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Help me understand a true 4-beat walk?

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  • Fixing my horses marching walk

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    12-14-2011, 06:46 PM
  #11
Trained
Yep Anebel, as I said earlier, a slowed walk DOES have its place. But there is no reason for the horse to come behind the leg when you slow the walk. My boys walk isn't enormous, but it is very correct, he overtracks nicely without being excessive, and it is adjustable without a tendency to go lateral.
To be in front of the leg, the walk doesn't have to be huge and fast, just reactive and adjustable.
     
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    12-14-2011, 06:47 PM
  #12
Trained
Thanks Anabel. That makes sense. Glad to hear it feels like a death march to a more experienced rider. I was thinking it was wrong, but maybe we are on the right track. I probably was trying to animate it a little and knocked him off balance which produced the lateral walk.

I played with it a bit today switching from forward marching walk to dead collected walk. While the marching still feels better to me, the dead walk has a very definite 4 beat feel to it and he reaches much more into the bit. It's very easy to feel exactly where each leg is. I just got myself a new video camera for Christmas, so I'll be posting video soon.
     
    12-14-2011, 07:17 PM
  #13
Trained
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kayty    
Yep Anebel, as I said earlier, a slowed walk DOES have its place. But there is no reason for the horse to come behind the leg when you slow the walk. My boys walk isn't enormous, but it is very correct, he overtracks nicely without being excessive, and it is adjustable without a tendency to go lateral.
To be in front of the leg, the walk doesn't have to be huge and fast, just reactive and adjustable.
There is definitely a balance though...

My horse tends to be behind the leg and so it is a big thing for me to keep him up infront of me, however sometimes you have to give on that in order to maintain a correct gait.
Now that he is schooling a bit from the I2 and giving some good short steps the collected walk is coming infront of my leg but for the past 2 or so years yes, the walk has been a bit behind my leg to maintain a correct rhythm, relaxation and a contact.

I don't believe that especially for a horse who has trouble staying infront of the rider that we can expect that 100% of the time. It is something to work towards BUT imo the rhythm and relaxation always come first... There is always a give and take in our training and many times I feel that riders are so focussed on getting the horse forward and they forget that there is also a slow part that needs to be addressed. We can't be running the horse's forward to get this "infront of the leg" feeling - there has to be a lot more balancing back than I personally see in the dressage ring, and especially at the lower levels and with young horses. I am finding more as I school my own horse who tends to fall behind the leg that if I slow his forward motion down enough I can actually get him more infront of the leg by his own accord than if I were to immediately do a transition to a more forward walk or trot...

As far as the adjustable part.. how adjustable?? There truly is no limit to the adjustability of the paces until they can all be performed on the spot, and even backwards as well as to the point in the extensions that the joints truly are fully extended. The training for the most part is about increasing this longitudinal ductility and simply accepting what the horse is capable of naturally as "good enough" is not, in essence, training.


What it comes down to is compressing the body by loading the hocks and raising the shoulders for true collection. When the horse is behind the leg, he tends to fall then over at the shoulder when driven forward - why not keep him in his comfort zone and bring the shoulders to meet the slower (behind the leg) haunches and when the body compresses and the hocks lower he can more easily find the collection (and thus - become infront of the leg) in his own comfort and balance - and then we can bring him into a longer stride or more forward gait. Teaching the horse to contract his abs and load the hocks is singularily the most difficult as it is not only hard in the body for them - but hard for the rider to explain.. I don't feel that with the horse driven so far forward it makes the explaining any easier. Yes forward has it's place and it is important to school the horse in working gaits, but if we leave the horse too long in the body it becomes far too difficult to teach true collection...

Just my thoughts and why I don't ride forward much - especially in the walk.
     
    12-14-2011, 07:52 PM
  #14
Trained
Yep again Anebel and I absolutely agree and understand where you're coming from. This is why I do very little work in walk itself. Like you, I have seen a lot of riders trying to push for the walk to be forward, and turning it lateral as a result.
But I refuse to let the horse fall behind my leg. If it drops behind the leg in walk, I won't fix it in walk - I'll go straight up to trot, and do a million transitions back and forth, then try for walk again. Behind behind the leg is my biggest pet hate, it's the first thing I work on when I get on, I demand that the horse reacts to the leg every time.
     
    12-14-2011, 08:07 PM
  #15
Trained
On some of them its not nearly that easy to get infront of the leg unless you are a 6'4 German man.. especially within the collection and then you have to have so much tact. Avoiding the collected walk altogether will not improve it, sometimes you have to work things through...

I pity the poor soul that hops on my horse and demands him to be infront of the leg as he would soon be still as a statue...
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    12-14-2011, 09:31 PM
  #16
Trained
Quote:
Originally Posted by ~*~anebel~*~    

I pity the poor soul that hops on my horse and demands him to be infront of the leg as he would soon be still as a statue...
Posted via Mobile Device
A friend let my try her beautiful dutch warmblood once. That horse stood there and wouldn't budge an inch until I sat absolutely perfect. He took one step, my upper body came in front of the vertical, he stopped. End of ride. I love my "yes mam" TB!
     
    12-14-2011, 09:51 PM
  #17
Trained
Quote:
Originally Posted by MyBoyPuck    
A friend let my try her beautiful dutch warmblood once. That horse stood there and wouldn't budge an inch until I sat absolutely perfect. He took one step, my upper body came in front of the vertical, he stopped. End of ride. I love my "yes mam" TB!
And they say 'school masters' are easy :P
     
    12-18-2011, 02:54 AM
  #18
Weanling
The other thing you can try is get off and watch someone else ride - if you are having trouble feeling it you certainly can see a good 4 beat walk.... (ANd for that matter a 2 beat walk is easy to spot!
     

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