Already I can hear the uproar from aficionados of our beloved gaited breeds. “No! A gaited horse is anatomically different from a non-gaited horse!” I agree that there are differences. However, I have also experienced firsthand an Appaloosa that preferred a four-beat amble over a trot (I rode him for a week on a cattle drive) and our former pinto mare, Savannah (pictured), who I could keep at very fast walk for as long as I wanted. Both of these were stock-type horses doing a fast, smooth, four-beat gait with no suspension. That’s pretty darned close to gaiting, in my opinion.

But can every horse be taught to do this? I wouldn’t go that far. I think that many can if – and this is a very big if – the rider knows how to train for it and is willing to put in the time. Several years ago, I interviewed David Lichman, a five-star premier Parelli instructor and gaited horse specialist. He addressed this very issue.

Listen to interview with David Lichman on gaited horsemanship