Any tips on lengthening trot or canter? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 9 Old 02-25-2012, 04:12 PM Thread Starter
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Any tips on lengthening trot or canter?

In your dressage tests, or just schooling, how do you achieve a nice lengthening trot or canter, with the horse moving up into his frame, and giving a more drastic lengthen? Something that would be at least a 7 score wise..
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post #2 of 9 Old 02-25-2012, 04:39 PM
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In order to get a good lengthening you need to make sure the horse is coming up from behind..that is the start. Use your calf to ask for more power from behind while checking the horse in front, essentially putting a wall in front of the horse with your should be able to feel the contained power. When you get to a long side of the arena, or in a diagonal, continue to ask for the horse to move up into the bridle from behind but loosen, don't lengthen, your rein. (Just as with the walk on the diagonal, the horse should reach for the contact; you don't just drop the rein). In the extended trot your pace should be the same as the working trot just covering more ground. So if you take the diagonal from say K to M in 20 working trot strides, you may only get 15 at the extended trot. The extended canter is the same...collect the power then release it without dropping the contact.

One of my horse's favorite exercises is doing extended trots/canter along the long side of the arena, collecting the stride on the ends and then lengthening again down the long side.

Last edited by tlkng1; 02-25-2012 at 04:41 PM.
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post #3 of 9 Old 02-25-2012, 06:01 PM
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in addition to what has already been said I also think of posting bigger to help keep the pace the same but encourage a bigger stride! I hope this helps!! good luck with your lengthened trot :)

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post #4 of 9 Old 02-25-2012, 08:19 PM
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Don't expect to get more than a few strides of lengthened steps at first. Lengthening of the gaits is a strenuous exercise for a horse, and I can assure you that expecting them to go straight down the full long side or diagonal will just bury them onto their front legs.
You won't get a true lengthen (medium then extended) until the horse has enough strength to execute this. I always ask for slightly bigger steps while working on a circle, to give me more control over keeping the horse's balance. Asking the steps to come longer, shorter, longer, shorter, is a great way of building up the strength and carrying capacity behind to start working on medium gaits, and finally extended gaits.

As for wanting to get a 7 - you'll need to be a very good, tactical rider and work the horse correctly within its strength and education boundaries.
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post #5 of 9 Old 02-27-2012, 07:27 AM
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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.
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post #6 of 9 Old 02-28-2012, 06:06 PM
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1,) Make certain there is plenty of gas in the tank
2.) MAke certain your half halts are working. If you don't get a "going to halt" response immediately after asking then go back to trot/halts that are square, immediate, correct - with horse underneath itself.
3.) Then ask for it this way - when everything is working correctly (#1 and #2 above) down the short side then take the horse deep into the corner between short and long sides, asking for a step of two of leg yield to the wall to really get horse stepping underneath itself. Then you'll want to turn across the diagnol at the first letter on the long side (say "M"). To do this make the turn, starting at "C", more of a half a 10 meter circle, straight horse after "M" pointing to the far side (diagnol), do a half halt, if it worked and horse was ready to halt, then at last second before halt occurs then press forward with legs and seat driving horse straight forward and after about 1 step allow your elbows to come forward a couple of inches.

Trick is horse must be straight, HH must have worked so horse is sitting more on their butt, and rider does NOT throw away contact with the reins. When horse is fiorst learning the contact will be heavy because horse will lean on rider for support. If rider is riding correctly this should improve over time as the horse builds up more strength and muscle in it's topline.
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post #7 of 9 Old 03-12-2012, 10:41 PM
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I suggest that in corners you rev him up and ask from behind. Check out my dressage training clinic! I will put up link
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post #8 of 9 Old 03-12-2012, 10:46 PM
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post #9 of 9 Old 03-12-2012, 11:06 PM
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Above comments say it all :)
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