Icelandic Horse Connection

Liz Graves, Gaited Horse Clinic Reports 3

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Well after almost a week of heavy rains here in Southern California, it finally stopped and dried out enough to use the arenas before Liz got here. We started out on Saturday with a biomechanics lecture. She use two of our horses, my gelding and my wife's mare. She marked them both up showing that mine has a lot of reach on the front end, and has both trotty and gait characteristics on the back end. My wifes horse showed very strong pace tendencies, neither of us were surprised by this. She used our big rackin fool for the back mapping, but took the time to show the differences between a light (my wife's), medium(mine) and heavy(rackin fool) frame horse. The back mapping showed some areas of atrophy, and when observed from above and behind those areas were clearly visible. We suspect that these areas were caused by the previous owners saddle, so this should start correcting itself. Liz also took the time to talk to everyone about touching your horse and how important it is to do this. It really helps with bonding and building confidence.

Once we got started with the groups, there were the typical saddle fit and minor biting issues. Only one saddle that was in the unfixable category.

I worked with two horses, the first was the big gelding that was used for the back mapping. Liz gave me very good news on him. She feels that he can be a truly multi-gaited horse. She wants me to teach him to Foxtrot, Running Walk, and fast and slow racks. Said this would be an excellent project horse to learn more advanced things about gaits and gait mechanics. I'm very excited, and so is the future owner of this horse (I bought him as a project, and already have a home for him. I may have to offer to half lease him to get to work on gait, but it'll be worth it). The other horse was my TWH gelding. He can be a little trotty, so we worked on helping him into a good flat walk and then a running walk. I've been riding him in a Parelli hackamore, and Liz said that it was fine and that he was doing very well in it. She did want to know if I did ever ride him in a bit and if so what kind. She liked the Myler loose-ring with the sleeves that I use. All in all as VERY good day with the ponies for me.

My wife used her mare. Liz reiterated that this horse was built for a stepping pace, and had her work towards getting a nice smooth stepping pace. She actually got her going very nice, even offered a saddle rack toward the end. Liz liked the fit of her saddle, but suggested that we up the gullet size one (it's a Wintec AP2000).

Sunday we worked over cavalettis. My gelding was pretty short (read lazy, I guess its back to the Impulsion Programs for us for a couple of days), but handled the tasks well. We did the same with the racking fool, but also pent some time working on his rack. I was able to get him into a really nice slow rack, and I'm hooked, what fun that is. I can't wait to see what his single foot rack will be like.

All in all, it was a GREAT weekend. We will definitely be trying to get her back next year.

We have some pics of the Biomechanics and the back mapping. I'll post them as soon as possible.

The stable manager, who grew up on a Montana ranch and leard the Vaquero methods from the horsemen on the ranch had nothing but great things to say, and is going out to buy Liz's videos.


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