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Old 07-07-2008, 08:44 AM  
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Getting a Missouri Fox Trotter to fox trot

I own a 19year old MFT who does not fox trot! He has a great walk, lovely canter, but the roughest gait (which should be a fox trot) I have ever ridden. I think most of the problem is he has been a beginners horse for so long and gotten away with things that he does not fox trot. Any suggestions for trying to smooth him out?
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Old 07-07-2008, 08:56 AM  
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When he should be "foxtrotting" and he is being rough... he's dog trotting.


Use both legs to push him up to speed, then use slight contact with your bit just enought to "hold" him in the foxtrot, you'll know it when he does it... It should be smooth and if you listen to the "sound" of him going, it should match the rythem of "hunkameat two potatoe, hunkameat two potatoe"...

Hope that helps, sometimes if they have gotten by with dog trotting for to long it can be a little pain to get them in it and to HOld the gait again.... Good luck and Pm me if you have any other questins I might be able to help with.
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Old 07-07-2008, 09:01 AM  
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Thanks!. I was hoping you would catch this one. I think it is like trying to teach an old dog a new trick. I have tried pushing him with my legs and collecting him - works for about 5 steps and then back to the rough. He is my daughter's and husband's ride and they do not try to get him into gait. So I hop on and try. Will have to get them to work on it also. Patience is the key. Wish me luck. I will probably be asking more questions.
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Old 07-07-2008, 09:05 AM  
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Just remember, if he's not had to do it in a long time, it's gonna take some time before he can hold it for longer periods of time again.

Most foxtrotters pick up the run walk easily on thier own, and it's also very smooth ride, you might try that
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Old 07-07-2008, 09:27 AM  
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I was riding him last night and could get him into the running walk. Any faster and he shifted into the dog trot. And he is 19 so this is definitely going to be a challenge!
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Old 07-07-2008, 09:35 AM  
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Many MFT do in fact a running walk rather than a fox trot. They interbred the two for so long that the classic fox trot can be elusive for many registered MFT. If he does a running walk and you would like to encourage that (I know not squat about getting them to fox trot) - You might work him on hills, make him walk up the hill (not gallop like he would like to) and dig in and walk, or soft ground - we find even really tall grass makes them work a little harder. Again, take a hold of his mouth and drive with your legs - take the few successful steps you get and if he gets rough, slow him back down and try again. He may just have to build the muscles to do the gait.

Friends of ours believe in pushing them past the pace to get them into gait - may be a tad unconventional, but works for them. We have a young TWH that we are working on setting his gait - he has a really big back end, but does not use his front well - it was suggested that we gallop him down hill (where he is really having to reach with this front) and then gait him back up the hill. Make him tired and make it eaiser to do the right then than the wrong. Again, a tad unconventional, but seems to be working. You might try many different things until you find the one that works for your guy.
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Old 07-07-2008, 12:30 PM  
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Cleo's foxtrot is the roughest ride ever, I hate it. She does have a wonderful extended running walk which I could ride all day.

In addition to Cascy's suggestions, depending on how your foxtrotter was trained......touch his neck right along his mane right in front of the saddle pad and see if he changes gears. If I touch Cleo there she foxtrots, but it all depends on how your horse was trained. Cascy do you know what Im talking about???
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Old 07-07-2008, 12:50 PM  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by soccer mom View Post
Thanks!. I was hoping you would catch this one. I think it is like trying to teach an old dog a new trick. I have tried pushing him with my legs and collecting him - works for about 5 steps and then back to the rough. He is my daughter's and husband's ride and they do not try to get him into gait. So I hop on and try. Will have to get them to work on it also. Patience is the key. Wish me luck. I will probably be asking more questions.
According to this post you're not actually having trouble getting him into the gait. The problem is that the horse is out of condition. Be glad for the 5 steps, then when he breaks slow down or stop him and ask for it again. You may have to go 5 steps at a time until he is conditioned to hold that gait for the whole ride. The thing is that you will have to build him up to holding the gait, you won't just be able to give him the proper cue and he will gait for hours. Just as I couldn't tell you to run from georgia to New York and you be able to, he's not going to be able to hold the gait right away.
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Old 07-07-2008, 03:23 PM  
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I never rode a gaited horse until April 2006 when I bought my TWH. He is my glide ride. We purchased Cheerio mostly for his temperament - anyone can ride him and he takes good care of his rider. I realize that gaits between different breeds will be different. Maybe I am just not experienced enough and I could be cueing him incorrectly. I did ride him with a snaffle bit and got lots of head shake with his run walk. I will keep trying and keep all of you posted. Thanks for all of the suggestions.
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Old 07-07-2008, 05:15 PM  
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head "bobing" is natural for gaited horses

And scrapy, I don't know if that's a "show horse" type thing or not, never got into showing, just trails so I couldn't tell you.

I also never have ridden a foxtrotter in snaffle, although I don't know if that would cause issues or not...

There is a big difference in a smooth trail type foxtrot and the "showy" foxtrot which to me does not look to be nearly as comfortable... Same with any breed I guess...

Soccermom, is there anyone that knows gaited horses that can "watch" you? It's really hard to say without seeing it in person
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Old 07-07-2008, 05:16 PM  
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Also soccermom, you might look into some rythem beads, sometimes it can help a horse associate the "beat" with the right gait and understand what you are asking of them, it can also help the ridder sometimes
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Old 07-07-2008, 09:57 PM  
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My daughter usually rides him in a gaited horse bit. I tried the snaffle because I needed to put so much pressure on the reins to try to get him to collect. Anyway, I rode him again tonight and actually got the fox trot and he held it for 2 laps around the arena. It was quite a workout for me also pushing him with my legs. Now that I know he can do it, will work on the endurance. Hopefully I will not need to keep the leg pressure on so much. If I ride tomorrow, I will go back to the other bit. He is so differnt from my TWH. I barely squeeze and he goes. Thanks for all of your help. Might look into those rythmn beads also. Wasn't someone on HT making them?
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Old 07-07-2008, 10:00 PM  
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Maybe I can video my daughter riding him and attempt to post it. I have enought trouble with stills!
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Old 07-07-2008, 10:21 PM  
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Videos upload to photobucket and post to HT the same way
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Old 07-12-2008, 11:59 AM  
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Thanks everyone for all of your suggestions. I made some ryhthmn beads and last night I really got him to move out smoothly. Rode for about 40 min. We were both sweaty but it was a good ride. Hopefully I can train my hubby and daught how to collect him and get him to move out.
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