Throughout this project in making the DVD I have been deeply moved by my many friends and students who have used the DVD to obtain a better moving horse. I am excited to hear from countless trail riders, show exhibitors and trainers that the DVD has helped create a better understanding of the middle gaits.
When training a gaited horse, or any horse for that matter, there is no actual definable technique. The magic to find the flat foot walk on the trail or rail will always be the ability of the rider to find the gaited experience. Now all you have to do to find this quality is to keep flat foot walking and building the gear box to success. Relaxation, coordination, balance and strength are the foundation of all gaits. Many people find this to be the high water mark.
I try and place emphasis on slowing down, lowering the head, and working with a level top line. Now this is one of the tough areas in training that you will understand with more time in the saddle. Even experienced and inexperienced riders here can be confused but you will obtain more skill as you progress. Just stay flat walking. Remember in order to achieve you must believe.
Always keep in mind that the Tennessee Walking Horse, Missouri Foxtrotter and Rocky/Kentucky Breed Mountain Horses all do an ordinary walk and flat foot walk. You always want to work toward the middle gaits and find your flat foot walk. You can spin the gaits bio-mechanically anyway you want but it’s better to stay within your discipline. Be careful of people who lack a good understanding of training in finding these gaits -- try to pick the pepper from the manure. Sadly, a few add more confusion in their training
In the long run if you become confused with some of the different self-proclaimed gaited spin jocks, just ask your horse what he likes to do and you will find the magic in the gaited horse. Again thank you for making the DVD a home run. If you have any questions please call me for assistance.
GARY LANE: FROM THE TRAIL TO THE RAIL DVD
Explaining the Gaits
As a Tennessee Walking Horse breeder, show contender, gaited horse judge and trail rider, I have witnessed the problems with gaited horses that Gary Lane has explored in his DVD. Most of the problems have to do with gaiting. Some horses tend to be more on the trotty side (a more diagonal gait), but many are pacey with a more lateral gait. Neither variation endears the horse to its owner.
In this DVD, Gary explains these variations and along with Anita Howe, they competently show horses doing a correct four beat flat walk and horses that are not. Gary is correct in stating that gaited horses are gaining in leaps and bounds as horses for trail riders. His DVD shows Kentucky Mountain Horses and Tennessee Walking horses, a couple of the most popular gaited horses on the trails, and explains their gaits.
Gary explains that riding a pleasure gaited horse too fast is the number one problem: Speed Kills, (not only on the highway— Gary Lane is a retired Kentucky State Police Dective), but it kills the correct walking 4-beat smooth gait. When ridden too fast, the horse raises his head, hollows his back, looses his concentration and screws up his gait.
To correct this problem, Gary and Anita show how horses that are ridden with a low head more level with their withers, and at a slow 1-2-3-4 beat walk for an extended period of time, will become calmer and return to a smoother gait. This particular DVD is not a training one, but there is one section that shows Anita getting a more pacey horse to lower his head and smooth out his gait by engaging his rear end, that is easy to follow and do.
The other question that Gary Lane’s DVD addresses is that our horses today are as good as the old time horses. He shows some famous old-time horses: Midnight Sun (1947), Haynes Peacock (1941), Strolling Jim (1939), and Merry Wilson (1945) exhibiting their gaits and in split screen, show current horses in the same type gait. Today’s Tennessee Walking Horses have proven that they “can do” in a natural—even barefoot, happy style. Correct breeding and bloodlines, conformation and training are a part of the equation.
Gary states: High head, the more fractious the horse is, as well as losing his gait. Lower head equals more brains, calm mind, smoother gait, and safer on the trail. The reminder to ride slower is repeated often.
Gary ends his presentation with this statement: If you have problems, contact me. You are not an interruption; you are the purpose of my day!
It is clear Gary Lane and Anita Howe both love our gaited horses and wish every owner to have the best possible horse to enjoy on the trails.
Rose Miller, author of The Horse That Wouldn’t Trot: A Life with Tennessee Walking Horses. www.rosemiller.net