Ivy,

Thank you so much for putting yourself out there, for saying its about relaxation, And explaining how to work towards getting a nice gait.  It has made a total difference with my little step pacing mare. If I had kept going to the instructor I was, we would still NOT be getting a rack. We would still be step pacing.  I went with my gut feeling, what I was learning from my horse, and What you say on your videos. And sure enough a mere 2-3 weeks later we are racking up a storm!  I think most important of all relaxation, relaxation, relaxation and working up hills and inclines. She went on a weekend trail ride last weekend and most of the time she racked. This weekend we went riding in some pretty good hills, with gentle inclines, and some flat between. She didn’t miss a lick.
At times over the last few months I have been so frustrated listening to all kinds of versions of how to get my horse to gait properly.  I wanted to just give up. Even in the last couple weeks, I felt at times I was getting nowhere because the constancy still wasn’t there.  I still think it was the relaxation that made the biggest difference.  Looser reins, me maintaining a more relaxed body & hands, allowing her to relax, and working– but making the relaxation more important than the result.  And the result– a square gait just began to happen.
I have a friend with a new gaited horse who is struggling with gaiting issues. I told her about softening the reins and letting the horse relax but she is still all about clenching those reins up and “making” that horse collect up. Which is “supposed to make that horse gait”. Same instructor I had. Same gaited site I was going to for info. Its still not happening for her.
Can’t say thank you enough.
 Luci

Relaxation was the key!