I am also new here and have been riding many years on QH, last few years I've been riding TWH with hubby until I saw my first PP and have been fantasing over one ever since! Now my very capable son is training my quite young (2and a half years old) PP stallion under saddle (slowly slowl- I will probably not ride him for several months) Anyway, my question is is it ok to et him trot when he is on the lunge? Also, sometimes when he is riding him around the menage he is also letting him trot...my son says that he needs the forward motion to teach him movement and to respond to the rider (teach him to be a horse first) but I just don't want the trot to become too familiar to him. My son says that after he is well mannered and used to commands he will work on the gait (lots and lots and lots of walking first) What do you think? Am I just being overly worried??
First of all, I am not a professional trainer. There are plenty around that can correct me if I'm wrong, however. I have trained many horses from stock types to harness to gaited, sometimes for others, but as an amateur.
Forgive me, but your son is doing a few things backwards. Your horse should be well-mannered and used to commands before he ever got on him.
We don't start our Peruvians under saddle until they are 3 or even 4 years old, giving their legs and especially their knees time to mature. A horse's skeleton matures from the ground up, so if their knees aren't closed, the rest of their body is still very immature as well. Even lunging can put a heavy stress on immature joints. Long-lining is a safer alternative, and actually encourages slower progression to gait rather than trot and better use of the horse's body.
If your youngster is moving from walk to trot with a rider, he is trying to tell you something. A purebred Peruvian should move from walk to paso llano naturally. If he cannot, either he is in pain somewhere, or is being or he has been ridden improperly. It takes muscle conditioning to maintain a 4-beat gait for any length of time under saddle, and I would not expect a 2.5yo to be able to sustain a quality paso llano for any great distance, but he should be able to start out in one and then have it "fall apart" as he tired. He shouldn't go immediately into a trot. Nor should he be allowed to. In doing so, your son is teaching him NOT to gait, and will eventually ruin him if he keeps this up as a training tactic.
I assume you want a horse that goes into gait from the walk and not one that you have to wonder what he's doing like the other gaited breeds? This is one of the things that sets the Peruvian apart from the other gaited horses for me. You KNOW your horse is going to gait and NOT trot. You shouldn't have to train the horse NOT to trot. But this is what will happen with your horse on the current route your son is taking. Of course this is my opinion and surely others will disagree, but I've seen it happen with other breeds.
My advice would be this: Continue to do groundwork with your youngster. Long-line him everywhere, getting him used to new surroundings. Do not ride him again for another year or so and let him forget all about it.
Then, start again slowly with a Peruvian bozal. Avoid using a snaffle as some people are used to using to start a colt. It can encourage the wrong muscle use. If you don't have access to a PERUVIAN bozal, use a plain halter. Ride with contact from the start. LOTS of walking. When you're ready to try gaiting, ask for a paso llano. Raise your hands slightly, and push him into the bozal or halter with your legs. If he trots, take up contact. If he continues to trot, stop and start over. You should be able to expect a paso llano from the start. It's just there unless the horse is in pain or isn't a purebred Peruvian. You don't have to 'teach' it.
They are a smart breed, though. And trotting IS easier than using all those muscles to produce a 4-beat gait. I hope you get more advice on this. There are a lot more things you can do that entail things like shifting your weight, maneuvering the horse and such, but I think at this point, you just need to educate your son a little more.
Good luck, Lisa. I hope your boy comes around and is everything you hoped for. Don't rule out physical pain. If you have a gelding appointment for him, you could have the vet check him over for soreness issues at the same time to rule that out.
Oh, and welcome to the site!
Absolutely brilliant reply and I appreciate your honest and tacful answer.
He is not purebred, mother was tennuvian (1\2 TWH 1\2 PP) and father registered pp. So therefore even more important to prevent trotting. Arguing with hubby about this point, but he claims the rider is responsible for the gait and I think it should come naturaly. I am not expecting my youngster to gait, just walk at this point, but definitely not to trot AT ALL.
As far as I am concerned at this point I just want to let him alone for anoher year...just walk him with a halter. You have convinced me
All the best,Lisa
And another thought, I joined this site to talk and meet with other Peruvian horse lovers, and am thankful for all the advice and tips that I am reading on the site from REAL people who have REAL experiences with the PP.
So thank you to you all