View Full Version : How low should you go: Free Walk Question

May. 14, 2012, 05:30 AM
Little miss Willa is debuting at her first show next weekend! She's been under saddle for a few months and we're doing Intro B. She loves contact and when we do our free walk she'll go as long and low as I let her...nose on the ground if I slip the reins. I know she shouldn't go that low so is there a rule of thumb about how stretched/low she should be at the free walk? Nose level with knee? Higher? Lower? I've never had one stretch so nicely so I realize I've never had to worry about this before! LOL I should keep shorter contact until we complete the turn onto the short diagonal and then begin giving her more rein...right? And start to gather before we hit E? I've been out of the show scene for awhile! Any walk tips would be much appreciated! :-)

May. 14, 2012, 08:02 AM
As long as she keeps her stride nice and open and forward, then let her go as low and out as she wants BUT you should be keeping contact with her mouth. It's not a drop-the-reins movement and it's not a slow-down movement. She should have the same energy as in the regular walk, just stretch in her frame and stride.

Start the turn and then fairly quickly let out the reins. Pick them back up also fairly quickly before the letter.

One other thing - keep your hands together during the free walk. Don't widen them to keep the contact. That shows lack of a connection between horse and rider.

Good luck!

(Disclaimer: This is all coming from someone who shows TL and scribes at recognized shows a lot, so take it for what it is.)

May. 14, 2012, 10:52 AM
Willa should take the reins as you give them, stretching down and out while maintaining a contact -- ideally that means through the entire topline!

Neither of you should snatch at the reins and the walk should maintain the same smooth nicely marching forward energy throughout the movement.

As X points out, the movement isn't just a "trick" ... it demonstrates your communication (connection).


May. 14, 2012, 03:28 PM
The directives for usef say 'complete freedom' but the fei for free walk says 'not lower hand horizontal' (because steadily lower affects freedom and can slow the horse if sustained). So, the issue is that the horse seeks the hand and MAINTAINS FREE WALK (and the type of contact (loose or long) is no longer specified).

May. 14, 2012, 08:41 PM
That's why I was confused! I've seen both! I guess I'll just send her down into a nice swinging walk and keep a long contact. She really will drag her nose on the ground to stay with the contact but just as she passes her knees we start to lose roundness...but not the rythym or swing. So better to keep her a bit round then really stretched into contact but with a longer, flatter neck/back?