The Walk is the hardest pace
   

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The Walk is the hardest pace

This is a discussion on The Walk is the hardest pace within the Dressage forums, part of the English Riding category

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        11-10-2013, 07:58 AM
      #1
    Green Broke
    The Walk is the hardest pace

    And don't I know it.

    The walk is meant to be a march, 4 beats to the stride.

    Well my walk on my horse is like where going out for a Sunday ride, just strolling along, no marching what so ever happening there.

    I've tried improving on it, but unless I ask every stride or every second stride we go back to the same old walk.

    Just looking for tips? Anything really to help improve the walk :)
         
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        11-10-2013, 09:59 AM
      #2
    Weanling
    Where are you at in the training scale?

    http://www.horsechannel.com/images/h...ng-pyramid.jpg

    Since it builds solidly on the previous layer, you may be moving too fast between the rhythm portion and the impulsion part. It may be just a matter of spending more time working on those 2 in between phases. This is where you really find your horse being super responsive to cues and staying in front of your leg.
    RedTree likes this.
         
        11-10-2013, 10:20 AM
      #3
    Yearling
    As a friend of mine has said many times, you buy a walk and a canter :). In truth my horse is the same way...his walk is fair...it is improving slightly but I am not sure it is ever going to be spectacular.

    My trainer started with the basics..establish relaxed and long before going for impulsion. We started with the shortest rein where the horse was loosened up and striding properly, essentially at the buckle when we started. The idea was to keep the relaxation and allowing the withers and shoulders to move freely using just enough aids to keep the horse moving without changing pace. Once that was down, I still start with the long rein but slowly shorten them, again, maintaining the same looseness and pace. Once I started to shorten my trainer added in the impulsion aids, alternate side squeezing with the calf and holding the outside rein to contain the forward movement (not allow speeding up in the pace) to encourage and maintain the more open stride.

    One thing about my horse is that speed at the walk for him is the enemy. As soon as he gets too quick he gets very short in front.
    RedTree likes this.
         
        11-10-2013, 02:52 PM
      #4
    Weanling
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by tlkng1    
    ...
    My trainer started with the basics..establish relaxed and long before going for impulsion. We started with the shortest rein where the horse was loosened up and striding properly, essentially at the buckle when we started. The idea was to keep the relaxation and allowing the withers and shoulders to move freely using just enough aids to keep the horse moving without changing pace. Once that was down, I still start with the long rein but slowly shorten them, again, maintaining the same looseness and pace. Once I started to shorten my trainer added in the impulsion aids, alternate side squeezing with the calf and holding the outside rein to contain the forward movement (not allow speeding up in the pace) to encourage and maintain the more open stride.
    ....
    What a wonderful way to start!
    I've recently gone back to riding on the buckle, trying to regain the relaxation and looseness that got lost somewhere along the line. The canter is still the most troublesome: she gets tense, and I don't feel safe with reins that long. But we're working it out.

    I don't worry about the quality of the walk. Far too soon. I think "strolling along" is good; or are you pacing? Sometimes walking in deep footing can help regularize the walk steps. If I can move from big-walk to slow-walk, I'm happy.
         
        11-10-2013, 02:58 PM
      #5
    Showing
    It's very easy to screw up the walk, especially when you're asking for more every stride.. it'll be easier for the horse to tune you out.

    Once the horse gets marching, LEAVE IT BE. If he starts to dwindle, don't nag but a nice 'forward' cue, maybe backed up with a whip/crop.
    RedTree likes this.
         
        11-10-2013, 03:08 PM
      #6
    Yearling
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Beling    

    I don't worry about the quality of the walk. Far too soon. I think "strolling along" is good; or are you pacing? Sometimes walking in deep footing can help regularize the walk steps. If I can move from big-walk to slow-walk, I'm happy.
    The walk being trained is for the quality..just doing it in stages keeping the looseness in the withers and relaxation. The impulsion aids and maintaining rein (outside) help to maintain the pace and frame. His walk has improved quite a bit with these techniques and I can now get steady overtrack most of the time.
         
        11-10-2013, 05:35 PM
      #7
    Weanling
    Walk is not the hardest gait, but it is the easiest to ruin and the hardest to improve what that has happened.

    Why is it easiest ruin? Because it is a lateral progression...ie lh/lf/rh/rf. So if the rider hustles the walk it will become lateral lh/lf together and rh/rf together. By the same token if the rider does not allow the bascule/telescoping of the neck within the gait, then the horse will be blocked. So it is hustling the walk to try to keep (longitudinal flexion with a shortened outline) and over tempo (quick) which ruins the gait. Not the use of walk itself.

    So riders generally are not taught to actually train the walk, and it becomes a forgotten gait which is allowed to become dead at the end of a ride.

    When a horse is allowed to stretch, it may momentarily become slowed if the neck drops too low (it becomes like an anchor). In europe scores are lowered if the neck is lower than horizontal in a test because of that. When walking on contact (on the bit) the horse should be up/open and will then remain active as long as the rider allows for the bascule (and that may be quite a lot early on).

    When referring to the training scale rhythm means pure gait with appropriate tempo and relaxation, and suppleness refers to lateral flexibility allowing for longitudinal flexion over time. Too often longitudinal flexion occurs too soon and affects suppleness and gait purity.
    Kayty and RedTree like this.
         
        11-10-2013, 07:23 PM
      #8
    Green Broke
    Thanks guys, like the tips

    And I think I may of been moving too fast with my horse.

    I like the method your trainer has suggested tlkng1 and I will try that :)
         
        11-10-2013, 08:23 PM
      #9
    Weanling
    Remember that filling out the outside rein is best done on a curved line, not holding it strong. And that the horse makes the connection and in not held in a frame (since walk has bascule to follow or the hind legs will not step through). And there is no impulsion in walk (impulsion requires suspension..ie trot/canter), there is activity/propulsion.
         
        11-12-2013, 02:00 PM
      #10
    Weanling
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by equitate    
    Remember that filling out the outside rein is best done on a curved line, not holding it strong. And that the horse makes the connection and in not held in a frame (since walk has bascule to follow or the hind legs will not step through). And there is no impulsion in walk (impulsion requires suspension..ie trot/canter), there is activity/propulsion.
    Could you elaborate on this a bit? Do you mean in shoulder-fore sort of thing, or on a circle?

    Bascule: what do you think about the head going below the withers? My horse actually seems to step through more if I allow this. She doesn't stay there, but it seems to help stretch her, and improves the trot.

    Thanks! This thread is turning out to be quite interesting.
         

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