One of our listees, also a breeder, mentioned not having enough money to send her horse out for
Our responses to her:
You may be able to find someone a lot closer than Kentucky to put the
basics on your horse -- this will save you a lot of money. It takes no
special gaited expertise in teaching a horse to accept the rider, go forward
at a nice walk, (and walk, walk, walk all over hill and dale) turn, stop,
and back, step over ground poles, bend, etc. Those skills, IMO, are all a
horse just under saddle needs to learn his first year while those back
muscles are developing and he's learning to carry and depend on his rider
through different situations.
Don't worry, if your horse is naturally gaited, it is only a matter of
teaching him the cue when you want tolt (or foxtrot, or running walk, or
saddle rack -- whatever gait he /she does). There shouldn't be any such
thing as "gait training" beyond conditioning to carry a rider and teaching
the cues when to do what. Once a horse knows the basics, you can take it
from there, especially with the clicker in teaching the horse when you want
Beware the trainer that will use differing weighted shoes, weight
boots, saddles in a backward position (or likewise, sitting far back to put
weight on the loins) and strong rein contact to hold the horse in a certain
frame to get gait. That's not gait training. That's simply
manipulating the horse to get some semblence of soft gait FAST. And that's
not good, nor is it often permanent. The best thing we owners can do for
our horses is give them the time to learn to carry themselves in gait.
And we can do that as owners. We have all the time in the world, not just
30, 60, or 90 days. : )
It's very interesting to learn about training.
We have fun training our own horses!
It's probably beneficial for breeders to learn to do their own training.
Down the line, they can delegate parts of the training to people who come to
work on their farms (even neighbor kids), so they can personally oversee what is going on, and
*know* that it's being done, especially in our breed, in a way that meets
the demands of the market.