What’s Different About Gaited Horses?

Do gaited horses need to be ridden differently than “regular” horses? Should they be trained differently?

These are questions I’m often asked, so I went to the expert – Larry Whitesell of Gaited Horsemanship.


My focus as a trainer has been on understanding and solving behavior problems versus training for peak performance or competitive success. A benefit of this focus on behavior problems for me is I can work with a variety of horses.

I get to ride all shapes, sizes, and breeds, from ponies to drafts, and also work with horses of all disciplines – reiners, trail horses, jumpers, fox hunters, and dressage horses. Thoroughbreds to Quarter horses, Percherons, Paints, Mustangs, Welsh Ponies, the list goes on… I also occasionally work with different gaited breeds, and I have always had a special fascination with gaited horses since many of my early riding days and long-distance riding was on two Rocky Mountain mares.

With the gaited horses that have come here to my farm for training, my focus was usually not on their gait, but on working through other problems. However, as I’ve recognized the large role that movement and self-carriage play in emotion, and therefore in any behavior, I began to ask more questions about the best way to help gaited horses, especially those whose owners wanted to ride a very nice smooth gait.

This led me to a clinic and interview with gaited horse trainer, Larry Whitesell, and co-trainer Russel Terry.

Hit play below to watch the interview and learn the biggest misconceptions around riding gaited horses.

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