suggestions for things to do at the walk - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 01-01-2013, 08:53 AM Thread Starter
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Question suggestions for things to do at the walk

It looks like our recently purchased horse has a tendon/ligmament injury and will be limited at controlled amounts of walking for quite awhile. Does anyone have good exercises that can be done at the walk that are interesting to do? The horse is my 9 year old daughter's and she girl that loves to post without stirrups and canter. She understands that her new horse is hurt but I would like to come up with some way to make his rehab more tolerable to her, help with his training and their bonding if possible. In general the horse (20 year old gelding) is well trained but since we brought him home he has been leaning on the reins, something he didn't do when we tried him out (of course he wasn't lame when we tried him either). I am wondering if the leaning is connected to the injury but if it is not ideas about how to get him to lighten up on the bit would be wonderful. Thanks.
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post #2 of 6 Old 01-01-2013, 09:21 AM
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Of course, clarify with your vet that all of these exercises are appropriate for his level of ability, but here's things you can do at walk:

-- serpentines
-- figure eights (of varying sizes)
-- spiraling in and out on a circle
-- short and long diagonals in the arena
-- backing
-- ground poles
-- square turn (basically a 1/4 turn on the haunches)
-- leg yeild
-- shoulder in
-- haunches in
-- varied rates of speed (extended walk to collected walk and back again)
-- halt/walk transitions (with a focus on having them be prompt and "crisp" without resistance or irritation on the horse's part)

Most of these things can be done while playing around with the horse's bend, alternating between inside bend, outside bend, and straight. For backing and ground poles specifically, you'll want to have him straight. Several of these exercises when done correctly will aid with keeping a horse lighter in the reins. Practicing half halt will also be valuable. Also, play around with how effectively you are able to steer him through several of the above exercises while he is on a very long loose rein, using your seat and legs to communicate rate of speed and direction.
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post #3 of 6 Old 01-01-2013, 12:34 PM
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To be honest, I would be very hesitant to do much that could possibly re-injure or further injure the leg.

Where is the injury?
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post #4 of 6 Old 01-01-2013, 01:55 PM
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I agree with the Eolith and Spurstop about having your equine vet's approval about the type and amount of exercise your daughter's horse should be getting. In the meantime, this article gives some useful information about why a good walk is important for every horse's well being and gives some exercises your daughter can work on with her horse.
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post #5 of 6 Old 01-01-2013, 03:40 PM Thread Starter
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We definitely won't be doing anything until we get parameters from the vet as to what is acceptable. We are still trying to verify the exact location and type of injury but at this point I am just gathering ideas to keep in my back pocket for many months in the future and also to try to make my daughter "feel" a little better about her first horse that she hasn't been really able to ride by showing her that there are options to just walking around in a big oval.
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post #6 of 6 Old 01-01-2013, 03:59 PM
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Agree with the others, to get concrete specifics from the vet concerning the injury first. THAT being said...the walk is the forgotten gait. SO MUCH can be done at the walk that lays down a SOLID foundation for body control and the like...for the other gaits...trot/jog and canter/lope.
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