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In the 1970's or 1980's, I read an article in a horse magazine about teaching your horse to walk faster. My horse at the time walked kinda slow, so I tried their advice. I tried for about 3 weeks. It was tiring, spoiled my rides, and my horse never did walk faster unless I was doing the things they suggested. I gave it up because riding is supposed to be fun . . . and my horse wasn't improving anyway. After that horse died, my subsequent horses happened to have fast walks, and I haven't thought about it in years.

My neighbor and riding buddy got a new horse. In my opinion, this nice horse has a decent walk. But we are used to gaited horses who walk fast, and this is an appaloosa. My neighbor decided this horse has to learn to walk fast. My neighbor won't listen to me anyway, but it made me curious. Can you teach a horse to walk fast?

And my second question is: Do you even want to do this? I used to enjoy hiking with my husband. After we'd been married a few years, he'd start in on nagging me to walk faster to keep up with him. I could walk faster, and I would try. But, you know, it wasn't nice for me. It wasn't relaxing or pleasant. It made me not like hiking. I could push myself, keep up with him, but at the end of the hike, I hadn't had much fun. It wasn't the speed that I was comfortable doing, and I just didn't enjoy walking like that.

Even if you could make a horse walk faster (naturally, on a regular basis, not just because you are pushing it), is that a smart thing to do? Doesn't a horse walk the way it feels comfortable walking? I would like to see other people's opinions on this. And if you did have a slow walking horse, were you able to teach it to consistently walk faster? Can you turn a medium walking horse into a fast walking horse?
 

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Trooper strolls. When following Bandit, he falls farther and farther behind. Then he trots or canters to catch up. I assume he'd LIKE to stay closer to Bandit but not at the cost of needing to walk faster. He's a short-backed Appy/Arabian, FWIW. Since he HAS incentive to walk faster but prefers to fall behind and then catch up, I'm in the "Strollers stroll" camp.
 

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I have a friend who tried to convince me her horse could walk faster rather than jig. I pointed out that the lead horse was gaited, the quarter horse was jigging to keep up, and the horse I was on was going to jig because he didn't have the stride length to keep up.

I don't think you can force a horse to walk faster. Maybe for a few strides, but that's it.
 

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If a horse has the natural ability to gait or have a longer stride, I think you CAN teach them. My Appy/Arab has a naturally long stride and I swear she flatwalks sometimes. I can ask her for it but it's taken a while to develop a cue and to train her that no, we're not trotting, it's just time to walk faster.

But she already walks faster than everyone else, so it's really slowing her down I have a hard time with.
 

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You bet you can put a faster walk on one!
Keep asking for a bit faster, then check them when they break into a trot. Don't allow the trot to happen.
I put a running walk on about every horse I've ever spent much time on.
I rode an Arabian stallion for a friend, he had the best running walk in no time at all. He was a natural.
Just keep asking, and then check when they break.
You can do this!
 

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When I got this gelding he was a western pleasure horse and had done this for 12 years before I got him. He had the slooowest walk and trot. we have worked on it, for the trot I just came down the long side of the farm heading home, he was keen and i let him trot and encouraged him forward a bit, he could trot as fast as he wanted but no canter and he did develop a good trot.
I also encourage him to a forward walk the same way, I use a verbal and physical aide that is new to him so he doesn't get confused with his old aides and just try to go into a jog or trot. He is catching on but it has taken longer and the truth is he will never have a good forward walk. I show him in dressage and I guess if he can give it to me for a minute or so I will have to be happy with that.
I know he will never keep up with gaited horses.
 

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I say yes as well, but it might have as much to do with the rider as the horse. My regular riding buddy has a gelding that can really dawdle on the trail. After taking a few lessons, she committed herself to WALKING, not w a l k i n g. Really WALKING, and meaning it with the amount of focus on forward that she herself had. It meant she had to concentrate more than she did sometimes on the trail, when she and her horse would both tend to smell the roses a bit 😉

Her instructor had her go down the trail for short intervals every day for a week- just a mile - but to expect nothing but a forward, marching walking. She didn't annoy the horse, she didn't micromanage, she just firmly insisted in the first few strides that they were WALKING and focus her own energy to reinforce that expectation. When he tried to dawdle, she did respond with strong leg, but as soon as he responded, she was quiet with her legs and still focused with her energy. After doing that for a week, the next time we rode together her horse was no longer dropping several horse lengths behind mine, who has what I'd call a fairly average, non-gaited walk.
 

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I like a good forward walk and most of my horses could do that for me.
It seemed when I went out in a group I could be at the back but for some reason usually ended up at or near the front as my horse would walk out better.
I remember when I took a young horse out on a big trial ride 90 to 100 horses, I thought since this is new to him I will stay at the back, by the time we were back to the trailers I was right up with the front riders. With such a big group it was all walking but some really lovely trails so it wasn't boring.
 

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I've never had any luck getting my slow walkers to naturally walk faster. It's not that they can't but like you said the constant work to make them move out makes the ride not fun and the minute you let up on the pressure they are back to moving at a snail's pace, until you turn towards home that is. LOL
 

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I am in the No category. Yes, you can MAKE them walk faster, is it smooth? Is it tiring? is it natural? If the horse isn't trying you can push them a little faster but to make it their go to gait. I don't think so.

I ride a forward TWH mare. I have been told that I should make her walk slow, as in slow enough to walk with the stock horses. Can I? Yes. Do I do it often? no. In order to do so I have to be on her all of the time. It gets frustrating for both of us.

You can enhance whats there by nature - you can't force it. Horses are like people, some are faster than others.
 

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I have only had experience with trying to make one slow walker go more forward/faster at the walk, and based on that experience, I am with the no group. It was not much fun for either us. He had a lovely forward trot, but walk was definitely a slow stroll.

I much prefer a horse that has a nice fast forward walk naturally.
 

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My Pony has a very poky walk. Can he be made to walk faster, like a working walk? Yes he can, but it takes a LOT of effort, and it's no fun for the rider or for him. And the second you stop with all the urging, he will drop back into his normal poky walk. The only reason I keep thinking that I should work on it is, I hear it's better for them to have more of a working walk.

I will say, on our trail ride a few days ago, he had the most amazing working walk for about 20 minutes, until he settled down. It was NICE! And even after he settled down, he was still walking quite a bit faster than is usual for him -- at one point Moonshine was several hundred feet behind us, and she has a nice normal walking speed. So he can do it. And he really is naturally very poky.

Ultimately, unless it really is THAT much healthier for them, I don't see the point. I mean, if you have a certain requirement for a horse (needs to have a fast walk) then buy a horse that meets that requirement. Don't buy a different horse and then try to force them to be the horse you want. At least that's what I think.
 

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Skip is ssslllloooowwww, except when he hits second gear in drill I’m at the back of every trail ride, and would rather be in the back in parades. It is a lot of work to make him keep up with the faster moving horses and lucky for me, he doesn’t care if others pass him.
Too much work in my opinion to get him to walk faster. He and I are good being pokey!


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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I have always had hip animation at a walk and a lope. Doesn't everyone? Just as using your hips driving as you begin a lope and continuing it you can increase walking speed by speeding up your hip animation and a little leg squeeze at a walk. I'll guarantee your horse will walk faster walking back to the barn than going out from the barn so he has two walking speeds. A trot has 3, a jog, normal trot and long trot. A lope should have 3 speeds also, it is just a matter of developing all speeds in your speed control.
 

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I think there are a number of factors.

A green horse may not know yet that he can stretch out his walk, and I've experienced that many times. When excited, they will tend to jig rather than stretch out, and over time they will learn how to walk bigger.

However, conformation is a big limiting factor. Tight muscled horses are not going to be able to stretch out, and horses that have physical problems also will not be able to do a big walk.

Then there is the mental factor, which might often be tied into the physical issues mentioned above.
I think there are a couple of clues that might tell you if a horse could walk faster. One is if the horse walks faster when there is incentive, such as when turning back toward home. A second is if the horse mentally seems to want to walk faster, but jigs instead. In both of those cases, I've had the horse learn to stretch out and give a big walk.
If the horse just walks slow all the time, in the field and everywhere, then I don't think it is fair to try to make them walk out. That is their natural physical and mental walking speed.
 

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I think that different horses naturally have different speeds due to combination of age, temperament, conformation, personality, sensitivity and desire to be in the front or fear of being alone when they fall behind. Some are just really happy to mosey along or just super slow. That said, some will take advantage of the rider and fall further and further back if the rider does nothing to set and keep up a pace. All the slow walkers I have been on can be sped up but it does take active riding and focus as given a choice they would revert back.

I have also found that some are super slow walking down hills. I assume that they need that pace to keep balance and don’t hurry them on the hills.
 

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I think you can for sure. It’s just the same as how we can walk faster if we try. My dad and husband expect a good walk, and they get it. Me? I don’t really care very much.

Sure, I’ll get after a horse if he’s intentionally dawdling, but I don’t care if he just walks slow. I’ll trot to keep up. The only time a slow walk effects me is team branding. There is a rule that you have to walk until the cattle break. That’s when a good running walk comes in handy, but I’m usually heeling anyways, and I can get up where I need after they break.

I think I don’t care for the same reason you don’t. When I am pushing myself to walk really fast it isn’t particularly enjoyable. When I am pushing a horse to walk fast I again have less fun. I don’t like peddling, I don’t like always being on.

I find nothing wrong with people who do push the walk though. It’s admirable, it’s just not my thing. Cash can walk fast, but usually is pretty slow. Bones walks pretty slow oddly enough, and Queen spends her time irritated beyond belief at why no one shows enough ambition to suit her. Beamer is fast and Lucy is slow but asked to be fast, and Zeus is capable of a true running walk that can blow your mind.
 

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From my limited experience with one horse, I'd say it depends on the horse. My late Amal, who was 14-3 hands, trotted at the 7-8 mph range and "cantered" at 18 mph. So he wasn't lazy. But his walk was at barely 2.5 mph. By working with my seat and developing a faster rhythm, I was able to speed his walk to 2.8 mph. But I was never able to get him to walk faster than that. His trot always remained the same. And I was able to slow his canter to 13-14 mph.:)
 
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