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from readers, including: 1) What are the top 10 myths with regard to gaited horses? 2) What specialized equipment is needed to ride a gaited horse? 3) As long as my horse is comfortable to ride, does it really mat er what gait he is doing? 4) Is it okay to allow my horse to express other gaits, such as trot and pace? Why do I hear the canter is not good for my gaited horse? and 5) How do I help my gaited horse become more consistent in his four-beat gait? We encourage you to review and/or have this material in hand as our expert panel delves further into helping our horses refi ne their responsiveness, relaxation and gait with exercises both in the saddle and on the ground.


W


elcome to Part II of our Special Report on Easy-Gaited Horses. T e fi rst part of this series, in the May issue of Trail Blaz- er, addressed a number of questions


WHEN RIDING WITH NON-GAITED HORSES, HOW DO I SLOW MY HORSE DOWN WITHOUT FRUSTRATING HIM, OR SHOULD I GO OUT IN FRONT AND NOT WORRY ABOUT IT?


Julie notes: “Every horse, whether gaited or non-gaited, should be able to perform a slow trail walk. Gaited horses can walk slowly. If you choose to go out f ont at your own speed, you may soon fi nd that you have very few f iends to ride with.”


From a safety standpoint, your horse should be obedient


to your directions of what speed you want and need him to execute. When riding alone or with others, you never know when you may run into a situation that requires slow, cau- tious movement or for that mat er more speed. Too oſt en people allow their horses to rush off when


they are fresh and hurry back to the barn or trailer at the end of a ride. T is not only causes behavior problems, but it can also cause lameness. It is a good idea both safety- and obedience-wise to dismount and walk your horse “home” for the last half-mile. T is helps to cool him down and cre- ates a change in habit.


continued next page One Trail Blazer reader posed the question “Why doesn’t EVERYONE ride a gaited horse?” For those of us who are lucky enough to


have these horses in our lives, that is certainly a question we could all ask. With the aging Baby Boomer population seeking to ease joint aches without giving up riding, gaited horses are sure to only grow in popularity in the years ahead. T erefore, it is imperative that we educate ourselves to become bet er stewards of these lovely equine companions. Each member of our panel of gaited horse trainers comes from a passion for various gaited breeds—but they all love the horse and are doing their best every day to improve the understanding and well being of each equine individual and human partner.


Diane J. Sept was introduced to Tennes- see Walking Horses in


1970 and has taken part in almost all equine disciplines since then, from dressage and driving to competitive trail. Several of her students and their horses have achieved TWH versatility champion- ships. Diane is a Connected Riding instructor and licensed FOSH/IJA judge. She works with all breeds and disciplines to help create a relationship between horse and rider/ handler that is safe, healthy and enjoyable and leads to the best performance on the trail or in the show ring. Contact Diane at dianesept@ aol.com and learn more at www.connectedriding.com


Larry Whitesell is a student of classical training, applying these principles to gaited horses across the coun- try. “I continue to spend time with classical trainers and increase my level of knowledge. I train every breed of gaited horse.” Visit Larry on line at www.white- sellgaitedhorse- manship.com


Betsy McHugh has been a professional trainer for over 30


years. Aſt er completing a fi ve- year apprenticeship, she oper- ated her own training business. Currently she trains at Caballos del Conquistador Paso Finos in Marshall, Texas, owned by Ed Smith. Betsy is a multi-national champion in the world of Paso Finos and was awarded Trainer of the Year in 2010. Betsy is a senior certifi ed PFHA, “R” USED, International CONFEPA- SO and FOSH IJA Judge. With a background in dressage, a love for all breeds and studying under instructors from Charles DeKunff y to Al Dunning, Betsy is a well-rounded trainer and instructor. Contact Betsy at betsymchgh@gmail.com


Julie Moore has been a profes- sional


trainer for over 35 years in multiple equine disci- plines. She won the 2003 MFTHBA (Missouri Fox Trot er) World Grand Champion Versatil- ity award and the 2009 MFTHBA Versatility Futurity World Champion- ship. Julie is a FOSH IJA Judge and has been an MFTHBA Judge since 2001, specializing in Versatil- ity. She conducts Sound Gaited Horsemanship clinics across the country helping horses develop their natural gaits. Visit Julie at www.soundgait- edhorsemanship.com


Mandy Pret y is a lifelong


horsewoman who is dedicated to promoting respect ul and biome- chanically functional rid- ing, training and teaching principles to gaited and non-gaited horse owners. She has worked with Ice- landic horses all her life but rides and trains all breeds and disciplines, teaching horsemanship and riding clinics internationally as a practitioner of the Tel- lington TTouch Method and Connected Riding. Visit Mandy at www. intouchwithyourhorse.com


WWW.TRAILBLAZERMAGAZINE.US • June 2012 | 29


THE EXPERTS


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