The Gaited Horse Bible
by Brenda Imus
Buying, Training, and Riding Naturally Gaited Horses—Humane Techniques for Conscientious Horsemen
The gaited horse—bred and trained to perform smooth-to-ride, ground-covering alternative gaits (not the trot/jog or canter/lope) that can often be sustained long distances and sometimes at astounding speeds—has steadily gained mainstream popularity as a pleasure or trail mount, in addition to its traditional status as a top-notch show-ring competitor. While generations of careful breeding have instilled a natural ability to “gait” in certain breeds, the “smooth saddle gaits” are not necessarily automatic. This means that riders, whether exploring the backcountry or vying for a championship ribbon, need to train their gaited horse to be able to perform, and then school him to perform well, consistently, and without doing damage to his body.
“The best person to develop your gaited horse’s smooth saddle gaits is you!” writes renowned gaited-horse trainer and clinician Brenda Imus in The Gaited Horse Bible. “You need to learn only a few basic principles to develop and maintain your horse’s gaits. As you do, you will build an important relationship with him (as well as saving trainer’s fees). It’s a ‘win-win’ situation all the way around.”
From the simplest, clearest explanation of the “Gait Spectrum” you’ll find, to a discussion of gaited horse breeds (their history, characteristics, and uses) and gaits (running walk, rack, fox trot, tolt, trocha, for example), to an in-depth study of conformation, movement, and soundness—it’s all in this terrific resources. Year-by-year basic training and advanced schooling, including flexion, collection, and lateral work to improve natural gaiting ability, is followed by a superb problem-solving section that features simple exercises for alleviating common behavioral problems, avoiding and correcting physical issues, and fixing deviations in a horse’s smooth gaits. With a summary of bridles, bits, saddle fit and back dynamics, as well as optimal shoeing and trimming for gaited horses, The Gaited Horse Bible is the perfect how-to package for every gaited horse rider and owner.
BRENDA IMUS is the world’s most widely recognized authority on the subject of gaited riding horses, actively traveling throughout the US and Canada teaching and presenting at clinics and expositions. She is the author of two books and the gaited horse column for Trail Rider magazine, and has served as a consultant for EQUUS magazine. In addition to her teaching and writing, she designed the Imus 4–Beat saddle built specifically to accommodate the needs of gaited horses and improve their overall performance. She and her husband breed and train a variety of gaited horses on their farm in southwestern New York State.