Doe anybody know how to get your horse to lengthen their dressage free walk? I have tried multiple different things but nothing seems to work. Sugesttions are VERY welcome! Thanks!
In free walk, I focus on asking him to stretch down. Make like a hunter and go "long and low!" I'd work with your trainer on this one... it's hard to explain... Not to mention our free walk sucks right now... buuuuut....
The key to a good free walk is relaxation. A tense horse will not walk with a clear 4 beat action, and the strides will become short and choppy. I have found that taking the horse out on trails on a long rein with light contact, allowing them to stretch down and forward, and actively walk forward, really improves the quality of the walk in the arena.
The walk is a tricky pace, it is SO easy to ruin.
I'm blessed with a horse that loves to free walk. So long as she is between my legs, she'll track true with her head long and low and the bit in her mouth all the way to the other side.
I found that achieving a free walk with my arab, the key was to relax MYSELF. My whole position changes when I ask for a free walk/long and low. A couple strides before I ask, I sit taller in the saddle and really engage my core, then when I ask I breathe out and just relax and let myself drop a little and Bob's your uncle, I have a beautiful free walk.
I used to sit there stressing about getting him to relax and why is this technique and that advice not working, then me friend told me to just calm down about it, focus on keeping the walk active with pendulum legs and give slightly with my hands each step and RELAX and it will come. And it did :)
I use repetition. I only free walk in the combination I use in the tests. For this first time showing early season that is H-X-F in Intro A and F-E in Intro B. In these areas I really concentrate on getting that long and low. It took about a half dopzen repetitions but now when I hit those corners and start across the diagonal, the horse automatically drops his head and stretches. It was a cheater way to do it but it works for now.
As I really work him during a ride eventually he loses enough energy that he will listen and I can get him to lower and stretch after about 30 mins or so of work anywhere in the arena, but, I needed him to be able to do it when he had high energy as well.
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