Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Chapel Hill, NC
• Horses: 0
This is one of the biggest issues I see at the lower levels. The medium-Free-medium walk is very difficult to do well and FEW takes it seriously enough to school it....a LOT! Remember, it has a "double" score, so a good walk is a good walk X 2 and a bad walk is a bad walk x 2. It must be SCHOOLED constantly.
See, what too many people do is walk around. Then, when they are about to go faster, they gather up the reins and GO. After a lot of this, the horse learns to anticipate going fast the minute a person gathers up the reins. It is a conditioned response.
EVERY time I walk a horse on a loose rein, I bring them forward (the operative word) and put them back in the bridle for at least a dozen strides before I ask for any transition.
As Caroline said, the free to medium walk is not pulling in the reins after letting the horse go all heavy on the forehand. The medium walk is forward. So is the free walk. The transition back to medium is also forward, bringing the horse forward back into the bridle with a consistent and sympathetic contact.
Quit sending your horse that old message that gathering up the reins is just prior to going faster. Be disciplined in your approach to this transition and school it constantly.