View Full Version : Help with my walk!!
3rd Jun 2002, 09:34 AM
I have an appaloosa and he is slowly accepting dressage as fun...
However, I am having trouble with our walk. He walks up beautifully and tracks up nicely behind on a long rein, but as soon as I shorten the reins and ask him to come down on a reasonable contact, he shortens up and contracts his back and won't move forward at all, he will occasionally come down and move forward but only for a few strides and only after a LOT of leg. I try to keep as light a contact with his mouth as possible. His trot and canter are beautiful, but we lose a lot of marks on our medium and working walk. Also we occasionally get low marks for our canters as his "quarters are in" on 20 metre circles. Can anyone help me with exercises to help these problems....they arent major but I would like to improve on our marks.
5th Jun 2002, 11:58 AM
for the quarters in - try leg yielding on a circle, spiral in and out. Better try at trot first though, and canter should be spiral in, leg yield out.
Try shallow loops along the long side in canter. Start with just a meter or so an increase to, say, 3 m. If this is fine, you could build up to a little counter canter :)
If he is Quarters In at canter, could there be something there to explain the walk as well ? i.e. some stiffness or muscle weakness that you need to work on ? Even if only small.
I would try lots of suppling exercises at a workman-like walk. Don't try and shorten the reins much at all, i.e. shorten them to just before you get resistance. Again use the spiral exercise at walk. With some of these exercises you should find the horse naturally engages more and collects themself. Then you just take up whatever slack they create ! Lateral work - leg yield, forehand in (not quite a shoulder in) and so on, but all without shortening the rein, should also help.
if it isn't physical, the tension may relate to someone doing work like this before but using too much rein - so if you do as much as possible but all at "working walk", it might help.
5th Jun 2002, 08:44 PM
There is no muscular or skeletal problems with him as far as I can tell. I do know that his old owner used to "knuckle" his head down at the walk creating a very tense and frustrating walk which "didnt go anywhere". I have had him for about 6 months now and I have been trying very hard to get a nice relaxed walk with a nice swing in the back. We try this our hacking and we mange ok, but as soon as we get into the dressage arena to school, it all goes out the window. We also have been practising a lot of upwards and downwards transitions like walk to trot, trot to walk to halt. Walk to canter...canter to walk while maintaining as mch impulsion as we can muster...It is working so far as he stays very alert wondering what is coming next and it is engaging his hindquarters really well. I think his problem when I take up a contact at the walk is he is expecting me to take up a very tight contact and knuckle him down with no head freedom like his old owner used to! So its partly psychological....even though in 6 months I have always had the lightest contact at the walk!!
As for his canter....I will do some shallow loops and counter canter. We had one dressage test where we had to do a 5m shallow loop down the long side at canter on both reins with no change of leg....thinking about it now our next marks for the canter circles following on from that received two 8's!! And no comments stating quarters in!! So you are absolutley right!! Thanks CVB!!
25th Jul 2002, 10:36 AM
I don't know what has come over my horse lately. He is doing really well. His walk is more forward (a little tiny bit) and he goes into my contact with very little arguing now. His trot work is becoming freer and his rhythm at canter is so much better. We have been doing minimal schooling as there is practically no where to school at the moment it is so wet. So we just road ride and on all the verges we don't slop along at all, we keep going forward and I keep him on the bit and he is very responsive as I do lots of transitions and very his speed and pace and stride. I also have use of a training track which I use once or twice a week. I do interval training here, but I also do a bit of work on his stride and paces here. He is much happier than going round and round a school and he really shone in shocking weather last sunday when we got 3rd in the dressage!!
Some of our best comments and marks were things like...
Nice straight positive entry=8
Nice canter rhythm=7
Smooth downwards transition=7
For the end marks I got 15s out of 20s for rider marks, rhythm and obedience and generally how the horse goes.!!
Go me and Cheeky!!LOL!!
25th Jul 2002, 10:37 AM
PS and just a week ago I was ready to throw in the towel on dressage!!lol
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