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Rushing the walk

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  • Rushing the walk

    What's are some of the ways to slow down, collect up (a bit) the walk. Harry is prone to rushing the walk after we've loped and reversed. He gets really wonky...like riding a fast camel.

    So far, I've worked with half halts and complete halts. I work on rewarding the walk I want when I get it. At the same time, he wants to go into the center of the ring. He cranks his neck over and tries to get there. I'm using legs to tell him no as well as a touch on the outside rein. Normally I'm neck reining and end up with my hand W.A. Y over to the side in an effort to steer him <THAT way.. I will also direct rein as necessary.

    He is responsive to these corrections and it will take time. I've been an ineffective rider on him for so long and he's made these decisions on his own during that time. Now I'm changing the rules; changing his habits.

    So, I'm looking for any suggestions in addition to what I'm already doing

    btw , I don't believe in using cowboys methods. Like sharply 'sitting him down' or making him go backwards. Also not looking to punish him; he's doing this because I let him. I'm looking for aids that can be applied in the future in my rail classes.
    Ride like you mean it.

  • #2
    To be honest, I do work on traveling backwards to get a horse settled on its haunches and properly collected. I don't force them back sharply, but I do request steps backward until they lower their neck and use their back. They can immediately settle on their haunches after one step, and they can go forward. However, if they remain hollowed with their head scraping the sky and bracing against my hand, they can back until they realize that it is much simpler to relax.

    I find it takes maybe two, three repeats of this until the horse begins listening to your seat and hands, while collected on their rear end.

    *This isn't punishment, and should be treated like the horse is learning something new. Request and insist and don't give up, don't be harsh.


    • #3
      When my mare is nervous she rushes.

      I do anything but go along the rail: serpentines, circles of all sizes, random turns, down the center, off the rail, leg yields etc. She needs to pay attention b/c she has no idea what I am going to ask for next. Inter-dispersed with halts and occasional turns on forehand, reinbacks. eventually she settles in.

      Then I need to do the same thing at the trot...


      • Original Poster

        Both posts give me lots of ideas. I'm not opposed to a quiet reinback. I think he's anticipating the line up rather than the next lope. That explains his wanting to go into the center; something he doesn't do the other way. And no matter how much I mix up the gaits and directions he KNOWS when we go right we're almost done. So it will take RIDING to make him cooperate willingly.

        Thank you very much. Tomorrow is a no ride day but I hope to get in a few rides this coming week while the nice weather holds here in Michigan.
        Ride like you mean it.


        • #5
          i think that it would be super helpful i you could post some video


          • Original Poster

            I have no idea how to do that. I'll have to get another photobucket account so I can link to it. That's the only way I've ever gotten it to work and I'm not real keen on the idea of people having access to all my pictures and videos.
            Ride like you mean it.


            • #7
              Are you talking about dressage? By your terminology, it sounds like you're talking about a western pleasure class.

              Regardless, my mare gets rushy, too. Besides what others have suggested, keep walking and working on staying on the the bit and "think" about asking for something else, but keep not doing it so the anticipation doesn't get him anywhere. Also, free/extended walk collected walk and back and forth and back and forth until he's bored to death with anticipating.

              Also, switch up when you do things. So, if you always start with a trot, start with a walk. If you always end after canter, do some walk, then trot, then quit so there's no pattern to when it's "over."


              • Original Poster

                Western pleasure which, for me, I think of as training level dressage...sort of.

                My first love is dressage. When I showed carriage driving, we did really well at driven dressage. I believe the basic tenents of dressage riders...calmness patience, thoroughness...should be applied to all seats.

                We don't have an indoor arena so I have to get done what I can before Michigan winter closes in.
                Ride like you mean it.


                • #9
                  Let your horse take its cue from your body. Make your back soft, and your seat and hips move slowly. You almost have to feel as though you are slumping in the saddle without really doing so. Then if this does not work you can try your transitions, etc. Rocking a horse back on it haunches, through transitions and reinbacks tends to get them more up and forward.
                  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.


                  • Original Poster

                    When you say "up and more forward" do you mean this as a good thing? Or do you mean that getting him back on his haunches will contribute to the problem?
                    Ride like you mean it.


                    • #11
                      You're getting lots of good advice here, OP. I especially like BTDT's suggestions.

                      I attended the NEDA fall symposium. One of the horses there, a smart, experienced animal, had "taken over" from the rider and anticipated every part of their tests. The clincians suggested riding the various movements with changes. For instance, a change of direction across a diagonal would be broken up with a couple of ten-meter circles, then finishing the diagonal in leg-yield. At the end of the session, the horse was back to listening to the rider for the next task, not "assuming" what's coming next.

                      You say your horse anticipates the turn into the center after traveling right? Finish up your next several rides after traveling left! Don't do anything that could be interpreted as part of a rail class routine by your horse. Ride him OFF the rail. Practice lots of turns, stops, school figures, but no (or few) straight lines on the rail. Work on his quality of gaits, but not on the rail or in an open space with no rails. He won't know where the "center of the ring" is. Keep your work different, interesting and Keep your horse guessing what's next.

                      Do you do anything different with him occasionally? Cow working clinics, trail riding, cavalletti grids? Mix things up and have fun!


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by ezduzit View Post
                        When you say "up and more forward" do you mean this as a good thing? Or do you mean that getting him back on his haunches will contribute to the problem?
                        If you are complaining about the horse being too forward and rushing at the walk, do you really want it more "up and forward" or do you just want to be able to contain and funnel the already created energy? I would think you want the latter. There fore you need to slow it down and organize it a bit.
                        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.


                        • Original Poster

                          So many good ideas. I'll be making notes and keeping them in my pocket.

                          I want the walk to feel like all the tension in his skin is gone and we're just walking along. Not dumpy slow but relaxed. He can lower his head a bit (Morgans go more up necked ). Right now he feels tense, is jiggy joggy, crooked.

                          We're both good at off the rail so I will concentrate on that incorporating the other suggestions into that. Even tho I have to work outside all winter...footing and weather issues...it makes an ideal time to work at the walk. The only down side is that in order to 'make' him jiggy, I have to lope him the other way first...just like in a class. So the lope to the left gets him excited and when we reverse that excitement continues. The general order of gaits is enter at a jog, lope, walk, reverse and walk, lope, jog. Even that last jog is stiff, crooked and general not controlled. We're good up to the reverse.
                          Ride like you mean it.


                          • #14
                            OK, take this with a grain of salt as I only was able to ride in the snow almost 30 years ago, but I did it to ride an Olympic eventer's horses. Going out for a walk in the show would surely make him work a lot more--like riding in water. You can ask him to walk faster until he just doesn't want to do it, then you're allowing him to slow down.

                            Snow is SO good for conditioning. Just walking in it is a whole exercise unto itself.

                            We get only rain here and it gets slippy in the mud on the trails, so I just add that to my training. Walking on the trail on hills involves sliding one way or another, so just doing that is great exercise and trains them to balance and really put down their feet.


                            • #15
                              With a horse that anticipates that much, I would try to totally change up the routine. Maybe start in a walk, progress to a trot (jog) and then walk again, skipping the canter (lope) entirely that day. Perhaps another day I would canter/lope until the horse was a little tired... and wanting to walk. I'd then try to get a few really good steps of walk and quit for the day. On days when you want to practice the "usual" routine, you could always add another canter/lope at the end, working until you feel the horse thinking, "Hey, this is a LOT of darn work! I'd like to walk now!"

                              Keep mixing things up and I bet you will overcome that issue with anticipation fairly quickly.
                              We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.


                              • Original Poster

                                I'll to dig for remedy's to ice balls on their feet... I remember something about vegetable oil.

                                Luca, I used to do that with my dressage horse when I was teaching him to canter on the lunge. One way one day; the other way the next day.

                                Another great idea for my list! He won't know WHAT'S coming next!
                                Ride like you mean it.


                                • #17
                                  Keep 'em guessing!


                                  • #18
                                    OP, I wasn't sure what to think until you said your horse is a Morgan. I basically don't ever practice a whole test with Miss Mare, because I don't want her to anticipate. And she was utterly befuddled when I did a centerline and didn't halt at X... She tried to stop, I gave her a little boot, she said "That's wrong, Mom!"

                                    That said, sometimes practicing the same thing over and over and over again helps to settle her. If she's being recalcitrant about contact, I'll put her on 3 or 4 loop trot serpentines until she's "in the groove."

                                    With that... I agree with everyone else, you have to mix it up with your guy so he doesn't know what's coming next. Of course, in a Western Pleasure rail class he'll know the routine but so will all the other horses (which makes me wish the rail classes didn't have a set routine. But then the trainers who churn out Rail Class Machines who listen to the announcer more than the rider would get mad...)
                                    You have to have experiences to gain experience.

                                    1998 Morgan mare Mythic Feronia "More Valley Girl Than Girl Scout!"


                                    • Original Poster

                                      You're right, Quietann. I was lunging a horse at a show while the show was going on. The announcer could be heard over the loud speaker. My horse was listening and obeying the announcer to the point where when he said 'walk and line up' she stopped in the middle of the ring and parked out. We all had a good laugh! Harry is a Tug Hill Whamnuition son and I've been told they are all about being on the go. He was more than happy to take over when I was passengering!
                                      Ride like you mean it.