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Going Lateral in the Walk - How to Amend?

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  • Going Lateral in the Walk - How to Amend?

    I finally got someone to videotape myself on my youngster and was fairly happy with what I saw except he definitely is developing a lateral walk, which I kind of suspected and would like to not happen. I start every ride with his moving out at the walk on the buckle outside of the arena for about 10 minutes with 4 clear beats. When I pick up the reins, he starts to get a touch more lateral, but it is VERY obvious when I come back down from the trot to walk.

    I haven't really done any walk work yet other than brief interludes in the walk for transitions or breaks. My previous mount had a fabulous walk (easy 16" oversteps - he was ridiculous) and so I don't really know how to deal with this problem.

    On the lunge with side reins, whenever I saw him getting more lateral, I would cluck him on a bit and that solved the issue.

    Any suggestions? At this point, I feel like I just need to be very conscious of keeping a following hand in the walk to not restrict him and to generally avoid the walk until he is loosened up more undersaddle. Would that be correct? Keep in mind, he is greengreengreen with only 30 days in work.
    Pacific Coast Eventing
    Standing Yeager GF

  • #2
    Not an expert--be sure you are not inadvertently blocking him with your seat (or tension elsewhere in the body)--in otherwords try to maintain a supple seat free from tension with legs draping softly from your hips to your toes. Not a bad idea to check saddle fit or set some ground rails that you can easily walk over between short training sessions.
    Redbud Ranch
    Check us out on FB

    Comment

    • Original Poster

      #3
      Congratulations on Moonrock's performance this weekend!

      I don't *think* it is due to tension through my seat, though that is always a possibility. I do have a bit of a strong seat, though I seemed to have been able to curb that after riding a couple horses that were overly sensitive to the seat. I know my saddle isn't a perfect fit, but it seems to be fitting well enough for now. I just can't justify getting a custom saddle for a 3 yo. I do check for back soreness regularly in all my mounts, back he hasn't been hurting yet.

      I will definitely try some walk rails. I have been doing a healthy amount of trot cavallettis that I feel is getting him more self aware and using his hind end more.
      Pacific Coast Eventing
      Standing Yeager GF

      Comment


      • #4
        Thanks! DH said Rocky earned that "Safe Harbor" award several times this weekend! We are really happy with that guy!

        Just mentioned the seat because my guy early on in his training had a tendency towards getting lateral mainly due to my shutting him down with my seat--which I can still do if I am tense!. As he has progressed and grown stronger especially over his topline its become much much less of an issue---and the tendency has all but disappeared *provided I am aware of any tensions in my body. I start almost every ride just walking over poles on the ground--really helps him and me during our warm ups. You might also try some inside positioning to for a few steps to break up the lateral pairs.
        Redbud Ranch
        Check us out on FB

        Comment


        • #5
          Absolutely do NOT lunge with side reins in walk, the horse needs to bascule to keep the walk. What causes lateral tendencies? Tension in the back as well as too quick a tempo. IF the horse knows shoulder fore/in, then you can use that, as well as slowing the tempo slightly. If it is a younger horse sometimes the downhill growth spurts also effect the horse.
          I.D.E.A. yoda

          Comment


          • #6
            It pays to be friends with Thomas Ritter He posted these about a month ago.

            Jigging and the rushy walk are gaits that happen when the hind legs do not stay behind the vertical long enough. They are always based in a sucking back, an insufficient inclination of the horse’s torso into the movement, so that the body does not move far enough forward over the supporting legs, causing the short, quick steps of the hind legs. The opposite mistake – inclining the torso too much into the movement – shows up as stepping under too much by the hind legs and leaning onto the bit, in order to find a support base in the rider’s hand, without which the horse would fall down.
            Forceful rein aids, flexing the neck too early and too tightly during the initial starting phase are often responsible for this sucking back, which makes itself felt as a lack of rein contact with the hand. However, often excessively flexible, weak hindquarters are the culprit, if the rider robs them of their thrusting power by excessive loading of the haunches. Finally, this sucking back is often caused by tension in the back. Riding forward in lengthened strides will relax the back, so that the horse steps into the bit and begins to walk. Any half halts and collecting aids are a mistake on jigging horses, no matter where the jigging originates."
            (Friedrich von Krane, 1856)

            "Training the hind legs to remain behind the vertical longer at the trot will have to be a matter of practice as well. As at the walk, a premature narrow frame of the neck is to be avoided. One has to focus on a calm yielding of the back and allow the horse a more distinct contact with the bit. It is often difficult here to find the right weight distribution for the rider, since horses who tend to
            brace their back due to a short, stiff back, are induced to let go in their back and to keep the hind leg behind the vertical, when the weight is placed on the back, while the lift off of the hind legs is weakened. During the early training stages, the yielding of the back is the most important thing, in my opinion, and only after it is achieved, can the hindquarters be freed up by a forward inclination of the rider.
            On horses with a long, weak back this forward inclination would be appropriate in trot lengthenings and in exercises at the extended walk."
            (Friedrich von Krane, 1856)
            www.destinationconsensusequus.com
            chaque pas est fait ensemble

            Comment


            • #7
              I second ideayoda.

              Tension is your enemy!
              Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.

              Remember the horse does all the work, we just sit there and look pretty.

              Comment


              • #8
                years ago I took a clinic with Col. Anders Lindgren. At the clinic there was a VERY nice young mare who also had a lateral walk. He said:

                1.) Do not lunge horse
                2.) Ride horse in shoulder fore
                3.) Be careful "schooling" the walk - many times the rider can inadvertantly cause this issue, although in this case Anders knew the bloodlines and stated that the grandsire (a multi-Olympic contender) had a lateral walk - so it was likely hereditary.
                Now in Kentucky

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by SuZQuzie View Post
                  I know my saddle isn't a perfect fit, but it seems to be fitting well enough for now. I just can't justify getting a custom saddle for a 3 yo.
                  I just wanted to comment on this part - you don't at all need a custom saddle It may be that what you have now is just 1 size too small, maybe even only 1/2 size too small. If it fits otherwise, meaning the shape is correct, then find the same model in a wider tree. If it's too wide, then put a half pad, or shims up front, to fill in where he's not. The very very last thing you want is a saddle that's remotely too small for him

                  I do check for back soreness regularly in all my mounts, back he hasn't been hurting yet.
                  Unfortunately, by the time you do find "hurt", you might be looking at some good time off for things to heal. Horses can protect themselves pretty well for some period of time. He's young, he's growing, he's putting on muscle, and the saddle that might have fit 6 months ago is likely to not fit now. That would coincide with this lateral development.
                  ______________________________
                  The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Only 30 days under saddle? It's too soon to ask your horse to be "on the bit" at the walk. At the trot & canter, on-the-bit is fine because he's got his own impulsion. But keeping him "in a frame" at the walk is accentuating this problem because he can't use his neck and feels constricted, so he's going lateral.

                    Instead, slip him the reins and let him almost free-walk. You can keep a light feel by doing serpentines or other figures (and that will probably help him relax into a 4-beat walk anyway) but don't keep his neck short. When you gather up the reins to trot again, make it all in 1 motion: leg on, sit tall, subtly gather rein as you squeeze & trot. Yes he will start anticipating trot when you gather the reins, but you can deal with that pretty easily at a later date. The lateral walk is a bigger fault and harder to correct long-term, so nip that one now.
                    "You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed." - The Little Prince

                    Comment

                    • Original Poster

                      #11
                      Again, I just want to reiterate I'm not purposely schooling the walk at all yet and of the school that the contact in the walk will come once on its own assuming the horse is schooled correctly in the trot and canter.

                      Here, at around 11:22 you can see what I'm talking about. Also note, that I'm giving the reins very shortly after the transition is complete. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jr5k21buhcM

                      Same thing with lunging: my focus was much more on the transition that the walk. I have also mostly stopped lunging him since he has become very consistent undersaddle with very few baby antics.

                      It does seem to be the second problem that PetStoreJunkie mentioned of him being reluctant to allow his hind legs to go behind the vertical. I would say that 98% of him walking under saddle is on the buckle. So the solution is more of the same? Minimal walk work until he loosens up more?

                      JB, I don't think it is the saddle being too small. It was made for this colt's dam, but fit my older campaigner whom is wider than this guy. It is definitely too big in the shoulders/flaps, though. The tree width is appropriate for him though. No wither clearance issues. The panels are flush with his back except in the very front. Honestly, I would not be surprised if saddle fit improves with more work and growth.

                      Thank you all for your suggestions! I am definitely trying to keep this all in mind.
                      Pacific Coast Eventing
                      Standing Yeager GF

                      Comment

                      • Original Poster

                        #12
                        Originally posted by retrofit View Post
                        Only 30 days under saddle? It's too soon to ask your horse to be "on the bit" at the walk. At the trot & canter, on-the-bit is fine because he's got his own impulsion. But keeping him "in a frame" at the walk is accentuating this problem because he can't use his neck and feels constricted, so he's going lateral.

                        Instead, slip him the reins and let him almost free-walk. You can keep a light feel by doing serpentines or other figures (and that will probably help him relax into a 4-beat walk anyway) but don't keep his neck short. When you gather up the reins to trot again, make it all in 1 motion: leg on, sit tall, subtly gather rein as you squeeze & trot. Yes he will start anticipating trot when you gather the reins, but you can deal with that pretty easily at a later date. The lateral walk is a bigger fault and harder to correct long-term, so nip that one now.
                        I think this guy has too much blood for that. He is a clever one and a speedy learner and I don't want to him to anticipate the transition as being simultaneous with being picked up in hand. The time in walk is brief (maybe 5-10 steps), but long enough for him to wait until asked to trot. He is naturally very forward, so I this might create a bit of a demon in him.

                        I do think that, as an eventer, the lateral walk isn't as much as an end-all as it would be in straight dressage, but it isn't something I want to encourage.

                        Thank you for the suggestion though! I do think it would be a valid solution for a different type of horse.
                        Pacific Coast Eventing
                        Standing Yeager GF

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          i would say that as much as possible dont try to connect or ride him on the bit in walk - make sure is is marching forward but try to keep your connection long - ie just a light following hand at this point. lateral walks are from tension - whether from the hand, the seat etc.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I'm not sure I saw a lateral walk, although it was hard to tell in just a few strides. I thought he just looked a little stiff - not like he's lame, just that he's not pushing strongly, taking big strides, or going through his whole range of motion with all the hind leg joints. I admit to not watching the whole video but I thought I saw the same thing at the canter. IMO he's just not strong enough yet to give you big movement in walk or canter. I'll be interested to see what other people see, if they see lateral or just young & still developing.
                            "You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed." - The Little Prince

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I know your going to hate me for this LOL!

                              A lateral walk is not a pure gate and I would hope and pray that you would get marked down severly be it "eventing dressage" or "straight dressage" whatever all that means. Dressage is Dressage. There is good dressage and there is bad dressage---so which is it?

                              Here's what I see on the video. I see a horse trying his best to get away from stiff arms/hands. You do make the effort to follow him but the arms/forearms/wrists/hands also need to be relaxed and sympathetic which they don't seem to be from the vid and he does give that impression.

                              He raises his head--he lowers his head--he sticks it in the air---he tries to drop behind the bit. He is trying desperately to find that non restrictive place but there is not one or at least one with any lasting feeling that he can rely on. He isn't very happy in his work at least not on this video. I also don't think he needs to be in side reins at the walk and honestly I would not have him in side reins at all just yet.

                              He is undersaddle for 30 days. Swallow your heart (just trust him a bit) and throw the reins at him and allow this baby to find his way. Allow him to freely move his head and neck and the rest of his body will follow and his stride will open in a pure gate. You're in an enclosed arena----if he gets a little goofy where will he go??? Around and around in that arena until you stop him. Chuck the reins at him and allow him to walk around in a nice big stride and do not restrict him.

                              Retro: I definately saw lateral.

                              I hope you don't hate me after all this.
                              Last edited by kaluha2; Sep. 24, 2012, 12:03 PM. Reason: Not finishes

                              Comment

                              • Original Poster

                                #16
                                I definitely agree with him not being quite strong enough yet. His canter is definitely better than this when free, but that is why I'm staying in a very light seat so far in the canter. I don't think it is soreness, but just baby weakness behind. I wouldn't be surprised if that was translating into the trot as well. I'm definitely working on his strength, though, with more and more cavalletti work; plus, it seems to be improving his rideability.
                                Pacific Coast Eventing
                                Standing Yeager GF

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  I wouldn't take a green horse with only 30 days under saddle and ask him to walk on the contact. You are just asking for a lateral walk. Walk him on a long rein (as long as it's safe to do so), and then pick up the reins and get trotting. Once he is more consistently forward and accepting the bit at trot and canter, you can then start walking him on a contact.
                                  I ride all sorts of hot, sensitive youngsters and ride them in this way and I haven't found a problem with them anticipating picking up the reins to mean trot. When you start being ready to walk on the contact, you can always use your voice and light half halts to tell him that you mean walk. It is VERY easy to ruin a walk. I would be extremely carely here.
                                  www.saraalberni.com

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    he's very nice looking young horse!

                                    not an expert---i think he is is trying to tell you he needs a walk break and a good stretch. I didn't see much walk/releasing the reins in this video. What was interesting is when he tripped over the pole and the reins were let out briefly--his trot started to swing more for a few steps (or at least it looked that way to me).
                                    Redbud Ranch
                                    Check us out on FB

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by SuZQuzie View Post
                                      Here, at around 11:22 you can see what I'm talking about. Also note, that I'm giving the reins very shortly after the transition is complete. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jr5k21buhcM
                                      .
                                      after watching a bit of the video i will say you need to let go.... you are pulling and blocking quite badly with your hands and seat. at 21 rides he should just be going happily forward into a *following* hand.

                                      so let go of his face and allow him to learn how it feels to balance under a rider.....

                                      he is a *really* nice boy so it is worth it to do so

                                      also editing to say - you are making much to small of circles and bended lines for where he is... ride him large and make big sweeping turns.. he still needs to learn how to balance and just go freely forward.

                                      i would also highly recommend getting a GOOD young horse trainer involved.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by mbm View Post
                                        after watching a bit of the video i will say you need to let go.... you are pulling and blocking quite badly with your hands and seat. at 21 rides he should just be going happily forward into a *following* hand.

                                        so let go of his face and allow him to learn how it feels to balance under a rider.....

                                        he is a *really* nice boy so it is worth it to do so

                                        also editing to say - you are making much to small of circles and bended lines for where he is... ride him large and make big sweeping turns.. he still needs to learn how to balance and just go freely forward.

                                        i would also highly recommend getting a GOOD young horse trainer involved.
                                        Agreed.

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