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.
Last edited by equitate; 11-10-2013 at 05:38 PM.