My Love For Gaited Horses

The first time I rode a gaited horse it was the mid 60’s. I was a child in love with all horses, but this one, Gracie, moved so differently. I thought there was something wrong with her. This is a typical response for riders unfamiliar with the movement of a gaited horse. I tried to get her to trot but of course she was doing who knows what under me. I later learned that she was a Walker. They moved laterally in their intermediate gait, a flat walk. No one on the ranch knew how to ask her to do what she was bred to do so I sought out information on Walkers. I found some literature regarding how they were trained and ridden back in those years and I could not believe what I was reading. Stacks, chains, and soring, it was awful. I vowed never to get involved in such things with such beautiful animals.

It was many years later that I would see other Walkers and some Missouri Fox Trotters. As a California State Horsemen Association licensed show judge, I would see these horses shown in the open division of the state open all breed shows and was taken by their smooth way of going. Still, there weren’t enough of them on the west coast to keep a barn full of gaited horses in training, or a show circuit specifically for them. With the lack of exposure to gaited horses, my interest stayed with the ever prevalent Quarter Horse, Arabian, Morgan and various other breeds.

In the late 90’s I started to see more gaited horses out here on the west coast. They say it was the “over forty” riders that were seeking these “smooth gaited” breeds. The Paso and the Walkers and several Fox Trotters came to me for training. The way they moved was different and smooth. Being part of the “over forty” crowd I gained a new appreciation for these horses. They were so much smoother to ride but none of which were as smooth as the Mountain Horses.

Rockin' Country Sunday
Bev's Mare, Country Venture, Carson City, Nevada 2009

I was given a unique opportunity to work for a top breeder of the Rocky Mountain Horse. While getting to know these horses I was taken to Kentucky and given time to work with some of the top trainers and top horses in the breed industry. I attended and studied several different class “A” shows, came back to California and participated in the show circuit on the west coast, training and riding to top honors.

Bev on The Colonel
The Colonel, RMH gelding with Bev in an Exhibition in
Eugene, Oregon 2003
Bev on Lady Katherine
Lady Katherine, RMHA Mare with Bev showing
Western Pleasure in Carson City, NV. 2002

My focus over the last 18 years has been on the Mountain Horse. Mountain horses are naturally gaited, have a very quiet disposition as a rule. They learn quickly, like to please, and are athletic, versatile, and wonderful on the trail or in the show ring. Mountain Horses are just a pleasure to be around.

My approach to the training of these horses is the same for all horses. Quiet, clear communication expressed using natural horsemanship basics. In my experience the horse responds both reasonably and willingly to training that respect their instincts. Working with the horse from the ground up helps to develop confidence and respect that transfers to under saddle work.

Teaching riders how to communicate effectively, coming from a background of Western, English or Dressage is easy for me, as I know the terminology riders are used to hearing and I can translate what they know to what they need to know to be successful riders with a gaited horse.

Member: Friends of Sound Horses (FOSH)
Rocky Mountain Horse Association (RMHA)
Kentucky Mountain Saddle Horse Association (KMSHA)
United Mountain Horse/American Gaited Mountain Horse Assoc. (UMH/AGMHA)

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