Footfalls & Extension (or lack of)

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Footfalls & Extension (or lack of)

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  • Foot falls of the horse
  • Foot falls of extended walk

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    11-10-2009, 05:59 AM
Footfalls & Extension (or lack of)

So, I'm always on a mission to get my horse (TB x Paint) to really use his rear end. We ride huntseat & dressage. His previous owner rode Western and had back issues, so an easy-to-sit, short-strided, pokey-trot was ingrained into my horse's mind and body. I am young and healthy and love to post a big trot!!

On the lunge, if I simply ask for a trot, he goes pokey-trot, short strided. When I ask for a little more, he will round out a bit, and his hind foot will fall just behind his front foot's print. If I really get energetic and swoosh my lunge whip low near his hind end, he will super-extend in the front (does that little hoof-flick and everything) yet his back feet still only land in or just barely in front of his front prints.

At the walk, his back feet land square on his front prints. At the extended walk, his backs land about 1.5 hoof lenghts in front of the prints. Why does this not not happen at the trot?

Should his rears extend past his front prints at the trot? If yes, how can I get him to do this?

In the pasture when he's playing around he will trot around very fluidly and extend in front and back.

I just love that feeling undersaddle when he lifts his back, flexes at the poll, and really gets moving under opposed to stiff-necked pokey-trot! Help me get that all the time!!
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    11-10-2009, 06:33 AM
Go back to dressage basics..... go for a long walk and get that overtrack!!!! If you want you can use poles to help train the extension behind- it will get him to lift and he will have no choice but to put those feet there!
    11-10-2009, 08:28 AM
How long is his body? Sometimes that affects how far a horse can overtrack their prints.

Otherwise, lots of bending and transitions will help bring him under himself nicely. Get him to trot, then canter, then trot, then canter, etc. That really gets their hindquarters working.
    11-10-2009, 04:49 PM
Yes, well he is quite long. So maybe his conformation is hindering him somewhat.

But I'll get to work on lots of transitions and some work over poles (once I go buy the poles! ).

    11-10-2009, 07:08 PM
Conformation definitely makes a difference. My Paint mare has a super long back, and it makes it a lot harder for her hind feet to really reach forward. That doesn't mean we can't improve and get really good at it, it's just harder than a short-backed Arab, for example. =]

I would just really push him forward, in the saddle and on the lunge line. Take a break from concentrating completely on frame, and work on getting him forward. Drive, drive, drive! You won't get anywhere if he doesn't learn to step up and move forward. All attempts at a true collection will be in vain. I REALLY like the suggestion of poles, you can use them during lunging and riding at the walk, trot, and canter.
    11-11-2009, 03:28 AM
Here's a photo of him. Does he look long-backed? He's 16.1hh.

When I urge him forward, on the lunge and under saddle, he does try with all his heart. I give him a squeeze and maybe a verbal cue also, and he lifts up, breaks at the poll (I don't even touch the reins), and moves more forward. But, I know he's most likely just placing in his prints, not extending. I can see it happen on the lunge. But, if I don't keep asking, he fizzles out and goes pokey-trot.

He naturally gets himself into a little bit of a frame when I ask him to go forward. I ride with a fairly loose rein and don't really fuss with his front end. I feel like I'm forever asking to go forward and haven't even gotten to the point of attempting to collect.

Hopefully I can fit some 10-foot poles from the hardware store in the trunk of my Mustang!
    11-11-2009, 05:50 AM
Time for lateral work!! My boy has very average movement and doesn't track up when in the paddock but we have manufactured his movement and now has GP dressage potential.
I have some awesome schooling exercises that encourage the horse to engage (step up with the hind quarters more) and use their hocks. I can send them to you if you like?
    11-11-2009, 06:01 AM
Just wanted to add--don't try for the 'foot flick'--it's a show of tired muscles, NOT extension (it's a myth perpetrated by poorly informed dressage riders/trainers). The hoof should be in line with the rest of the leg, other wise he's not lifting he's just movin'.

Good luck!
    11-11-2009, 09:52 AM
He doesn't really seem long backed to me. Really lovely looking horse I must say. = )

Yeah. Get those poles and see how that will work. Tell us how it goes. ; )

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