Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Germany- but not German =D
Ah, I feel your pain.
We're doing this with Duffy in a trot at the moment, but she's having to build it up slowly, and the next day you can feel less 'petrol in the engine' after we've asked for more from behind and the lengthen the stride- its very strenuous on the horse.
I would advise to start in rising trot, that way you're at no time bouncing on the horse's back by accident and making it uncomfortable for them.
Also, even if the horse breaks in to canter, bring them back nice and calm, trot a 10m circle to bring them back and their brain between their ears, a serpentine or two and then ask again- forwards, no matter what it is, is better than nothing. HOWEVER, you don't want your horse to learn they can canter off when they see fit ;)
I find crossing the diagonal through HALF the school a good practise, come out of the corner, straighten the horse, half halts to prepare, hands up and a little forwards, and then your legs want to give impulsion but feel like they're picking your horse's belly and back up too. If your horse pokes its nose out, don't worry so much, just try and keep the correct bend before you change.
Once you have established this, begin in sitting trot. Whole school, then when you get to the short sides, use your seat and legs to bring the horse back, throw in a 10m circle at A/C so your horse doesn't get it in to its head it can just GO all the time, you want go, but proper go ;)
Once this is established, you hit my fave excercise, which we're trying to master..
Change through the half diagonal, as you hit the wall, bring the horse back to you, collect the trot somewhat, and then point to change to the other diagonal, when straight, lengthen again, get to the corner, bring them back, then change out of the corner at a working trot- just to mix it up and keep interest going, or put a 10m circle in.
So you go H,E,K or M,B,F so to speak ;)
Great fun, and it makes the horse concentrate on lengthening for a short period of time, before having to sit back on its hind, to release again- but the horse requires the muscle.
Not a fan of going whole school straight away with lengthening as you loose so much power and suspension- the horse isn't ready in the start to go for that length.