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Digital Subscriptions > Horse Illustrated > November 2018 > GAITS & FRAMES in a New LIGHT

GAITS & FRAMES in a New LIGHT

Train correct gaits for the western horse with Cowboy Dressage.

TRAINING

Adapted from the book Dressage the Cowboy Way

The walk, trot, and canter (or gallop) are the natural gaits of the horse. The jog and lope are cultivated gaits that were born on the ranches of the West. Instead of a fast ground-covering long trot, the shorter jog is better for slipping from pen to pen without spooking the cattle. The rockingchair lope that is comfortable to sit all day is the shortened form of the rougher and faster canter. When done correctly, working with the gaits and three “frames,” which we’ll tell you about, can help build balance and harmony in the horse.

Forward

We cannot speak of gaits without fi rst speaking of forward. Forward is that quality within the horse that is always asking to go.

A forward horse is one that is ready and willing to get something done. If you are consistently begging the horse to go forward, you are already behind the game. While the desire to move forward will vary by horse, it is our job as riders to always encourage the forward because the loss of it affects everything you try to do.

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