By Jennifer Klitzke
Do you have a naturally gaited horse and wonder why it doesn’t have a consistently smooth natural gait?
Lots of people buy a gaited horse thinking that they automatically gait. While they are all born with the ability to perform naturally smooth gaits, it takes time to develop those gaits through consistent training. Over time the horse will develop balance, rhythm, and strength to carry a rider in gait which will engrain muscle memory.
Developing a consistenly smooth natural gait requires a rider to develop the sense of “feel” to discern the difference between a quality step from an unbalanced, rushed, hollow, or disengaged step. This is why I continue to take lessons, attend clinics, study DVDs, read books, and record my rides for feedback in becoming a better rider.
In this video I share what I’ve learned about developing quality gaits —one step at a time. This is very important: Don’t practice poor quality steps, because that’s the muscle memory you’ll create. When the horse loses rhythm, becomes unbalanced, rushes, hollows or becomes disengaged, simply transition down to a slower gait, establish quality steps. Then transition to the next level of tempo and refine a quality step to quality steps. Over time, steps will turn into circles and then a longer duration of time.
Video: Quality Step to Quality Steps