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Performing free walk that changes direction at X?

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  • Performing free walk that changes direction at X?

    The Canadian Intro test B has a free walk that does not cross the entire diagonal, but changes direction at X to head back to the same long side:

    "H X K Free walk on loose rein"

    How is one supposed to ride this? It is not specified as a loop, yet the directives I read for a similar test talked about the quality of the bend.

    I have been letting the reins go loose, riding a straight line and then steering my horse with my legs and body to change direction at X. Should I be riding it more as a loop? Should I be establishing a bend when I leave H and before I let the reins go loose?

    The horse I am currently riding has a really nice walk and I've gotten an 8 on the free walk straight across the diagonal, but I need to change things up to achieve the same thing in this test.

  • #2
    If you've got 8's on your free walk, DON'T change anything!!!!

    Start your diagonal as usual, go straight and do a corner at X and go straight to the end of that new diagonal and finish as you would usually do.

    Just to add that this movement is called a counter change of hand. That is why it is not supposed to be looped.
    Last edited by AlterBy; Jul. 6, 2011, 11:46 AM.


    • #3
      In the US tests if you read the directives it seems to be more concerned with the lengthening, lowering and straightness of the diagonals. No mention of change of bend over X so I wouldn't ride it as so much a loop if your test reads the same. Concentrate on keeping the forward march and long frame.

      Groom to trainer: "Where's the glamour? You promised me glamour!"


      • #4
        Not so much a loop, as make sure that when you make your turn at X, the horse is bent in the direction of the turn.

        chief feeder and mucker for Music, Spy, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now).


        • Original Poster

          So you wouldn't touch your reins at any point until you were making the transition to the medium walk?


          • #6
            Well, you hold on to the reins, just in case


            • #7
              Originally posted by Rhiannonjk View Post
              Well, you hold on to the reins, just in case


              • #8
                Originally posted by Vesper Sparrow View Post
                So you wouldn't touch your reins at any point until you were making the transition to the medium walk?

                seems to be the general idea behind this exercise...change directions relatively independent from the reins.


                • Original Poster

                  Sometimes, I do need that reminder!


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Vesper Sparrow View Post
                    So you wouldn't touch your reins at any point until you were making the transition to the medium walk?
                    The free walk can be on a "long rein" or a "loose rein". Whichever you choose (and some judges definitely prefer a loose rein), use the same one for the turn at X.

                    chief feeder and mucker for Music, Spy, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now).


                    • #11
                      think of X as a corner that your horse's body moves through
                      chaque pas est fait ensemble


                      • Original Poster

                        That is a good thought! I think I have been making the turn too abruptly so the mare loses a bit of the momentum of the walk and doesn't stretch as much in the second part. I will think of it more as a corner and turn her a bit more gradually.

                        Who knew free walk could be so complicated?


                        • #13
                          I ride it as straight line to X, straight line after. I do it "long rein" (too many spooks on a youngster) and start to shorten the reins back up between the quarter line and the letter at which we are supposed to resume "medium walk," so that he is on the bit and doing medium walk as we pass the letter.


                          • Original Poster

                            Thanks for the help! I think I will make a point of watching some pros do this figure the next time I'm at a national show...

                            Sandy, I, too, start shortening the reins just past the quarter line.

                            The mare, although young, a TB and still very green, is not spooky at all, so I don't worry about giving her all the rein she wants.