Thursday, April 09, 2009

Contact for Gait

A discussion about contact for gait:

"Why do people think a horse needs bit contact to gait. Mine don't! I don't get that. Am I wrong? I just don't see how their mouth and neck is gonna make them move their feet and joints differently. Unless tension creates gait. Which isn't natural is it? Or is it...

When I think about gait I think about myself. I can walk differently and in certain shoes that pinch or when my toenails are cut too short I walk funny. But if you led my mouth I would raise my head and stop thinking of much but how I hate your guts for not allowing me to have a nice ride and be tense and I guess yes, that would alter my gait but not necessarily for the better!

I mean contact is one thing but why do you have to be ridezilla??!!"

A response: Because they've never learned anything different...

Another response: Yes, that's one reason.

At this point though, I'm highly suspicious that there are other reasons. I'm very suspicious about some great big SECRET conspiracy, going on, right under our noses about the HONEST gaiting ability of many horses in many breeds.

Scenario for you: You buy yourself a very expensive *gaited* horse. But, when you get said horse home, and attempt to ride said horse, in gait, said horse either can't or won't do said gait. Sound familiar to anyone?

So, you think, hum, maybe that guy / gal I bought this horse from was right and I really do need to use the bit, tack, shoes, trimming method etc., that they used and told me to use. OR, it must be my faulty riding or the wrong tack.

So, you begin to question your own good horse sense at this point. After all, the horse seemed to gait great when ridden by the seller / trainer and even did great for you when you tried it out at the place. But, you are thinking, at the time, just wait till I get you home, you darling thing, and I get this awful bit out of your mouth and get you comfortable. You feel like a hero at that moment.

Reality land sinks in. This horse can't gait without artificial aids. Mechanical FORCE! So, what are you to do? All horse's that are touted to be NATURALLY GAITED are NOT! It takes a keen eye and some serious experience to see the difference between a forced gait and a truly natural inclination to gait.

Then, if the naturally gaited horse is ridden using mechanical methods this further complicates things. Did you check out the trim? Does the horse's gait depend upon it's SPECIAL TRIM or SPECIAL SHOES? These things happen all the time to good honest buyers who don't have a clue what they are REALLY SEEING.

Some of them are very embarrassed by being taken in and so resort to the same methods that the seller used to fool them in the first place. Sometimes the seller doesn't know any better and assumes all gaited horses require such methods in order to gait.

Quotes used by the people in the discussion:

"Be who you are, say what you think, because those that mind don't matter, and those that matter don't mind."

"Intelligent people talk about ideas. Average people talk about things. Small people talk about other people."

“PERHAPS the sentiments contained in the following pages, are not yet sufficiently fashionable to procure them general favor; a long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defence of custom. But tumult soon subsides. Time makes more converts than reason.” ~~Thomas Paine, Common Sense, 1776.

1 comment:

dazey said...

Can't thank you enough for bringing up this subject in your blog. For eight years I've ridden my reg. Rocky Mountain Horse with a bitless bridle. He is a horse bred for natural gait, and so far the only adjustment to encourage him to do his four-beat gait is to allow him to "hollow out" as opposed to "round up" his back. Along the lines of reducing stress when riding a horse, I recommend Basic Training for a Safe Trail Horse with subtitle of Elinimating the Fear Factors. It is a small paperback narrative with instructions about how to teach a horse to be safe for trail riding without having to use bits, spurs, longe lines or round pens. It is available at Amazon or from the author at