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Icelandic Horse Connection

The Gaits of the Icelandic Horse and Other Gaited Horses: The Dog Walk

What is the "dog walk"?

All horses have an even four beat at the walk unless they are injured or have some conformation problem.

The "dog walk" could be described as:

[] The slow head down lazy walk.

[] The ordinary, everyday walk of non-gaited horses, or the sort of walk a gaited horse might use, just strolling his pasture.

[] A slower walk with neither extension nor containment and not much energy, eagerness, or head movement.

[] Unpurposeful walking - whether at liberty or under saddle - walking as he/she would walk to the water tank or to the fenceline. Casual, unstimulated walking.

[] The plain ole walk of all horses, gaited or non gaited....a four beat walk of RR - RF - LR - LF.....not hurried, but when they are walking in their pastures, corrals, maybe just walking down the trail. Something I permit when I am talking with a riding buddy. Very casual.

[] Dunh duh duh dunh duh just wallllkkkinnnnn along. No particular place to be or time you have to be there.

Why do some gaited horses seem to be unable to do a dog walk while under saddle?

In many cases it can be the result of being rushed for speed in early training. It isn't so much a case that they CAN'T do it, as a case of never being allowed the chance to begin with. Each horse should be started at a slow, normal walk under saddle and on a loose rein as a major portion of his beginning saddle training.

It will take time for the horse to build up muscles for his work, and to build up the stamina and balance to carry a rider at the walk.

Some gaited riders are so busy gaiting that they never let the horse relax and do that unpurposeful walk (I like that description). Soon the horse thinks he must be "on the go" under saddle.

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