Tell me about "Gaited" horses

Georgetown, TX(Zone 8a)

I've never been around people who had them, so I'm not clear on exactly what it means. My understanding is that it's like a 4th gait that certain breeds of horses have over and above walk, trot and lope/canter. I also understand that it's a really comfortable ride, but I don't know exactly what it looks/feels like. Is it also called "single footing" or is that something else?

I saw Cajun's video of Ben moving around inside the barn, but I couldn't really tell what he was doing. Can somebody link me to other vids of horses showing what it's all about?

Also, since I've been on this forum, I've heard a couple of abbreviations for horse breeds that I didn't know. What's NSH? I'm guessing something Saddle Horse?

Huron, OH(Zone 5b)

Tennesse Walkers are gaited too, they don't usually trot. They walk, run walk and canter.
NHS is for National Show Horse, arab/standard bred cross.
That's all I know.

Richmond, TX

I'm curious too. I've ridden Walking Horses and 5 gaited Saddlebreds briefly in the past, but there are so many other breeds with extra gaits. What, for example, is the difference in the walkers' running walk and the Paso Finos' gait - also 4 beats? Then there is the tolt (sp?) and the foxtrot and the amble... Can anyone explain?

Fuquay-Varina, NC(Zone 7a)

I'm sure Cajun will "amble" in here eventually and explain it all a bit, but you might have a better time if you just google "gaited horses" and read about the different gaits.

Basically, these are mostly lateral gaits that the horse uses instead of the trot which is a diagonal gait. Some of these gaits come naturally, some have to be taught. The difference between all of them has to do with the order and timing of the foot fall.

Huron, OH(Zone 5b)

Since we have a Paso and a TW at the barn where we board, I know their gaits are different. The running walk is a different speed than their flat walk. The Paso gait looks like a funky trot.

(Sheryl) Gainesboro, TN(Zone 6b)

... although the Paso will have a different gait depending on whether they're a Paso Fino or a Peruvian Paso - the PP has a gait called a terminando, very nice to watch as well as ride.

Peeper, as far as how it feels, it's kinda like the difference between a working trot and a canter - all of a sudden you move into this flowing motion, it's very pleasant, almost unreal when you first experience it.

We had another thread somewhere where people went through a bunch of the gaited breeds; I certainly never knew there were so many.

Social Circle, GA(Zone 8a)

An NSH is a saddlebred arabian cross. If it includes standardbreds, that's new and news to me! My neighbor breeds them and the brood mares are all saddlebreds and the sires are all arab.

Cajun and a few others - DD has a TWH - ..............can tell you about the gaits! OH Pagan has a TWH mare too!

This message was edited May 30, 2009 9:34 PM

(Sheryl) Gainesboro, TN(Zone 6b)

And a Spotted Saddle Horse - Sass.

Is Thump a TWH?

Social Circle, GA(Zone 8a)

NOW....tell ME about spotted saddle horses, because pinto saddlebreds are also called spotted saddle horses. SO what is the difference between a saddlebred and a SSH or a TWH???? Heat?

Huron, OH(Zone 5b)

Sorry Jenks, I ment saddlebred crossed with arab. I sometimes get the two mixed up as I haven't seen either.(saddlebred and standard bred) Walkers aren't supposed to trot, they walk. Saddlebreds do trot.( as far as I know)

This message was edited May 30, 2009 10:09 PM

Social Circle, GA(Zone 8a)

Ah cool! No sweat J2

Thump is a TWH xQH I think? With gait?

Richmond, TX

Are the National Show Horses bred from both the three and the five gaited Saddlebreds? Thus making some of them gaited too? And is there a formula for the cross: Arab stallion x Saddlebred mare? (As Jenks' neighbor does) Or is the reverse also done? Must they be half and half, or can they be 1/4, 3/4 like an Anglo Arab? Obviously I find "gaitedness" an interesting question; any information is appreciated.

(Sheryl) Gainesboro, TN(Zone 6b)

Honestly Jenksers, no idea other than they are gaited and have spots! For all I knew Sass could be a TWH, except she's my only pony with papers (PWP, sol).

Huron, OH(Zone 5b)

I talked with a girl at the barn that has walkers. She says the spotted walkers are smaller and less robust in build. I heard peple are after the color more than anything else.(sad) I guess they must be crosses to give the color and the gaits.

South Hamilton, MA

I never bred horses, but we used to do cocker spaniels & inlaws bred labradors. So I know that if any trait gets to be too fashionable, the entire breed suffers. I am sure that this would apply to horses as well. I saw the saddlebreds at the WI state fair as a child, also hackneys both horses & ponies as 'fine harness' classes. I'm sure that the hackneys trot so are not gaited, but they too could become victims of what is in fashion.

Huron, OH(Zone 5b)

Yes, hackneys trot(I've ridden the ponies)

South Hamilton, MA

So I know, even grumpy ones like 'Tea Time'. I was thinking of their action & knowing that they also could be subject to fads, like what is said about the spotted gaited horses.

Campobello, SC(Zone 7a)

Thump is TWH x QH and only gaits when no one's on him and he's mad at me and trying to prove a point. Buddy, Ted's horse, is a TWH and I told Ted this morning as soon as he finds Thump a new home for me (I'm completely done with him, finis, kaput!), I'll take Buddy back. Bud is retired so I probably won't ride him, just give him a retirement home but I've ridden him and there was absolutely nothing like it. Well, yeah, I think I did describe it after I rode him that one time. Something to the effect that I needed a cig. ;-p Oh, and if you could have seen the look on my SIL's face the day she rode Buddy, it was priceless.
Abby rode the Icelandic that has the tolt, I think it's called, and it didn't look as funny as the TWH gait does to me, but I could tell it was smooth because she kept forgetting to post. A guy Ted rides with has a little paso mare that I absolutely adore. She's about Joey's size. Not sure if it's her temperament or her size I love best.
That's all I know about gaited.

South Hamilton, MA

Does the Icelandic always do the tolt? or can they trot also?

Fuquay-Varina, NC(Zone 7a)

icelandics can be 5-gaited: walk, trot, canter, pace, and tolt

South Hamilton, MA

That will show the bigger guys what a pony can do.

Social Circle, GA(Zone 8a)

Are the National Show Horses bred from both the three and the five gaited Saddlebreds? Yes both, but for the arabian folks (those who breed them to show in arab shows) the goal is to get a park horse usually, so....I don't attend NSH shows so I don't know much....

Thus making some of them gaited too? Yes

And is there a formula for the cross: Arab stallion x Saddlebred mare? (As Jenks' neighbor does) Or is the reverse also done? the reverse is done too, but with gaited arabian mares only. I find that babies tend to be more like the mare. I hear (don't know) that using a linebred sire will sometimes make a baby more like the stallion than the mare,'s so much more obvious because the two being bred are SO different in appearance that it's more noticeable.

Must they be half and half, or can they be 1/4, 3/4 like an Anglo Arab? For the arabian registry, they are like the anglos, the NSH registry says:
II. Eligible Broodmares

Breeders can use three breeds of mares to produce National Show Horses. Arabians, Saddlebreds and National Show Horses can be used to produce NSH foals when bred to the appropriate breed of stallion. Only these breeds of mares are eligible.

A. Eligibility

The following broodmares are eligible to produce registerable National Show Horses. The resultant horse is only eligible when the mare is bred to the appropriate stallion such that the foal possesses a minimum of 25% but less than 100% Arabian blood, as indicated below.

1. NSHR registered mares:

a. Registered National Show Horse mares with 50% or more Arabian blood may be bred to:

i) Registered National Show Horse stallion;

ii) Arabian stallion;

iii) Saddlebred stallion.

(See section I Stallion Nomination and Fees.)

b. Registered National Show Horse mares with less than 50% Arabian blood may be bred to:

i) Registered National Show Horse stallion;

ii) Arabian stallion.

(See section I Stallion Nomination and Fees.)

2. American Saddlebred mares registered with the American Saddlebred Horse Association, Inc. or the Saddlebred Horse Association of Canada are eligible and must be registered in the name of the person applying as owner of the foal. ASHA and/or SHAC registered mares may be bred to:

a. Registered National Show Horse stallion with 50% or more Arabian blood;

b. Arabian stallion.

(See section I Stallion Nomination and Fees.)

3. Arabian mares registered with the Arabian Horse Association or the Canadian Arabian Registry, Inc. or the World Arabian Horse Organization (WAHO) are eligible and must be registered in the name of the person applying as owner of the foal. AHA or CAHR or WAHO registered mares may be bred to:

a. Registered National Show Horse stallion;

b. Saddlebred stallion.

(See section I Stallion Nomination and Fees).

4. Effective with foals born in 1999, all mares must have blood type/DNA information on file with the NSHR prior to registration of foals.

B. Rebreeding to a Different Stallion

Those mares not involved as donor mares in an embryo transfer program are required to wait 42 days before being bred to a different stallion.

C. Breeder of Record

The breeder of a horse is the owner of the dam at the time of service. Individuals using leased mares in the production of National Show Horses may be listed as the breeder of record by having the owner of the dam at the time of service complete the "Breeder Of Record" portion of an application for registration.

Obviously I find "gaitedness" an interesting question; any information is appreciated.

This message was edited Jun 1, 2009 4:39 PM

Biggs, KY(Zone 6a)

I have been wiped out for a few days. I'd like to contribute to this thread with the little I know, but I'll have to wait until I feel better. Right now I'm just piddling on the 'puter.

I think this is a clip of Knock riding Godiva. She does a slow rack. Here it's referred to as a saddle rack or a saddle gait.

Sorry. I forgot I had to post it through photo bucket. I'll try again later.

This message was edited Jun 1, 2009 10:11 PM

Thumbnail by CajuninKy
Georgetown, TX(Zone 8a)

Wow, thanks for all the replies! I had no idea there were so many different gaits, much less different breeds that are gaited! Very interesting. I'll have to Google or check YouTube for some vids.

Biggs, KY(Zone 6a)

When you google, skip over that padded walking stuff. It's cruel and so over exagerated. The breed is so much better and more beautiful than that.

Shippensburg, PA

Hi everyone. I just discovered Dave's Garden and have been enjoying the posts here. I have two old style Morgan horses and from what I've learned Morgans are the original American gaited horse. Of my two Frisco, my gelding is a gaiting fool, he doesn't trot at all. Haiku, his half sister has a beautiful 4 beat walk, a rocking horse canter/gallop and a trot that will break bones. She is vertical, he's horizontal. She will do a beautiful slow running walk if encouraged...I skip from that to the canter...her brother never breaks his gait and can meet her speed.

Anyway, they used the Morgan to create more than a few of the gaited breeds.

I've ridden TWH and had the pleasure of the use of a single foot. They are completely different...the single foot is a completely natural, no bounce mover...she had a flat canter though...but she was a beaut. The TWH was a big gangly horse that when pushed onto the bit went into a wonderful running walk. I learned you have to sit flat in the saddle and lean a little back from vertical (no english style forward seat) and use your hands to set their head and get them onto the bit. When all is right they round their back and move can feel the change.

Gaited horses can cover the miles much faster than horses that aren' can ride for miles and they don't slow down and you don't get beat up.

Both of the gaits on these two horses were different from my Frisco's gait...he's a charger, and looks it. lol A showoff would be one way to describe him. However, I haven't ridden one with a rocking horse canter...there is something to be said for a horse that floats too.

Gaited horses are wonderful for old bones like mine.

This message was edited Jun 16, 2009 1:15 AM

Huron, OH(Zone 5b)

The point of the gaited horse, like the TWH was to cover large amounts of ground in a day.

(Sheryl) Gainesboro, TN(Zone 6b)

Welcome, KJane, glad to hear from you, hope to hear more! Of course, we'd love to see pictures, too!

Wait until Drivenbonkers sees that you have Morgans - I believe they're her favorite, or at least one of 'em.

Richmond, TX

I rode friend's Arab stallion that would occasionally go into some four-beat gait, which one I don't know. His owner said that certain families of Arabians were gaited, or used to be. Does anyone know anything about gaited Arabs?

South Hamilton, MA

My horse was a Morgan cross with a 'trappy' trot that may have been age, a rocking chair canter & a sense of humor--he would blow through his nostrils to startle the cat. Nothing to do with gaited, but he was a dear.

(Sheryl) Gainesboro, TN(Zone 6b)


Shippensburg, PA

Jumper you're correct and I guess that's why the TWH is called a Plantation Walker...if I recall correctly. Gaited horses are great for covering a lot of ground in style and comfort.

Thanks for the welcome Pagancat (great name) and I'll see about getting some pics to post for you.

I've never heard of a gaited Arab...that would be pretty cool. I knew someone that had a beautiful Spanish Arab, big athletic horse with a sweet personality.

Morgan crosses are nice. I know in California Morabs are very popular. Could you tell me what a "trappy" trot is? I love a horse with personality and a sense of humor. Sometimes Frisco thought his jokes were pretty funny but I know one cat he picked up by the tale that thought otherwise.

I just got in from a nightmare...our horses got out (someone didn't latch the gate..) and they were on the road, with traffic and finally ended up in a neighbors corn field and alfalfa field. Ever try to coax horses with apples that are in a field of corn and alfalfa? Yeah, you get the picture. Cheeky buggers...I was ready to have a nervous collapse. Fortunately lots of neighbors helped and while I never caught them Haiku headed for home at a run and took her brother with her. We had cars and trucks parked on the side of the road in both directions so traffic was alerted and they ran back into their pasture without mishap.

Whew! I love my horses but I didn't want anyone to get hurt either. Lucky! I'm exhausted....

This message was edited Jun 16, 2009 8:19 PM

(Sheryl) Gainesboro, TN(Zone 6b)

Ugh - sounds horrendous! I bet they're still smacking their lips, those beasts - corn, alfalfa and apples, for dessert.....

I had almost the same incident - twice, embarrassingly enough. I couldn't figure out how the horses were doing it, but they were getting around the fence and gate to cross the road to the luscious stand of grass across the street (a 45mph road, yeah, right - you know how often *that* happens). Unfortunately the stand of grass is a graveyard (figures). Incredibly, I was able to easily herd them back across the street while the sheriff (ugh!) directed traffic. Simply amazing that no one got hurt. Gave a few of the folks a chuckle, no doubt!

KC Metro area, MO(Zone 6a)

Been there done that too many times!! One neighbor of mine used to forget to shut the gates and the horses being arabs and smart got out. One time they even ended up on the neighboring road.

My other neighbor used to have horses get out of the pasture where the fence would be down. They always ended up in my yard and I had to figure out how to get them home. Not easy to get a horse home that doesn't wanna budge. But when my mom came out there and told them to move boy they sure moved!! LOL.

Luckily I haven't had to do any of that for a few years. I hope I didn't just jinx myself!!

South Hamilton, MA

Trappy trot is shorter steps than usual. I think age, he was 18 when I got him & rode him into his mid 20s. Hewent through a fence one night also, knock on the door--do you have a horse, we almost hit him. Kids were small & asleep, DH working that night, so took flashlight & leadrope, walked along the highway!!! & found him munching grass in someone's yard. Led him home ok, all the time telling him through tears what I thought of him. He went through a wood fence, probably startled by something. Neighbor called the next morning & he had run into & bent her chainlink fence. Home owners paid for fence, but I was so relieved to have him all right.

Biggs, KY(Zone 6a)

I love my gaited horses. Only 2 of our 12 are not gaited. We have a mix of gaited breeds. The best of the lot is my TWH gelding, Shaq. Smooth as butter. And a lot of speed but he works up against the bit so I have to use a big bit on him. He was shown padded for years and they like them that way. Try as I might I have not been able to back him off to a smaller bit. He is a racking horse. All our gaited horses are racking horses but one. Buddy does a great running walk. Most of mine also have very smooth canters and only trot once in a great while if something is wrong with the equipment or the rider. LOL

I'm slowly making my way through a fantastic book by Lee Zeigler called "Easy-Gaited Horses". Gentle, humane methods for training and riding gaited pleasure horses. It's a great book and I am learning tons of stuff. I have 2 gaited foals I don't want to make any mistakes with so I'm learning all I can. I've started Tug on some stuff in the book and he is doing good. He just turned a year old. He is going to be awesome to handle and Ben is going to be a rider's dream. Ben is very young so he is just getting handling and manner lessons now.

Our farrier has Morabs and loves them. I have heard of a few Arab/Walker crosses but haven't seen them.

The gaited breeds are really making enroads into the endurance world. It doesn't suprise me at all. They can cover lots more ground at faster speeds for longer periods of time and it's easier on their bodies. Not to mention how much easier it is on the rider.
Kentucky Mountain Pleasure horses tend to be taller and longer so they are really good for long distances.

Tug and Knock yesterday.

Thumbnail by CajuninKy
Shippensburg, PA

Yeah they're smacking their lips and looking all smug, the buggers. Nothing worse than having horses on the road, I could tell some awful stories I know personally of bad outcomes...we are changing our gate latch tomorrow ASAP.

I was mowing the pasture today and my son opened the gate while I drove through...I reminded him to make sure the gate was latched, he said he did but it must not have been altogether latched and when Haiku went to rub on the gate W@@T, party time!!! I haven't had a loose horse in the last 15 years I'd guess...I can live without the experience, much longer I think (stress)

Frisco can open gates...he'll spend a lot of time jiggling and fiddling until he figures it out. We use chains on all our outside gates but that isn't good enough anymore. Any suggestions on gate latches?

I can talk horses all day, I've been crazy for horses all my life but had to wait until I was an adult and had the money and room to have them. I've been lucky to be able to have horses in my life all these years. Gaited horses have a special place in my heart, along with the heavy horses...gawd I love them too. If I could pull it off I'd be bringing rescues home, especially in this economy...many good horses looking for loving homes.

If you ever come across a good single foot, not too tall (I've never been a big fan of tall horses..LOL) let me know. I'm going to have to hand my Frisco off to my son to ride as I have an inner ear injury and when I get off balance I can't recover. Can you imagine?! I could ride anything, do anything, but I find I'm limited now and a good natured not too tall singlefoot would be a good horse for this old gal. I'll miss him because he and I have covered many miles together and he's a lot of horse.

I do have a cart but someone took a liking to my harness in my travels so I'll have to replace that. Maybe I'll start driving again.

Anyway, I'm a bit more relaxed now...I will go take the shower I missed and head for bed. Thanks for all the shared stories and infomation, I think I've found a new home...*grin*

Oh Tug is a beauty! How wonderful to be able to pass the love, and knowledge of horses on to a youngin...

Campobello, SC(Zone 7a)

My horses are out, on average, once a week here. grrrr. Thump tears down the fences. Last time, Thump busted the chain on the gate and took Joey and Lady with him. Found them across the road at the new neighbors. Joe was trying to figure out how to climb their front stairs to get in their front porch and say hi. Taking Joe was the last straw for me not to mention, neighbor was a bit pissy about them supposedly trampling and eating their flowers in front of the house. I didn't see any damage to the flowers, but bought them new one's anyway and apologized profusely. Less than a week later, his calf was in my front daylily bed and I returned him. Neighbor never said thank you or anything. When I knocked on his door and pointed to his calf in the front yard and told him I was returning his "wanderer", he said "oh, ok" and slammed the door in my face. Luckily, we are at the very end of a private drive that is surrounded by a valley/creek so the only way the horses can get to a main road is to go a mile down the dirt road and there are way too many interesting things between us and the main road to grab their attention.

Biggs, KY(Zone 6a)

When deer season started last year somebody kept cutting the fences at the farm so they could drive their ATVs into the pasture to hunt. Our 4 were getting out every other day it seemed. We finally got it stopped and had no more problem. They are all at the barn now and it's crowded but we know where they are.

South Hamilton, MA

Talk about self-centered people!!!

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