Larry Whitesell
Gaited Horsemanship
Gaited horses are genetically bred to gait and if this is true we shouldn’t need special bits, shoes, etc, to get them to do what their genes tell them. Trueness of movement and relaxation are closely linked. To maintain the softness of relaxation, the horse must stay within his realm of true movement. The training process should result in an enhanced gait, not one whose fundamental structure has been changed.

Over the years the concept that relaxation is paramount in all training has been obscured by a more mechanical style of training. Riders are often in a rush to make horses gait and neglect basic foundation work. Many riders attempt to obtain gait by driving the horse forcefully into the hand. Riding in lightness challenges the rider to train without creating false movement.

We must train our horse not only physically, but mentally and emotionally. Horses express their emotions often by tensing up physically against outside stimuli, including any form of contact with the handler. Getting relaxation so we can teach a correct response, instead of putting a piece of equipment on the horse to persuade him. Depending on the severity of the equipment and the rider’s hands or temperament, the horse reacts or responds. Horses that react are not as reliable or consistent as those that learn to respond to subtle cues. Crisis management is not management. It leaves many victims in its path.

Depending on the level of training you want your horse to have, most people should be able to put a “basic handle” on their horse. That means you should be able to get your horse to the right place at the right time with the least amount of effort.


2023 Rockey Mountain Horse Expo

February 23 - 26, 2023

Thank you for your interest in the Rockey Mountain Horse Expo. This year, we look forward to a fully operational onsite event at the National Western Complex in Denver, Colorado.

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