Tip #1: How to tell when a horse is gaiting
When observing a gaited horse, to tell what kind of gait he is in, it helps to look only at two legs on one side, usually the inside pair of legs. You will be able to tell if he is pacing, doing a stepping pace, or a smooth gait. Practice watching only one side and it will become easier to see what gait they are in.
Tip #2: Uphill, Downhill
One of the easiest ways to work on your horse’s gait is to use hills. Some horses gait really well going downhill, while others gait well going uphill. You can’t be sure which it is going to be with your horse. There are ways to make and educated guess, though. If your horse’s gait is toward the pace, then he will likely gait better going uphill. If your horse’s gait is toward the trot, then he will likely gait more easily going downhill. Keep in mind that there are lots of exceptions to this idea and to try going both uphill and downhill with your horse.
A good way to utilize a hill is to use the bottom of a hill. Start walking your horse going down a hill, not too steep, though, and when you get to the last fifty feet at the bottom of the hill, ask your horse to gait. If he gaits when you do this, ease up off the reins and let him go until he gets bumpy, then slow him down right away. Often, though, when you first try this, your horse won’t gait and just gets bumpy. If that happens, slow your horse down right away, and try again.
If a horse has not been gaiting well, or at all, for some time, it may take a couple of weeks to get him doing a smooth gait well. Don’t lose patience, just be consistent. Keep trying different things and your horse should get it eventually.
4 tips for training gaited horses to gait!
“If what you’re doing doesn’t work, try something else.”
Don’t canter your horse until you have a very good gait with him.
If it’s bumpy, it’s not a gait. SLOW HIM DOWN NOW!
Always walk him for the first 5 minutes of every ride.
Tip # 3: Slow walk, fast walk
I have found something that has really helped me train pacey and trotty horses to gait. If your horse is pacey, then slow the walk way down before asking the horse to gait. If your horse is trotty, then speed the walk up before asking for gait.
Tip # 4: No quick fixes!
Most of the time, with gaited horses, the trick is getting them to gait. Sure, they are naturally gaited, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they will gait. Many people buy a gaited horse and they find out their horse won’t gait well, or won’t gait well for them. This brings us to the question of how to get a horse to gait. To find out whether you want to attempt to get him to gait on your own, see the article “Can You Get Your Horse To Gait?”
There are no “quick fixes” or “buttons” that will make your horse gait. Some, a very few, horses just gait as soon as you get on them. If you own one of these wonderful horses, hurray for you! Unfortunately most horses need work and consistency to get them to gait and to keep them gaiting well. Sometimes they need a lot of time and work. It just depends on the horse. I have had people come to me hoping for me to tell them what I did to get their horse to gait. They were hoping that I used a certain bit or used my legs a certain way to get their horse to gait, but rarely is that the solution. It is almost always through time and thought that the horse understand what you want.