Lengthening stride ??

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Lengthening stride ??

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    06-07-2011, 02:02 AM
Green Broke
Lengthening stride ??

I have read a few things about asking a horse to lengthen its stride in lets say a trot and then getting it to come back to a walk to get a horse to use its hindquarters more. (I think that's what it was for) I was just wondering how exactly you would ask them to lengthen stride? I'm not sure if I would be doing something wrong or if my horse just doesn't understand but if I were to put more leg on he would simply go from a trot to a canter. He only doesn't go up in gait if he is being incredibly lazy, then he just goes faster I think not really legthening. I am just curious so would love some info on this. Thanks
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    06-07-2011, 04:14 AM
Green Broke
    06-07-2011, 03:34 PM
Green Broke
Does no one understand what I am asking?
    06-07-2011, 03:39 PM
Green Broke
A horse's length of stride depends on their shoulder angle. Something that cannot be changed.

Now are you asking for an extended trot from a jog or just wanting a longer stride?
    06-07-2011, 03:47 PM
Green Broke
Delete, I think she means how you go from working trot to medium trot to extended trot. Medium trot is a lengthening of the trot stride from the working trot and extended trot is a further lengthening of the stride.

Apachewhitesox are you asking a horse who has already been taught it or are you teaching a horse who doesnt have a clue?
    06-07-2011, 04:44 PM
Super Moderator
Well, for a horse to be able to lengthen his stride, he must be engaged and not heavy on the forehand. If he is heavy on the forehand, he does not have the suspension and ability to thrust forward. What you will get is a "quickening" instead. This is very incorrect.

I put a green horse on a 20-30 meter circle. I work on bending and balancing properly. Once this is done, I will work on regular stride to shorter stride. You MUST use a huge amount of leg when you shorten the stride so that you maintain the impulsion.

Once the horse can shorten their stride without the rhythm changing, I slowly start asking short/medium/ slight lengthening. I will often use the dressage ring diagonal for the lengthenings. I will use the short end of the ring to compress and shorten the stride, using lots of leg to create and maintain energy. A good half halt as I come off the track onto the diagonal. It is crucial, here, that you do NOT lower your hands when you ask for a longer stride. The horse needs very little "stretch" here and you will drop it onto their forehand if you drop your hands. Toward the end of the diagonal, lots of leg and shorten the stride before the corner.

Make sure you ask for and get a transition (of some sort) every time. Don't train a horse to be sloppy, and then have to untrain him. If he can't do much of a transition, only ask for what he CAN do, and praise him for that.

I hope this helps.
    06-07-2011, 05:46 PM
Hi apache,

A good excersice to do is a clock, put your horse one s 30-30 meter circle and dpretenfd to didvide it into 12, 3, 6 amd 9 0clock. Start at 12 and do a working trot when you get to 3 squeeze your rein gently and ask with your legs for him to come up underneath you. As you are pushing give him more rein so that you arent restriciting him and so that he can move out. At 6 bring him back to a working trot and then a 9 do the same.

If you don't like working in circles you can learn how to count the horses stride. Pick a 2 ponts and draw a striaght line in your haed start at a working trot then when you hit the start of your line push him out and count your strides. When you come to the end of your line ask him for a working trot. Then you can do it again and if you counted less strides it means he has started to 'lenghten' his stride.

But remeber not to have a huge line as your horse will have to build up to it and aslo don't expect anything big straight away.

And there is one more that may or may not help. You can do a working trot in a straight line and then just squeeze with your leg and push him out. This will get him used to the idea

Hope this help
    06-08-2011, 04:16 AM
Green Broke
Thanks everyone. I was asking about the going from medium trot to extended trot kind of thing. I was just curious on the matter. I am not working with my horse on this, he seems be having trouble with realising this means go, this means turn and this means stop emphasis on the stop hehe.

To him everything is stop or full speed ahead. So no I'm pretty sure my boy doesn't really get the whole shortening and lengthening stride. I think he has just been a barrelracer for most of his 12 yrs, one who simply ran the pattern and not much else. thanks again
    06-08-2011, 11:18 AM
Originally Posted by apachewhitesox    
... lengthen its stride in ...I was just wondering how exactly you would ask them to lengthen stride? ... Thanks
So before you can do any lengthening of stride you need to get the horse "in front of the leg". One way to easily tell - if you are walking and ask for canter and horse trots (or continues walking) then horse is BEHIND the leg.

When a horse is in front of the leg he (her) is "marching" along in whatever gait he is in, and actively stepping underneath his (her) body. So from your description (lazy) he is most likely behind the leg most, if not all, the time. To get him in front of your leg/his hind legs activated, you need to "bump" him with your legs. In the walk this is one leg at a time and the riders leg is determined by the riders hip - so when your left hip swings forward in the walk bump him with your left leg while keeping hold of the right rein. (If you don't have him on the right rein he may swing his butt away from the bumping leg instead of picking up the pace.)

Then next stride bump him with the other (in this case the right) leg, making certain you have him on the left rein. Here's where it gets a bit tricky - if you bump him with your legs ALL the time he'll soon start to ignore you. So when anytime you do a bump and don't feel a reaction tap him with the whip behind your leg - enough to "sting" horse (think horse fly bite sting) without causing a lot of pain.

So back to your original question - to start teaching lengthening (once horse is in front of the leg) you need to "give" enough rein to allow for the horses body to "stretch" or lengthen, but do so withOUT throwing away the rein. Especially in the beginning the horse may be depending on the rider to help balance themselves in this new frame.

I usually work lengthening on green horses at the trot first (walk and canter is harder for the horse). So:
1. Pick up a working trot, make certain horse is in front of the leg, then
2. Rider (looking forward NOT down) should sit then lean back slightly behind the vertical (this is so your entire body from hips up is pushing horse forward) and
3. Squeeze the calves while moving elbows forward from waist (where they should sit most of the time) about 1-2 inches.

Make certain you post (after asking) so if horse tries to speed up you can use the rythmn of your post to slow him back down.

AT first you may only get a stride or two. So when horse starts rushing, tripping (cause he's out of balance), or not listening in general then rider needs to:
A. Sit up straight,
B. Bring elbows back to waist and,
C. While lightly squeezing BOTH calves squeeze/release the reins at the same time,
D. Pushing straight down on the stirrups (a half halt)
E. Then stop calf squeezes.

After horse can lengthen for many strides then you can stop the leaning back behind the vertical.

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