Getting a pacer to trot and canter


Active Member
Jun 3, 2005
How can you teach a horse which paces to trot and canter properly?

Just curious really as we have one on our yard who still paces an awful lot but will canter happily on hacks


New Member
May 24, 2006
Your Pacer does trot and canter properly... for a Pacer! I have known people who have trained them to have the paces of a riding horses. However, to achieve this is as difficult as training a riding horse to pace. From what I have seen, it is a lot of work and the results are at best mediocre. In the sae time you could train a warmblood up to affiliated level & achieve something.

The people I know who have done it re-broke the horses and conciderd each diaganal separately, right from the start. When you are riding the horse you are telling each leg what to do independently. So, riding them is very 'involved' you have to think collection, outline, up to the bit, leg, 1, 2, 3, 4, forwards! You can nopt relax or they revert to type.

It is possible, but you have to ask whats the point. If you want a horse that paces, buy a pacer, if you want one with traditional riding gaits... buy a riding horse.

Rather than banging your head against a brick wall, get him harnessed up & drive him, you will have much more fun.

Blair Witch

Riding Instructor
Nov 6, 2005
Webkinz World
It is not impossible to retrain a pacer but it is very difficult. I knew someone who had a pacer and she was able to train her to trot but never mastered the canter before she sold her. I saw an article in "Horse Illustrated" about retraining before, it was quite awhile ago though.

Does your horse pace on the lunge line too?


Well-Known Member
Apr 16, 2000
Fákur is a very pacey horse, to get him to trot takes a lot of time and getting him supple, strong and balanced, 10M circles in trot over poles help him pick up the trot, also asking fpr trot uphill will help.


New Member
Oct 8, 2006
mid wales
Hi dont be put off by owning a pacer,we brought a horse in march and a while later we found out she was an ex pacer,(we couldnt do anything with her for a few months as she was very underweight),when we started riding her we though ey up this feels a bit odd,but we have learned to live with it,its really cool owing a pacer there super fast we can beat all the horses in our yard hands down.:p
She paces less as we do more work with her on the lunge,the trott is now kinda sorted but she wont go from a trot to a canter without pacing in the middle,ive had a few falls due to that as its really easy to lose you bal,but shes such good fun,why would you want a normal bog standard horse you have something a little bit diff,and when you get used to his style of riding you will love it.
The more you lunge before you ride the less he will pace but you will never get it out of him completly.
Enjoy it as we are now.:D


~~~ I LUV BLUEY ~~~
Jan 2, 2007
G'day! I dunno! I know 5 pacers and they have never cantered, so I think if they have done it to long you can't train them out of it, but I don't know. Good answers other people who replied, better than mine anyway, lol!

Gotta Gallop,



New Member
Apr 6, 2008
I own a 4 yr old pacer, who is coming on very well. She can trot beautifuly on the lunge, but under saddle tends to prefer to pace, so today I am going to try and do some pole work with her setting them a 12 oclock 1/4 past, half past and 1/4 to, and see how she goes over them.
Don't be to disheartened pacers generaly have a fab temprement and my mare works so hard for me and tries her best, it's up to me to encourage her as she won't have a clue what I'm asking for!
Good luck to all retraining pacers it's worth it in the end am sure!:)


New Member
Feb 21, 2008
Victoria, Australia
I had a sb mare who had raced and paced for 7 years, and I found that plenty of lunge work (with side-reins and/or poles) really helped her. I bought her as a confidence builder after a couple of really bad falls from "saddle" horses. As she was so "hard wired" to pacing, if she had time off I just lunged her around for 10 mins to reinstate the canter. She did, however, have the most comfortable sit trot and amble I have ever ridden. Up hill and sandy beaches work well also.
Gotta luv the Standies


New Member
Oct 28, 2007
i have an american standard bred-- ie trotter-/ pacer

shes does do dressage very wwell and can do collected canter

with pacers/ trotters-- you have to be light in leg and hand and ride with independant seat as you do anyways or should do
but more light in hand - and more in the use of aids ie direction via your legs
not to kick but to squeeze and ask politely
always do things in walk with the half halt stride to be practice in walk for a couple strides-- until learn go down gears 1st so its easier for horse to learn before attempting up gears
when teaching a trotter collect or go slower-- then all it is practice and bring back to walk--
these horse are naturally gaited to pace-- and at the begining to sit trot or rise just doesnt happen as there pace is fast and frious-

when teaching ella-- of an unbroken 9yr old,
it was case of a few steps at a time just like when you break in a baby no difference only the age and breed type - so plenty of hugs scratches etc no sweets , but hugs then put away for her to think--
as horses are bright,, then repeat it let them sleep on the notion it was great idea to xyz -- next time out they do it on auto pilot


Well-Known Member
Apr 16, 2000
Trotters trot though, it's easy for them, pacers who cannot trot are the knotty ones.
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