Gaited Dressage Clinics

There are many great dressage clinicians, but few gaited clinicians who use dressage training methods to improve the natural movement of gaited horses. Below are naturally gaited clinicians I have ridden with over the years.

Jennie Jackson demonstrates canter and romvere on a gaited horse
Contrary to popular belief, cantering the gaited horse actually improves the four beat gait while lateral exercises improve relaxation and suppleness.

Jennie Jackson

In the 1980s Jennie Jackson began applying and perfecting dressage methods of training with gaited horses, and in 1998 she introduced dressage as a humane training alternative to the Tennessee Walking Horse breed. In 2006, Jennie and her Tennessee Walking Horse stallion Champagne Watchout performed the first Dressage En Gait Musical Freestyle at The Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, KY. The team demonstrated Prix St. George movements as canter pirouette, tempi changes, and piaffe and passage en gait. In 2010, Jennie and Champagne Watchout were formally invited to exhibit their dressage en gait musical style at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games as the official breed representative of the Tennessee Walking Horse.

For more about Jennie Jackson and Champagn Watchout, visit Jennie Jackson: Dressage En Gaite.

Gaited Dressage: The School Master

Jennie Jackson: Dressage as Applied to the Gaited Horse Clinic (2015) There’s no better way to capture “the feeling of right” than by riding a gaited dressage school master under the coaching of a seasoned gaited dressage legend: Jennie Jackson.

I just got back from my third Dressage as Applied to the Gaited Horse Clinic with Jennie Jackson, but this time I flew to Tennessee. As much as I wanted to ride my naturally gaited Walking horse Makana, I couldn’t squeeze her in my luggage! Words cannot express my gratitude to Ronance for her generosity in lending to me her exquisite naturally gaited Tennessee walking horse gelding Outrageous who became my second level school master for the three-day clinic. He was like riding a Rolls-Royce! more»

Jennie Jackson: Dressage as Applied to the Gaited Horse Clinic (2015) more»

lateral exercises

Jennie Jackson: Dressage as Applied to the Gaited Horse Clinic (2014)
Auditors, riders, gaited horses, and a gaited mule came to the clinic from various backgrounds: some from the Walking horse show world, others from the trail, some new to dressage, and a few returned for more advanced dressage teaching. 2014 Jennie Jackson Gaited Dressage Clinic>

Jennie Jackson: Dressage as Applied to the Gaited Horse Clinic (2013)
The Jennie Jackson Clinic: Dressage as Applied to the Gaited Horse exceeded my already high expectations. Horses ages three to thirteen, green to advanced, and riders new to dressage to experienced dressage riders were stretched beyond their comfort zones to bring home effective dressage methods and tools that address their riding goals—english and western. 2013 Jennie Jackson Gaited Dressage Clinic>

Video: Jennie Jackson demonstrates cantering the gaited horse

Video: Jennie Jackson demonstrates lateral exercises to improve flat walk in the gaited horse

Larry Whitesell Gaited Dressage Clinics

2010 whitesell clinic

What you will learn:

  • How to improve gait without devices
  • Lightness
  • How to develop the horse gymnastically to facilitate relaxation, create flexibility and balance
  • How to school the horse in hand and under saddle
  • How to build engagement to improve gait without building resistance
  • How you ride affects your horse’s balance and gait
  • Balanced, light stops
  • Collection

Contact Larry Whitesell at

Larry Whitesell and Jennifer Bauer Clinic (2013)
If you’ve been to a Larry Whitesell Gaited Horsemanship Clinic, you know what I mean when I say, “It is a lot to take in.” I have audited four of Larry’s clinics and ridden in three, and the last two clinics included Jennifer Bauer, a beautiful rider and a wonderful horsewoman. At each clinic a few more dots are connected in my understanding of Larry’s training philosophy which focuses entirely on what the horse needs and teaches riders how to lead their horses into balance, relaxation and engagement. 2013 Larry Whitesell and Jennifer Bauer Gaited Dressage Clinic>

Larry Whitesell and Jennifer Bauer Clinic (2012)
Larry says, “Don’t teach the horse what NOT to do. Teach the horse what TO do.” Instead of punishing the horse for making a mistake, redirect the horse to find balance and relaxation and at the same time the horse’s need for security will be satisfied, and the horse will better trust the rider as a reliable leader. This translates into less spooks, bolts, bucks, buddy sourness, and rears. The more a horse trusts the rider to keep it secure, the more the rider can trust the horse on the trail. It’s a win-win training method. 2012 Larry Whitesell and Jennifer Bauer Gaited Dressage Clinic>

Larry Whitesell Clinic (2010)
I took my six-year-old Walking horse Gift of Freedom to a Larry Whitesell gaited dressage clinic. Larry has a marvelous training theory: pressure and release to teach relaxation, balance and forwardness to the bit. His methods model that of classical French dressage and he continually takes lessons with FEI level dressage instructors. 2010 Larry Whitesell Gaited Dressage Clinic>


Jennifer Bauer Gaited Dressage Clinics

Jennifer Bauer gaited horsemanship

Contact Jennifer at

 Gary Lane Clinics

The 2011 MN Horse Expo featured naturally gaited clinician and author Gary Lane. Makana and I were among the many demonstration teams during Gary’s sessions. It was fun to see the wide variety of gaited breeds including Tennessee walking horses, Rockies, Foxtrotters, Icelandics, Pasos, and even a gaited mule!


Bucky Sparks B.L.E.S.S Your Horse Clinics

2011 BLESS Your Walking Horse Clinic with Bucky Sparks

Bucky blends the best of dressage and natural gaited training methods to produce B.L.E.S.S. (Balance, Looseness, Engagement, Softness, and Soundness). To contact Bucky, visit:

Bucky Sparks Gaited Dressage Clinic (2011)
June 5-6, 2011 marked my fourth trip with Gift of Freedom to Proctor, MN for the B.L.E.S.S. Your Walking Horse Clinic with Bucky Sparks. And yes, clinic participant Barb Nunke said it best, “The sun really does shine in Proctor!” No parkas, rain suits, or knives to cut through the thick Proctor fog this year.

For me, the 2011 BLESS Clinic was all about breaking through the mystery about contact. How do I ride a head-shaking horse with contact? Do my hands move with the motion? Do I keep the reins slack so that I don’t bump the horse’s mouth with each nod? 2011 Bucky Sparks Clinic>

Bucky Sparks Gaited Dressage Clinic (2010)
Breaking through the Proctor fog was the sunny smile and personalized teaching of F.O.S.H. Clinician Bucky Sparks. He brought along some new tools to share from his training toolbox. This marked Bucky’s sixth consecutive 2,000-mile trip to Minnesota. He imparted wisdom to riders and auditors who had traveled from all corners of Minnesota and Wisconsin for the clinic held June 4-7 in Proctor, MN. 2010 Bucky Sparks Clinic>

Bucky Sparks Gaited Dressage Clinic (2009)
Bucky Sparks returned for the fifth year in a row to the Dirt Floor Arena in Proctor, MN for more While the humane training methods that produce balance, looseness, engagement, softness, and soundness, blessed the horses, the education and encouragement blessed the riders. 2009 Bucky Sparks Clinic>

Bucky Sparks Gaited Dressage Clinic (2008)
Gale force winds, heavy rain, lightning, thunder, dense fog, cold temperatures and tornado watches threatened our first day of the 2008 B.L.E.S.S. Your Horse Clinic with Bucky Sparks, owner of Walk The Dog Ranch in Cortez, Colorado. 2008 Bucky Sparks Clinic>


Dressage is more than trot and the saddle you ride in!

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