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boogie 004Boogie came to us a couple of weeks ago because Boogie lost his beat.  Boot Scootin Boogie is a competitive trail horse that has competed in NATRC trail rides that can be grueling and very demanding.  (www.natrc.org for more information)   Boogie and his rider both came in with a score 0f 99 out of 100 possible points in both conditioning and horsemanship in his most recent 3 day event at 4 years old.  However, Boogie was allowed to trot (a no-no with gaited horses).  But considering how talented this horse is it did not hurt his natural four beat gait at all.

This is the only reason I was lucky enough to have the honor of working with Boot Scootin Boogie.  Boogie will go well with a snaffle or a hackamore.  However he tends to trot with these types of headgear and mouthpieces.  So, back to the shank bit which worked wonders on him.  All he needed was a little reminder of what it is to do that perfect and smooth 4 beat gait that gaited people like so well.  So, Boogie and I went trail riding every day for two weeks in the woods, open fields and the nearby neighborhood at his perfectly smooth gait which greatly improved his stamina and muscle development.  I used half-halts each time he decided to break over into a trot and he immediately went right back to that comfortable four-beat gait these horses as so well known for doing.  Boogie needs very little bit contact and actually stays in his gait better with no contact.  boogie 003 By the way, the pics are just one of the training techniques I use to get horses exposed to different “scary” stimuli.  This beautiful chocolate roan had no problem leading from pasture to pasture on the ATV or with bikes being ridden around him.   FYI, I don’t tie the lead to the ATV, I just run it under the rack and hold it with my hand.  NEVER tie a horse to an ATV, they can flip it and get hurt should they spook.  AND, don’t go any faster than they can walk, always checking for their safety first.

We had wonderful rides and were exposed to lots of interesting things on the trail like bicycles, boys playing football, barking dogs, lawnmowers, and even an inflatable bouncy thingy that kids jump in and play.  Boogie loved it!  What a great horse.  But alas, Boogie has to go home.  That is one horse I will truly miss riding.

So, just what type of gait does a Kentucky Mountain horse have anyway?  Would you call this a rack?  It certainly isn’t a running walk like the Tennessee Walkers perform.    Or is it called an amble?  It all depends on your horse and how he moves.  Most people use the same definition for the rack and the amble.  I tend to think of the rack as more animated and faster than the running walk or the amble.  Amble to me means a little slower motion with less animation in picking up the forelegs.  Whatever you call it, it sure is comfortable to ride.

Go here to read the article on Boot Scootin Boogie:   http://www.examiner.com/x-2984-Charlotte-Equine-Examiner~y2009m4d21-Take-your-trail-riding-to-the-next-level-with-NATRC

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