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~Freedom~
Sep. 4, 2008, 08:50 PM
Uses, advantages in training ?


Please discuss.

smithywess
Sep. 5, 2008, 02:13 AM
Confirms straightness and activity at the very slow walk,but most of all mise en main.For me it is a test of lightness in self carriage.

Kathy Johnson
Sep. 5, 2008, 05:06 AM
Useful for horses who get lateral or pacey in the walk.

ShotenStar
Sep. 5, 2008, 06:17 AM
Also useful for focusing the rider's attention to the fine details of a correct walk.

*star*

pintopiaffe
Sep. 5, 2008, 07:36 AM
So why don't more teach it and practice it?

Jean-Claude Racinet is the only one I have ever, ever seen or heard of teaching it. In fact, he has the only 'directions' I've ever found on 'how-to.'

(He also advocates the double for flexion of the jaw, and we see where *that* has gotten me... :lol: )

Kaeleer
Sep. 5, 2008, 08:02 AM
Please can somebody educate this poor, ignorant eventer about what a counted walk is?

bird4416
Sep. 5, 2008, 08:20 AM
Please can somebody educate this poor, ignorant eventer about what a counted walk is?

Me too.

~Freedom~
Sep. 5, 2008, 09:12 AM
Kaeleer/Bird...It is something I have been reading up on and it relates to the lifting of the loins/ribcage to lighten that area.

It does appear to be a more Baroque area of training so I was wondering what the people here had to say.

Kaeleer
Sep. 5, 2008, 09:21 AM
Freedom, do you require a crane for this particular exercise, or is this something that can be achieved sans heavy machinery?

~Freedom~
Sep. 5, 2008, 09:35 AM
Freedom, do you require a crane for this particular exercise, or is this something that can be achieved sans heavy machinery?


As I said I am reading up on it and this is what was posted on its achievement. The following is not my post but one that was used as an explanation.

IN the counted walk, you suck up your seat muscles on one side only, as the back rises on that side, lightening your seat bone in the process, so left side of back rises, left buttock clenches, right side rises, right buttock clenches. Horse must be very light and attentively on the bit to achieve this too.

Legs work opposite to buttock clench, so left buttock clenches, right leg is closed, release as right buttock rises, and close left leg, and so on.

I initially was looking for information on stepping under and came across this term ( Counted walk). Just not one that I was aware of. I may have done well in showing and training myself but am always open to hearing about other ideas.

BaroquePony
Sep. 5, 2008, 10:06 AM
Originally quoted by ~Freedom~ as a quote from someone else (Kaeleer/Bird):

IN the counted walk, you suck up your seat muscles on one side only, as the back rises on that side, lightening your seat bone in the process, so left side of back rises, left buttock clenches, right side rises, right buttock clenches. Horse must be very light and attentively on the bit to achieve this too.

Legs work opposite to buttock clench, so left buttock clenches, right leg is closed, release as right buttock rises, and close left leg, and so on.

I have never heard of the "counted walk", but from this description, I have had it taught to me by several I Judges and O Riders as, essentially, the correct way of using your seat in all gaits.

pintopiaffe
Sep. 5, 2008, 11:45 AM
The movement gets it's name from the way you can control *each step* of the walk, almost as if dropping water out of a dropper. It is a school walk of equisite slowness and elevation. When done correctly, the withers lift spectacularly, and the horse comes onto (into) perfect Ramener with little to no action of the reins--hence it's value.

Racinet teaches it by holding with the BACK and certainly says nothing about 'clenching' a 'buttock' though that may be another method, it's not one I've heard.

DressageGeek "Ribbon Ho"
Sep. 5, 2008, 12:18 PM
This is sort of what my trainer has been helping me with - but not so much detail re the buttocks. However - we do this both in the saddle and on the ground. We count out the beats, but I also see and feel placement (so as not to be doing "rope walking," as she calls it).

The way she describes it as more like a bouncing ball, with emphasis on the "up" - your goal is to use your seat to bounce the hind leg up to meet you. However - this isn't to be separated from the front end, because you are bouncing that hind leg up and through into a specific rein - so, in essence, his hind end is bringing your hands and his mouth to your seat - and then you "recycle" that energy.

Does that help? Or are we not talking about the same thing?

pintopiaffe
Sep. 5, 2008, 12:38 PM
Not quite the same thing. Counted walk is meticulously S L O W. Just at the point where the horse seems like he's going to halt, you give the back, and that is the moment where the withers rise and the penny drops, so to speak.

It's a very specific excercise.

What some folks, including DGRH are speaking of is learning to influence the walk, and collect it.

Counted walk is to walk what piaffe is to trot.

ideayoda
Sep. 5, 2008, 01:10 PM
The counted walk is ONE step at a time, four beats done in their very slow progression. It can correct a pace (when s.i. does not work). The walk however is not to be restrained from the hand.

smithywess
Sep. 5, 2008, 01:16 PM
Pinto piaffe has it. Buttocks and legs are not part of the equation.This is the icing on the cake toward the school walk which we hardly ever see in these modern times.There must be perfect straightness,very good activity in the hindquarters,diagonalization of the gait,a lifted back and above all lightness exemplified by mise en main where not only is there ramener but in addition supreme relaxation of the lower jaw but together with a mellow mobilization of the tongue.Lipstick on both sides of the mouth is a result.No drooling.No dryness either.The horse must be completely decontracted and without resistance,light and balanced.The movement forward of the front feet is very measured as is the up and down movement of the hinds as they move forward in diagonalization similar to the analogy of the eye-dropper.This soon becomes an issue of self carriage, where, by definition lightness is the main ingredient.Perfect obedience in submission where the main ingredient is the activity the horse will offer.Nothing is demanded here by buttocks and legs.Courtesy and suggestion instead.The activity must be there already. Vibrations of the outside three fingers on one or both hands on a perfectly quiet seat controlled by perfectly controlled springs in the rider's back.The only reason to use leg is if the activity dies, when the fingers must open, and the the whole process restarted from anew.Once the activity dies there is no more counted walk.Or school walk for that matter.There is very little riding like this these days.Preparation before movement is seldom observed.Just lots of buttocks and legs,and hands that pull.

twofatponies
Sep. 5, 2008, 01:18 PM
I saw Bettina Drummond do a demonstration once, where she walked a pattern in the arena, and the horse was walking with a studied grace, so controlled, each leg hesitating for a moment before setting down, in patterns like calligraphy. It was astonishing. Is that the sort of walk you mean? It wasn't a collected walk, it was almost a Spanish walk, but without the exaggerated lifting of each leg, but with that kind of "hang time".

pintopiaffe
Sep. 5, 2008, 01:43 PM
Wow. Smithywess... welcome! So beautifully put.

And yes, Twofatponies, that was counted walk. :yes:

smithywess
Sep. 5, 2008, 01:48 PM
I think you've more than likely seen it number 17 when you describe Bettina Drummond's ride.

twofatponies
Sep. 5, 2008, 03:10 PM
Then I'll add that to things I'd like to learn to do one day! :D

BaroquePony
Sep. 5, 2008, 03:13 PM
Originally posted by smithywess:

Buttocks and legs are not part of the equation.
.............
The only reason to use leg is if the activity dies, when the fingers must open, and the the whole process restarted from anew.Once the activity dies there is no more counted walk.Or school walk for that matter.There is very little riding like this these days.Preparation before movement is seldom observed.Just lots of buttocks and legs,and hands that pull.

Not sure I understand how a rider does not use any buttocks and legs, and just because a rider is using buttocks and legs does not in any manner insinuate that they are "pulling" with their hands.

And lots of "buttocks and legs" would be quite different than very subtle buttocks and legs, as in isometric movements.

Any time the rider does not keep their aids in place, no matter how subtle, they risk losing the movement. I thought that was what it was all about.

Aiming for extreme lightness and self-carriage is always the goal.

slc2
Sep. 5, 2008, 03:18 PM
"lots of buttocks and legs"

sounds like a movie my SO wants to rent.

BaroquePony
Sep. 5, 2008, 03:25 PM
:lol:

EqTrainer
Sep. 5, 2008, 03:49 PM
I have used it with good success in my personal horse.

I like to think of it as teaching the horse to use their back in elevation. When it is correct it feels as if the horse is hanging down from your seat, it's really an amazing feeling.

The rider has to have the imagination and nerve to allow the horse to move this way. It's not always for the faint of heart IMO as the exaggeration of each step is very pronounced :lol:

It has the added benefit IMO of teaching the rider to *be still* to influence the back... the quieter the seat, the more the horse is enabled to move through the back.

Sometimes I let people get on my horse and feel it.. it really helps them understand what quiet is, and how it relates to allowing the horse to be more free. Fun stuff.

BaroquePony
Sep. 5, 2008, 03:56 PM
Originally posted by EqTrainer:

It has the added benefit IMO of teaching the rider to *be still* to influence the back... the quieter the seat, the more the horse is enabled to move through the back.

While I agree with this statement, *be still*, too often it gets misinterpreted and the rider gets stiff in the back.

Technically, a quiet seat is really not a still seat on a moving horse.

stryder
Sep. 5, 2008, 04:05 PM
The counted walk is ONE step at a time, four beats done in their very slow progression. It can correct a pace (when s.i. does not work). The walk however is not to be restrained from the hand.

We are working on the counted walk. I think of it as "tai chi for ponies." Balance. Lightness. Straightness. From the counted walk we can go into piaffe or a lovely smooth canter. I ask her to elevate her head, but she must hold it up. The reins are loopy. When her nose is high enough, she will make herself more comfortable by going into the ramener. My seat is very quiet and my balance must be perfect. To help shorten her base, I may ask her to back a few steps. Then forward a few. Back a few.

As she gets closer to the counted walk, she may become crooked. If I straighten her with my hand, and I remain balanced and relaxed, and not pull in any way, she will offer the counted walk. It amazes me even more than the piaffe, when we get even a few steps of counted walk.

EqTrainer
Sep. 5, 2008, 04:29 PM
While I agree with this statement, *be still*, too often it gets misinterpreted and the rider gets stiff in the back.

Technically, a quiet seat is really not a still seat on a moving horse.


It does. But the seat only moves relative to the movement of the horses back... which is quite small. I find this exercise really helps students learn what quiet means.. and yes, they do have to work thru the difference between stiff and quiet.. but unless they *try*, they won't ever learn to be appropriately quiet. IMO it is so very worth it!

This particular exercise exaggerates the reality that the more the horse is truly moving, the harder you have to work to stay quiet. On a horse with little back movement, it is easier.. but the possibility of the exaggeration is lost. The only way to achieve the counted walk is to be quiet.. not just in the seat, but in the entire core. It won't happen until they lose their wiggle in the middle <LOL>

In my personal experience (and I am sure this is different for everyone) the people who come to me have been taught what they think is "going with the movement" and in reality, they are sliding their seat over the saddle/the horses back and creating extra movement that should not be there. They think they are very loose and flexible.. when in reality they have no control over their seat and therefore very little control over the horses carriage.

Not to mention, it's ugly :winkgrin:

DressageGeek "Ribbon Ho"
Sep. 5, 2008, 05:52 PM
Thanks for the explanations! Yes - we are moving towards the collected walk - the counted walk will be down the road. Bet my boy could do it though, as he can piaffe - maybe not with me in the saddle, but with someone who knows how to ask...

Kaeleer
Sep. 6, 2008, 02:07 AM
Thank you for clarifying.

I confess to being very, very afraid. I was always taught that the walk is the easiest of the gaits to destroy, the hardest to correct, and I've always picked horses with good walks first, then good canters and the trot is a bit okay, well....


I don't think I have the feel, tact or experience to try this. Should this thread come with a warning?

slc2
Sep. 6, 2008, 06:13 AM
Absolutely, even one directed toward the rider WITH 'the skill to do it'.

EqTrainer
Sep. 6, 2008, 09:28 AM
Thank you for clarifying.

I confess to being very, very afraid. I was always taught that the walk is the easiest of the gaits to destroy, the hardest to correct, and I've always picked horses with good walks first, then good canters and the trot is a bit okay, well....


I don't think I have the feel, tact or experience to try this. Should this thread come with a warning?

Perhaps :lol: As with most things here, you would ideally have a good instructor who knew that you and your horse were ready and capable.

As to the walk being the easiest gait to destroy, I suppose it is, but I also think that rather than avoiding it people should be *taught* how to ride it. Being a low impact gait, the horse who has learned to warm up well at the walk avoids unnecessary concussion on his legs and pounding on the back.. there are lots of other nice things about working in the walk, but this one comes to my mind first as I slept in and just had my first cup of coffee :lol:

But sure, you don't want to go out there and just start monkeying around with it.

Kaeleer
Sep. 6, 2008, 10:46 AM
As to the walk being the easiest gait to destroy, I suppose it is, but I also think that rather than avoiding it people should be *taught* how to ride it.

Maybe. My walks, even on my shithead TB, had a low-score of 6, generally I score 8s for my walks.

Nope, I don't school them. I pick horses who HAVE them and then I do my damndest not to ruin them. That doesn't mean that I don't do a lot at the walk, I just don't try to fix what isn't broken.

grayarabpony
Sep. 6, 2008, 12:55 PM
Many TBs have FANTASTIC walks. Now I have a Half Arabian pony who CAN have a good walk, but it's very difficult to it get on purpose -- she prefers to slow trot. I'm trying to digest the 5s I've gotten for her walks at her first shows :lol::o -- I'm not used to getting those kinds of scores for walks!

EqTrainer
Sep. 6, 2008, 01:16 PM
Maybe. My walks, even on my shithead TB, had a low-score of 6, generally I score 8s for my walks.

Nope, I don't school them. I pick horses who HAVE them and then I do my damndest not to ruin them. That doesn't mean that I don't do a lot at the walk, I just don't try to fix what isn't broken.

All my shithead TB's have great walks, funny it's always been my shithead WB's that had questionable walks. Are we talking about free walks? Because to do a collected walk, a medium walk, and a walk pirouette, *some* schooling must have been done in the walk.

I don't think the counted walk is about fixing anything... or at least I don't use it that way. My personal horse has a 9 walk, even in his biggest QH shithead moment he's never scored lower than a 8 and that's when he was tense and aggravated. FWIW, I really didn't think he deserved that score but I guess that's an incidental example of what dressage scores really mean when taken one at a time :lol: I don't get to choose all the horses whose walks I ride, many are clients horses, so the skill of developing a better walk out of a questionable or lateral walk is a valuable one to me.

Tiligsmom
Sep. 6, 2008, 01:26 PM
EqTrainer.... Sounds like you have a lot of "shithead" horses! Too bad:eek:

EqTrainer
Sep. 6, 2008, 01:29 PM
EqTrainer.... Sounds like you have a lot of "shithead" horses! Too bad:eek:

No, I've just had a lot of horses :lol: if you count all the training horses, all the horses I've had since I was a child and all the sale horses, then all the client horses, I have sat on a LOT of horses...

but I was actually making a reference to Kaeleer's comment about his/her shithead TB :lol: you know, just trying to keep the context the same :winkgrin:

DressageGeek "Ribbon Ho"
Sep. 6, 2008, 02:06 PM
EqTrainer - so glad you posted. We do a lot of work at the walk, and I have been told by more than one clinician that my "shitty" OTTB has a 9 or 10 walk (of course, I have to be asking for that, so when he isn't, a lot of that is my problem!). Thanks to a wonderful trainer, our walk has improved greatly.

Recently, in a lesson, my trainer had me feel the difference in my horse's back as we ask for a halt transition, and I could truly feel for the first time if my seat/weight is even just the smallest bit off, he will brace. I wonder whether that may be part of the problem with Kaeleer's horse - in general, a TB does not have as strong a back as a warmblood, and they are certainly very sensitive.

I remember thinking, "Why the hell doesn't he just buck me off sometimes?"

Kaeleer
Sep. 6, 2008, 02:22 PM
Eqtrainer, I've only ever had one WB, my other horses were / are all TBs.

Only one was a shithead :) Sorry, should have clarified. I agree with you that most TBs have great walks. My others all do, and the WB has a good walk, but I do have to ask him to walk forward, which I don't with the TBs.

I've taken this way off topic, apologies to Freedom.

~Freedom~
Sep. 6, 2008, 05:29 PM
I've taken this way off topic, apologies to Freedom.

No problem. The counted walk or any walk discussion is something I have been looking for. So many times the trot and canter have been discussed to the exclusion of this very important gait.

I was reading up on the counted walk as just expanding my knowledge not having done it (although I may have not realizing it). I still remember going to a show where it had rained terribly the night before and the ground was very slippery. I had a very small piece of real estate to work with and my whole warm up was just walk,bend and lateral. No trot, no canter. I was not going to put my horse in harms way especially after I saw the other horses slipping all over the place doing trot and canter. I fully expected to finish last. This was at Px St. Georges level.


I won the class. :eek::yes:

DressageGeek "Ribbon Ho"
Sep. 6, 2008, 08:18 PM
~Freedom~ - great post.