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Struggling with free walk on a long rein

This is a discussion on Struggling with free walk on a long rein within the Dressage forums, part of the English Riding category
  • Free walk on a long rein horse won't stretch

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    07-01-2013, 04:29 PM
  #11
Super Moderator
Looby wouldn't lower and stretch her neck at all - courtesy of whoever had her in the past you could have her on as long a rein as possible and she would still walk with her head as if she was in a collected frame
I found riding her in a Happy mouth shaped mullen mouth bit made the difference as she discovered she was Ok to lean on it a little bit and relax
     
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    07-01-2013, 04:40 PM
  #12
Trained
This is a good thread--NO easy answers.
I'm thinking that she could use some regular time trail riding. Do you have a buddy to go with you? I never ride on the trail alone. She can't hold her head up forever and you would be on a loose rein.
     
    07-01-2013, 04:44 PM
  #13
Super Moderator
Quote:
Originally Posted by jaydee    
Looby wouldn't lower and stretch her neck at all - courtesy of whoever had her in the past you could have her on as long a rein as possible and she would still walk with her head as if she was in a collected frame
I found riding her in a Happy mouth shaped mullen mouth bit made the difference as she discovered she was Ok to lean on it a little bit and relax

Hattie is in a myler mullen mouth after trying many others and she is far more comfortable in that and quite happy to move into contact.

I know Hattie will stretch and perform the movement to some extent, but as this is worth double marks I'm really looking at improving the movement so it is less hit and miss. I think I need to push her on more to stretch her whole frame and hopefully encourage overtracking maybe by widening hands more and loosenng with each step.?
     
    07-01-2013, 04:49 PM
  #14
Trained
Do have her stretch down during schooling? How do you ask for this? I imagine you could get her to do this on command if you can figure out what your routine is.
     
    07-01-2013, 10:37 PM
  #15
Trained
This video might help you.
Ingrid Klimke emphasizes the walk and stretching.
     
    07-02-2013, 04:43 AM
  #16
Super Moderator
Quote:
Originally Posted by Corporal    
Do have her stretch down during schooling? How do you ask for this? I imagine you could get her to do this on command if you can figure out what your routine is.

I school on grass which to a haffy is always incentive

Out on hacks, on the road, we have such a good walk going that the stretch is natural ...or seems to be. I think I get a better stretch if she has been working hard before hand and in the case of the last test we didn't warm up for long as it was a hot day and I feared she'd lose all interest if we went into the test hot and bothered, but maybe that was a big mistake.
     
    07-02-2013, 09:35 AM
  #17
Started
Have you tried pulsing your calf in time with the walk you want to achieve? I'm still very tired, so it makes more sense in my head than I can find words to explain.

My trainer has me pulse my calf - not kick, only flex the calf muscle as it rests against the body - and for added emphasis I have to move my hips to help open up the motion for the leg. It's a lot like patting your head, rubbing you're belly, hopping on one foot, and singing the alphabet backwards simultaneously. The right calf pulses as the right hip rises towards your right shoulder - same for the left side. The outside rein stays low near the neck and maintains a solid contact with the mouth. Your shoulders are soft and straight. I'd you ride with a whip, it also helps to lightly brush it along the outside flank as that leg rises. Start with the reins at a length that maintains contact comfortably for the horse and gradually increase your length as the horse stretches forward more and more.

Clear as mud? Build up adding what you're doing until you find the combination that works. Then, gradually take the aids away.
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    07-02-2013, 10:27 AM
  #18
Super Moderator
I looked back at your video again, she seems to do well with the lengthen and lower and you're happy that she's reaching for the bit as she does it so really seems to just be the balance and rhythm you have to work on now, she looks energetic - the free walk needs to be relaxed but not sloppy/lazy and I don't think you have a problem there, she just looks as if she's not quite certain about what she's supposed to be doing because all the reassuring control has been taken away
You can ask her for more direct forward movement by actually pushing her on gently with your legs (just a squeeze) as you approach the start of the free walk but resisting with your hands - just for a couple of seconds then as you go into the free walk take away the leg pressure & release that energy by feeding out the reins allowing her to stretch and relax without loss of momentum
Why are these things so much harder to explain than to do?
Clava likes this.
     
    07-02-2013, 08:17 PM
  #19
Yearling
My TB refused to do the stretch..it was just his nature...he preferred head up or level in the walk even though he would take the rein and stretch OUT..he just wouldn't go down. Essentially I trained it into him by asking with the reins to lower his head while still asking for a more active walk. Once I had a better head position I would slow the walk to get the "march" the judges like to see and get swinging through his back again. As time went on and he got more used to the dressage frame, around Training Level, he was more willing to go down and out after the first few test elements. The first show ever at Intro A and B he was getting 5s...by Training 2 he was getting 8s in his walk but we still had the head level issue in the stretchy trot.

The other option is to get a pal with a small pony, tie a carrot to the pony's tail and have your horse follow :)
Corporal and Clava like this.
     
    07-02-2013, 10:12 PM
  #20
Super Moderator
That idea takes me back to the carrot on a fishing line thing - just wondering how much speed my lot would get up too!!!
     

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