Loses focus during free walk
I'm running into a consistent problem while riding tests away from home. We have beautiful first half of the test till the free walk. Primo will stretch down slowly and march on in a nice loose swinging walk, until he snaps up his head and takes in the scenery. At this point he may jig, try to turn, trot off, or whatever other idea springs into his head. It's like the brief chance to chill breaks his focus and it takes me at least two movements to get him back.
At home we rarely have an issue, but I've started schooling him where I don't truly let him stretch all the way, wiggling my fingers and pushing him forward with my seat. Two of my most recent tests note that he needs to be allowed to stretch.
So do I let him stretch and then impersonate a giraffe, or only let him out so far, enough to keep his brain focused?
When I was starting our free walk her was head down BUT she was on the forehand. So when you as for a free walk you should be doing what you are doing - retaining enough contact that nose is still on or slightly in front of the vertical, head and neck are down BUT horse is marching.
I look for the arch in the neck - no arch means horse is probably on it's forehand. Once we leave the arena she can push her nose out and be on her forehand, but while working I work on maintaining the march.
The giraffe is him loosing his focus. You could try for a slight shouder fore in one direction until X then switch directions - without raising the head - using more (new) outside rein to (new) inside hip.
I also practice a ton of free walk to working walk and back again - so horse stops (eventually :lol: ) anticipating since she doesn;t have a clue as to what I'll be asking next.
Yes, keep the attention of the horse.
Notice the directives it does say "complete freedom to stretch the neck forwards and downwards". Nothing about rein length. As long as the horse is free to stretch forward and down, resisting the upward motions of the neck is OK.
Eventually with more experience it will go away, but practice practice practice until then!
I found this video really, really helpful :)
There are various ways of riding free walk (there was a time when the tests actually had freewalk on loose rein and freewalk on long rein)...now you make the choice. First when you are training at home, ride a 10 m circle then HALF diagonal with free walk but on contact. Make a circle at e or b, then do another half diagonal. When you can do that, then do the entire diagonals. Make sure the horse stays in front of the leg and you follow the bascule/telescoping of the neck.
Thanks everyone. NaeNae, that was excellent timing on the video. We've just starting really working on the stretch at the trot and I did find that helpful.
Not a problem MudPaint, glad to help :)
whose blog is that?
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The horse in the (trot) vid however was lowering more than it is seeking forward/down/out WITH a light connection. It is SUPPOSED to chew the reins and telescope fdo. (And actually it was most open when the rider dropped the contact.) For this the rider may have to go to light seat, most certainly they do not keep their hands in their laps.
That said there is a difference in walk as it has bascule action with the gait (as does canter) whereas the trot does not. Think that you are pushing a tray down a slide, you mobilize the jaw, and then allow the horse to take the reins a little at a time. The horse ACTIVELY seeks the hand (in all the gaits) when allowed. This means the horse must first be 'on the bit'/chewing/et
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