Saddlebreds...3 gaited or 5 gaited? training?

Discussion in 'Horse Training' started by ImDunToImpress, Oct 15, 2009.

  1. ImDunToImpress

    ImDunToImpress Senior Member

    Nov 19, 2008
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    Saddlebred owners/trainers!

    How can you tell if a saddlebred is naturally 3 gaited, or 5 gaited?

    I always wondered about this...saddlebreds are classified as "gaited" but I have never rode one that is smooth like a TWH. Can a saddlebred actually be smooth gaited like a TWH, or are they simply classified as gaited because they can have special gaits such as the rack, or slow gait?

    The guy I almost bought a year ago was just walk, trot, canter. Very choppy trot. So he must have been 3 gaited? He was young too though, maybe he was 5 gaited but needed a professional trainer?

    just curious!
  2. GotaDunQH

    GotaDunQH Senior Member

    Dec 19, 2008
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    The choppiness of the trot has nothing to do with the horse being classified as a "3 gaited" or "5 gaited" ASB. It has to do with conformation and training. ASB's are built very straight and upright in the front, hence their motion is "up" and they have a lot of "action". Some ASB's are referred to as "low backed" as well which makes their trot bouncier. A god friend of mine showed ASB's so I learned a thing or two about them from her trainer and going to her shows. There is one thing I noticed that they don't do (or didn't do back then) was to train the horse to use their backs well by lifting and rounding.

  3. Jrchloe

    Jrchloe Senior Member

    Apr 15, 2008
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    All Saddlebreds are 3 gaited. Everyone. They are not considered gaited horses. They are a breed that has the ability to be trained to gait because of their ancestors. A Saddlebred that is strong enough and built correctly for the purpose (and thats a small amount, think linebacker in football) are able to be trained to slow gait and rack and hold it for any length of time. But even a 5 gaited horse MUST walk, trot, and canter correctly to the definition of the gait along with the 2 taught, man-made gaits.

    Now a well trained, strong, well built ideal canditate to be taught how to do the slow gait and rack will be very smooth while gaiting.
  4. meljean

    meljean Senior Member

    Oct 31, 2006
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    As the great Saddlebred trainer, Dale Pugh said, "If you listen to the horse, the horse will tell you what it wants to be" and that was in response to just your question.

    They have to have a shuffle to them, some of them will pick it up easily and some of them can rack, but need to be shod just right, and many times that messes up their trot.
    They will do a singlefoot gait, that is smooth and comes naturally, it is a gliding motion, and comfortable, and a lot of the foals in the pasture will fall into it naturally. And there are some horses that can rack and slow gait, but just do better in the 3-gaited division. Go to the American Saddle Horse museum website, and read the history of the breed, it has excellent information. The great Rex McDonald was known to do a shuffle out of the ring, and he was 5 gaited. The shows back at the turn of the last century, 1900 that is, had combination classes, where the horses were brought in Fine Harness, and after competing in Harness, they were stripped and saddled and shown 5-gaited. Some classes lasted well over an hour. They are wonderfully agile and versatile horses.

    And they are considered gaited horses, as like I said, you can buy one and just train for a backyard horse, and be out riding down a hill and the horse will fall into a shuffle.

    The old show standards for Saddlebreds was the ability to do the three gaits, plus one of the Saddle gaits, running walk, fox trot, rack, or pace. The pace is not like the Standardbreds do but a lateral shuffle, or amble, and that was enough when the breed was getting organized to have your horse registered as a Saddlebred.

    For more information, you can also go to the American Saddlebred Horse Association website. It has lots of information, and is very interesting.

    My mother and her two sisters rode to school on a son of Rex McDonalds, who would shuffle off to school each morning with three little girls riding him.
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2009
  5. Kelsey5674

    Kelsey5674 Senior Member

    Nov 2, 2008
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    What she said.
    Saddlebreds are supposed to be naturally gaited if you will. People arn't supposed to force a horse to rack or slow gait. Sometimes when I ride a young horse they will go into a shuffle if I get my hands too high or shake in there mouth a little bit.
    I am a firm believer that the horse will tell you what he or she wants to do. If they are racking in the field, on the long lines, under saddle and such than they want to do it. You want a horse to like there job.

    I pick five gaited horses by style and strength. I want a fast horse with speed, strong and to do it and happy to do it. Some horses that are five gaited need to be taught to trot and stop racking all the time. I want a good strong and steady trot. A lot of go forward but than under control and not running around the ring. There is a fine line in that. If a horse does not like you bouncing in there mouth when there young or comes up lame after racking training or seems "poor" or sour about it than mabye they need to be three gaited for the shows.

    Whew. Ok I hope that answers your question.

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