View Full Version : I can't Walk
1st Jul 2002, 09:26 PM
okay title sounds drastic but:
I have trouble getting an active walk, I've put it in training of the rider because this problem isn't just on one particular horse, I;m fine in the other paces but seem to let horse's go like donkeys (no offence to any donkey lovers) in walk, if I encourage the horse on then the walk gets better then 3 strides later its back to same old plod.
What am I doing wrong,
1st Jul 2002, 11:46 PM
You're probably doing nothing wrong! We sadly can't read horses' minds so can't work out why they plod. Riding school horses get very bored so plod. Also they get a jab in the mouth everytime they go faster so it is not surprising they are rather sluggish!
I've had the same problem on various horses and I've only found a couple of solutions. The first seems to work really well as long as no-one else has tried it on that horse. In walk, nudge with the inside leg as the horse's inside shoulder/leg moves forwards, then change legs as your outside leg is moved forwards.
Don't sit back/down in the saddle as this will block the horses movement. Try to stretch yourself tall and squeeze or nudge , rather than kick, with your legs. Horses generally respond better to a few hard squeezes than lots of kicks.
The final idea is to carry a crop. You should never make your horse scared of the whip but it should respect it. If it does, the sight of a crop is often enough to snap the horse out of the funny mood. If not, try to fnd the cause as it is probably not just 'testing the rider'. Anyway, good luck!
2nd Jul 2002, 10:21 AM
make sure you give with the hands in walk with the horses hear, don't keep them rigid like in trot and canter, also don't sit still in the saddle, try to move with the horses movement.
2nd Jul 2002, 02:02 PM
Lucy is right; give with your hands otherwise you are saying 'go' with your legs and 'stop' with your hands! By the way, your hands should never be rigid in any pace although they are generally still in trot because the horse's head stays relatively still. However, you should always give with the reins in walk
and canter because these are the paces in which the horse nods its head to balance it. If anything it's more important in canter than walk!
2nd Jul 2002, 10:49 PM
You're certainly not alone, Hel. I've always been told that the walk is really the hardest gait to perfect (in terms of maintaining a steady rhythm, good impulsion, while keeping the horse on the bit). My instructor advises something similar to what Em says. She tells me to give slight leg aids alternately, as the horse's corresponding hind leg is forward. As far as maintaining that, if the horse is used to just dragging around in the walk, he is likely to need regular reminders. Of course, I have a hard enough time of my own in keeping a nice walk.
4th Jul 2002, 01:43 AM
I think a lot of problems with horses having slow plodding walks is that they've simply been asked and asked and asked for more and become dull to the aids.
what you should be able to do to get an active walk is the smallest possible touch with your legs, and give with your hands. If the horse doesn't respond a strong tap with the whip will clarify. you shouldn't have to do that more than once or twice however. The correction also needs to be immediate or it won't work, immediate being 3/4 of a second pretty much. Once the horse gets what it's supposed to be doing it will become more sensitive to your light aids and you'll be able to give them a lot less often. :)
28th Jul 2002, 03:26 AM
I just had a group lesson the other night with 2 other riders and they were having trouble getting their horses to walk and not to plod. You have to be an active rider not just a passenger when your walking. remember to move your hands with the horses head and swing your hips with the horses movements or foot falls. I think we all have a tendancy to just be a passenger when we're walking our horses. The best example I've had is to have someone stand behind you with their arms around your neck and try and walk without any help from them. Not easy , but if that person begins to move with you , you become a team effort.
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