Fitting a gaited horse can be a challenge, so how do you know if your horse would be right in a gaited saddle. There are several breeds of horses that would benefit from the design of the gaited saddle. These horses need the additional flexibility and “A” shape of the saddle in order to enhance and not hinder their natural ambling gaits.
The Saddlebred stands between 15 and 17 hands. They are defined by their long and arched neck, sloping shoulders and high withers. The Saddlebred has a high set head which is finely sculpted and topped with close set ears. They have a short and level back with a wide ribcage and smooth strong muscles. Saddlebreds tend to be spirited mounts with a gentle nature. They come in any color variety including pinto. Considered a gaited breed the Saddlebred is trained to perform four-beated ambling gaits which include the “slow gait” and the rack. The Saddlebred has garnered attention in the show ring in saddleseat, English disciplines, combined driving, western pleasure. and they even appeared on the big screen in the movie industry. So when looking for a saddle for your Saddlebred, consider a gaited saddle to aid in the “slow gait” and rack movements.
Tennessee Walking Horse:
The Tennessee Walking Horse stands between 15 and 16 hands. Walkers have medium length necks that are set upright to their shoulders, very much exhibiting the “A” shape. They typically have high withers and straight heads with very large expressive eyes. Their backs are short or medium in length and they have long and angled hindquarters. The Walker is a popular riding horse because of their clam demeanor, sure-footedness, and their smooth gaits. There unique four-beated “running walk” and flashy movement makes the Tennessee Walking Horse popular among pleasure and trail riders, as well as in the show ring. A gaited saddle which is designed with a “A” shape would be a good fit for your Tennessee Walker and allow the additional shoulder movement for the “running walk”.
The Missouri Fox Trotter:
The Missouri Fox Trotter stands between 14 and 16 hands. The Fox Trotter is defined by a fine head, high set neck, sloping shoulders, high withers, and a short back. The breed is desired for its cow sense, stamina, and smooth gaits. The Missouri Fox Trotter is popular among trail riders and ranch workers. This mid-sized breed performs an ambling gait know as the “fox trot”, which gives the Fox Trotter its smooth reputation. So when looking for a saddle for your Fox Trotter consider a gaited saddle that will allow more range of motion to ensure that your horse can move as smoothly as his gait.
The Icelandic Horse:
The Icelandic Horse is small and typically stands between 13 and 14 hands. The Icelandic is compact and sturdy and able to carry a disproportionate weight for their size. The breed is defined by its sloped shoulder and short and steeply angled croup. The Icelandic Horse is desired for its longevity and hardiness. The breed is enjoyed by pleasure riders, show riders, race riders, and still in its native country as a working farm animal. The Icelandic Horse performs two additional gaits to the traditional walk, trot, and canter. The tölt is a four-beat ambling gait, known for its speed and ground cover. The second gait is the “flying pace”, which is used in pacing races where horses can reach speeds up to 30 miles per hour. When looking to fit your Icelandic Horse for a saddle, consider the gaited saddle which will aid it the horse's natural movement.
The Peruvian Horse or Peruvian Paso typically stands between 14.1 and 15.2 hands. The Peruvian Horse has a high set neck, sloping shoulders, low tail set, short to medium back, and slightly curved ears. Desired by pleasure riders seeking a smooth ride, the Peruvian Horse has two additional gaits in place of the traditional trot. The first gait is known as the paso llano, this is a four-beat gait of equal beats and rhythm. The second gait is the sobreandano, which is faster and beat s are lateral with a pause between the forefoot of one side and the rear of the other side. A gaited saddle would complete the smooth ride for the Peruvian Horse owner.
The Paso Fino stands between 13 and 15.2 hands. The Paso Fino has a high set neck, short back, and broad and sloped at the coup. The Paso Fino performs in may different disciplines, but is most desired by trail riders for their extremely smooth gait. The Paso Fino is able to perform three additional gaits, which include the classic fino, the paso corto, and paso largo. The classic fino is a collected gait with rapid footfalls that covers very little ground. This gait is mainly reserved for the show ring. The paso corto is more extended than the classic fino and mainly used on trail rides for a smooth ride. The paso largo is a fast lateral four-beat gait that reaches similar speeds of the canter. Paso Finos are very versatile and a gaited saddle would aid in their freedom of movement.
The Rocky Mountain Horse:
The Rocky Mountain Horse typically stands between 14.2 and 16 hands. This breed is defined by a medium build, easy-going temperament, and “silver dapple” gene on a black coat. This “silver dapple” gene is most commonly seen as a “chocolate” coat color with flaxen mane and tail. The Rocky Mountain Horse exhibits an a four-beat ambling gait know as the “single foot”. They are popular among many disciplines, but are mainly used in trail riding and working cattle. When looking for a saddle for your Rocky Mountain Horse, consider a gaited saddle.
The Spotted Saddle Horse:
The Spotted Saddle Horse typically stands between 14.3 and 16 hands. Developed from many different breeds the Spotted Saddle Horse comes in a variety of body types. They are known for their quiet temperament and pinto coloring. The Spotted Saddle Horse performs several four-beat ambling gaits in place of the traditional trot. These gaits include the flat walk, running walk, rack, and some Spotted Saddles Horses can perform the speed rack. The Spotted Saddle Horse is popular in the show ring and the trails. When considering a saddle for your Spotted Saddle Horse, look at the gaited saddle which will allow your horse more freedom in his ambling gaits.
So if you are an owner of a gaited horse and looking for a saddle to enhance in their ambling gaits consider a gaited saddle. For details about a gaited saddles refer to article, “What is a gaited saddle?”
Other gaited horse breeds not included in this article but would benefit from a gaited saddle include:
Afikan Saalperd, Albanian Myzeqea, Alter Horse, American Gaited Pony, American Walking Pony, Asturian, Basuto, Breton, Campolina, Canadian Horse, Canadian Pacer, Cape Horse, Cayuse Indian Pony, Chamurthi, Costeño, Criollo, Datong, Deliboz, Florida Cracker Horse, Gaited Morgan Horse, Galiceño, Lac La Croix Indian Pony, Mangalarga Marchador, Marwari, McCurdy Plantation Horse, Montana Traveler, Nakota Horse, National Show Horse, Nez Perce Horse, North American Single Footing Horse, Racking Horse, Spanish Mustang, Standardbred, Tiger Horse, Virginia Pocket Horse, Orlove Trotter, Pantaneiro, Marsh Horse, Tennuvian, and Walkaloosa.