or the other thats when I bump or use my legs to guide him straighter. Dylan is also an "outside bump" guy when going around the turns becasue he goes so fast he is leaning alot into it and needs the counterblance of the outside rein, but as others have said, every horse is different. Dylan is even different from ride to ride, sometimes he likes lots of leg...other times he's "goosey" and doesn't want any leg...some days he'll go with no bumping at all and others he needs lots. It isn't really something you just have to learn to do it.

If the horse you are riding is so bouncy that you feel the need to shift your hips then he isn't racking...he's nearly pacing. In my experience (I've not ridden very many pacey horses because I try not to so I'm no expert ) shifting your hips will only make him pacier. This is where the bumping comes in to break up that pace and make it more even. Some horse are just pacey and there's nothing you can do about it, but you can smooth them out a little. If a horse is pacing you'll hear the legs hit the ground like 12..34..12..34 when you should be hearing 12341234.
Old 02-10-2008, 03:27 PM
d1nonlyrocketpony d1nonlyrocketpony is offline
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Thunderstruck is correct. You should not have to move your hips, or he's pacing. It should be smooth as glass. For example, at one of the fun shows, i went in the egg and spoon, and racked one handed the whole time holding the egg and spoon in the other. It should be smooth enough you don't lose the egg.

When to bump is a whole different story, and varies from horse to horse. Often times with beginners, when they start to feel "weird", they bump , but it's too late. The more you ride your horse, the better a feel you get for him. I have a gaited horse at home that I have had for some time, and I know him like the back of my hand, he will never come out of gear with me, but when a new person steps up, he can get out of gear pretty quick.

So, it's not just riding gaited horses more in general, it's also riding your gaited horse more, so you get used to that specific horse.
Old 02-10-2008, 08:21 PM
Ballibebe Ballibebe is offline
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. Often times with beginners, when they start to feel "weird", they bump , but it's too late.
So are you bumping for support, collection, speed, etc like you would be for trotting?

Thanks for all of the answers they've been very informative.
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