Confusion between cue to walk faster and trot - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 23 Old 02-24-2020, 03:23 PM Thread Starter
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Unhappy Confusion between cue to walk faster and trot

Hi, I have been riding for six months. My horse has a slow walk and Iím always trying to make him walk faster. It seems to me that the cue to walk faster (i have been using squeezing and kicking both legs at the girth , clicking and forward movements with the pelvis ) is very similar to the queue to trot. I am sure my poor horse is confused too. Consequently my walk-trot transitions are pathetic and hit and miss. ps frustrated and getting nowhere. Any help is greatly appreciated. Thanks Rod
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post #2 of 23 Old 02-24-2020, 03:25 PM
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Don't use both legs at the same time, alternate them. Concentrate and feel his stomach swinging between your legs as you walk, and then alternate squeezing your legs in tune with that. In other words, when his stomach swings to the left, use your right leg to give it a little nudge, and when it swings to the right, use your left leg to give a little nudge. You might also find that swinging your seat a little helps.

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post #3 of 23 Old 02-24-2020, 04:07 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks AcinATX, that is very helpful and makes a lot of sense. I will definitely do this. Also a related question- my horse also trots too slow most of the time - what is the best way to speed him up . I have been using both legs at the girth and a forward pelvic movement and click ie the same again. I am sure this also confuses my horse. Is there a different way to make my horse trot faster?
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post #4 of 23 Old 02-24-2020, 04:21 PM
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I do not think your horse is confused. He is just being lazy and taking advantage of your newness to riding. He would rather not work any harder than necessary (something I can totally relate to!).


If you ask him to trot with more energy, and he has no real response, then you need to wake him up to YOU. He is not paying you enough attention, so get his real attention. That means make some commotion, and /or, use a whip or crop (short whip) to put a little 'heat' on him.


If you ask him with a squeeze and a bump of your heels, and he does basically nothing more, then I'd immediately do one of these things:


Lift your legs off and let them slap down hard on him, twice in rapid succession.


take the extra rein and flip it back and forth over his withers so it makes a bit of a snapping noise and feel on his shoulders


Slap your own thigh quite noisily while you give him a brisk kick


use a whip to give him two or three right quick smacks on his flank.


In the last case, be aware that he may reacte with a leap, or even a tiny buck, and in any of those, he may lunge forward, and you'd best be ready for that.


Has your instructor gotten on to 'freshen ' him up?
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post #5 of 23 Old 02-24-2020, 06:09 PM
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Originally Posted by tinyliny View Post
I do not think your horse is confused. He is just being lazy and taking advantage of your newness to riding. He would rather not work any harder than necessary (something I can totally relate to!).


If you ask him to trot with more energy, and he has no real response, then you need to wake him up to YOU. He is not paying you enough attention, so get his real attention. That means make some commotion, and /or, use a whip or crop (short whip) to put a little 'heat' on him.


If you ask him with a squeeze and a bump of your heels, and he does basically nothing more, then I'd immediately do one of these things:


Lift your legs off and let them slap down hard on him, twice in rapid succession.


take the extra rein and flip it back and forth over his withers so it makes a bit of a snapping noise and feel on his shoulders


Slap your own thigh quite noisily while you give him a brisk kick


use a whip to give him two or three right quick smacks on his flank.


In the last case, be aware that he may reacte with a leap, or even a tiny buck, and in any of those, he may lunge forward, and you'd best be ready for that.


Has your instructor gotten on to 'freshen ' him up?

Seconded.

Just to add, once heís speeded up, donít let him slow down. As soon as he slows down even a tiny little bit - repeat the sequence. And I mean, if he even thinks about slowing down - you will feel it straight away, no need to wait and see what he does after thinking about it - he will slow down every single time. If you donít, he will drive you and himself crazy with slowing down all the time. I know itís difficult for beginners to do this because they donít want to be ďmeanĒ but you will end up punishing him much more if you donít keep on top of him. He will quickly learn not to slow down if you are consistent from the beginning.
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post #6 of 23 Old 02-24-2020, 06:14 PM
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By the way, donít think that you are a bad rider or that he is bad horse. Literally every rider has been there. Thatís just the nature of (school) horses and humans. And itís irritating and seems insurmountable but weíve all learned how to deal with it and rarely have an issue - it becomes second nature. And you will find that horses just know how to judge people. A lot of horses will do this with beginners but not even try with more experienced riders. Love them to bits :)
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post #7 of 23 Old 02-24-2020, 06:58 PM
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Even just carrying a crop, not even using it, gets a lot of horses to speed up.

"Saddle fit -- it's a no brainer!"" - random person
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post #8 of 23 Old 02-24-2020, 09:01 PM
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Yup, I agree with tinyliny here. You can use what AcinATX has said too. I usually use the latter at the beginning stages and move to what tinyliny said when the horse knows what is being asked and has had plenty of time to adjust.

You need to set a nice active walk as your horse's baseline, meaning that anytime (cooling down and warming up included) you are riding/ lunging, you keep that active walk. If your horse is allowed to walk slowly on the regular, then he is going to think that is what you are alright with. When giving him this correction, if he trots off, then that is actually okay right now. He has gone forward and that is essentially what you have asked of him. For him to understand that you only want a more forward walk, just ask for him to come back to a walk with your seat and rein (if needed) and give him lots of praise. If he slows, repeat the process. It's very important here that you release your leg when he responds by going forward, otherwise he can become desensitized to your leg if it is used all the time.

Additionally, I prefer to reinforce this by cutting the ride short after they go forward, so that I do not have to drill it into them. I do this for three reasons: (1) I want riding to remain fun for them, (2) I find it gives them incentive to respond quicker and (3) With corrections like these, you do run the risk of a lateral walk appearing, due to tension and rhythm loss. Lateral walks do not always happen with these corrections as long as you work equally on relaxation, but they can be a pain to fix when they do.

To differentiate between slowing and speeding up the pace of the walk, you can use exactly what AcinATX has said. Simultaneously, you can use your seat ( Talking with Your Seat). Then, eventually you can switch that aid over to mostly seat and little/ no leg.
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post #9 of 23 Old 02-24-2020, 11:26 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks tinyliny. This is great advise and it is exactly what I will do tomorrow in my ride. I am just wondering if it is best not to use the bilateral leg squeeze/pressure at the girth to make the trot faster, but only use this action for the walk -trot transition. Then it is only used for one thing and it will be crystal clear for the horse. Then I would have to use some other aid to make the trot faster. Or does using the bilateral leg pressure while in trot, cause no confusion for the horse? Thanks Rod
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post #10 of 23 Old 02-24-2020, 11:27 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks horsef, That makes good sense and gives me hope. :) Rod
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