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Training Passage

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  • Training Passage

    I have a question ( or two) about teaching the passage.

    I have tried the method of pushing for a med/ext trot and then collecting/holding, but didn't get far with that.

    Then I tried by working in Spanish Walk ,and then asking for a trot, and hey presto got a pretty close similiacrum (sp?) of a passage. high elevated trot, bouncing from diagonal to diagonal. with a higher than normal leg lift.

    The question is, has anyone taught Passage from Spanish walk, and if so what were the pitfalls and what do I have to watch out for.

    A bit of background; I don't have a full time trainer, my usual trainer/clinician is currently in Florida, so I am stuck at home with the mirrors! I do get help from an experience trainer but she could not do my usual lesson due to family problems. So I have been unsupervised for 3 weeks now!!!!

    I have trained this horse from Training level on up, we showed last year at the PSG/I1 level, now we are trying for the I2/GP level.

    Once my trainer gets back from FL I am sure he will straighten me out, but in the mean time while the cats away.......

    Anyway has anyone here taught passage from Spanish wlak and if so how did they do.
    MW
    Melyni (PhD) PAS, Dipl. ACAN.
    Sign up for the Equine nutrition enewsletter on www.foxdenequine.com
    New edition of book is out:
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    www.knabstruppers4usa.com

  • #2
    I haven't seen that route before, and am interested on hearing the feedback from others. I'd been warned off pretty severely about SW back in the day, and was taught that it "disconnects" the front and hind end in such a way that can later impact the horse's reaction to highly collected movements. However, I cannot speak for experience as that warning stuck with me, and I've never taught SW to any of my horse's subsequently. That said, I've been curious about trying it with one of my very extravagant youngsters

    Question: Are you working piaffe / passage in hand? Or undersaddle only?
    Piaffe Girl -- Dressage. Fashionably.
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    • Original Poster

      #3
      Originally posted by DancingFoalFarms View Post
      I haven't seen that route before, and am interested on hearing the feedback from others. I'd been warned off pretty severely about SW back in the day, and was taught that it "disconnects" the front and hind end in such a way that can later impact the horse's reaction to highly collected movements. However, I cannot speak for experience as that warning stuck with me, and I've never taught SW to any of my horse's subsequently. That said, I've been curious about trying it with one of my very extravagant youngsters

      Question: Are you working piaffe / passage in hand? Or undersaddle only?
      I work Piaffe in hand, he is pretty good at that. and I have tried the passage in hand, not as successful. I can get a reasonable piaffe under saddle, still creeps a bit, but ok rythmn. I don't do much SW I used it to loosen up his shoulders to help with the extended trots.
      But this is the closest I have gotten to a passage under saddle.
      MW
      Melyni (PhD) PAS, Dipl. ACAN.
      Sign up for the Equine nutrition enewsletter on www.foxdenequine.com
      New edition of book is out:
      Horse Nutrition Handbook.

      www.knabstruppers4usa.com

      Comment


      • #4
        With my guy, who has a tendency to get a little flat in the trot, I trained passage by doing transitions into and out of the piaffe from the trot and "holding" the transition. You add energy by going to piaffe or extended trot, but add amplitude with core/leg in the transition between them. I got my guy to expect the extended trot after the piaffe, and then held the transition between the two to get a few steps of passage. Now he's a passage machine.

        Comment


        • #5
          I know it is common to try and teach it from extended trot, but I have read here and there quite a few top trainers advise against it and personally I hate working on it that way. It seems to produce more tail wringing passage rather than a playful passage.

          Every horse seems to find it differently as well as riders, but I found it easiest by playing with half halts and more elevated steps in ten meter circles and depending on the horse, bouncing the whip in a slower rhythm on their backside from collected walk into trot. Or even if you can get it from piaffe if your horse finds that easier. But far easier if you can get help from the ground with someone who has a good understanding/timing plus have to admit I have "demonstrated" to the horse exactly what I want via my own brilliant passaging . Or a plastic bag tied to the end of the whip can help get the energy/idea going!

          Comment


          • #6
            I watched a video recently of a horse being trained to Passage using the Spanish walk as the basis. It was UGLY. Not saying that this is what your horse is doing, but in the video I watched this is what I saw:
            - WAY too much front end action with knees coming up way too high and forlegs extended.
            - Hind end not engaged at all, with hind legs trailing.
            - Rhythm lost
            - Very uneven left vs right.
            I had to be explained that the Passage is what they were after.

            The horse in the above mentionned video wasn't at the level you describe your horse to be though, so that may be a large part of the issue.
            Freeing worms from cans everywhere!

            Comment


            • #7
              Have you tried really quick walk trot walk transitions? Think really active collected walk and then ask for super quick transition to trot and then back down to walk after a few strides. If you ask the horse to be quick enough and then really half halt going into the trot transition after a few of these that sometimes works. The horse get really thinking forward but is waiting enough as well.

              CNM's suggestion is a good one too.

              I think if you try training passage from Spanish walk you are going to end up with Spanish trot.
              www.svhanoverians.com

              "Simple: Breeding,Training, Riding". Wolfram Wittig.

              Comment


              • #8
                Ideally both p's come from riding forward into piaffe, and from walk or piaffe going into passage, rather than backward from med/etc.

                But yes, if s.w. is taught it can give great freedom to the shoulders, and from that the action the will to passage is freer. It is not that you are going from sw to passage per se, but rather using the shoulder freedom which it engenders. I have seen horses who just did not 'get it' within very little time have a lightbulb go on when it was used as a basis. Additionally if tends to cause a horse to carry itself a little higher, hence the hh work better for starting passage. And I have not seen sw cause spanish trot, that takes way more application.

                What are the pitfalls? The sw has to be really good, a pure walk, and the aids clear. (Bad sw where the hindlegs are left behind or the walk irregular is not a basis for anything...and the sw must not come too early in training). But it is an acknowledged useable factor.

                Since the Ps are borne of collection, the idea of starting from medium is rather problematic and often just results in tensioned trot which some call passage. Once started well THEN comes the refresh the P by trusting into med/extension and back again.

                Another good way to get engagement for either P is to start from reinback (which is diagonalizing. Make sure that the horse is taking clear hh/hh/etc.
                I.D.E.A. yoda

                Comment


                • #9
                  I have been training/working the steps for Spanish Walk as a kind of Segway to Passage. We can perhaps manage three steps of Spanish Walk before things become a-synchronized/unbalanced.

                  On the bonus side it has given me greater understanding/appreciation for the mechanics of the walk as well opened new doors in our partnership. I can also see the gymnastic benefits from performing this excersize.

                  On the negative side I have found that maintaining "Straightness" can be a little more challenging than maintaining purity. It would be helpful to have more eyes/hands on the ground during both the In Hand/Ridden Introduction.

                  The work is slow but very enjoyable and I do think given more time we will eventually develop a correct spanish walk.
                  Redbud Ranch
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                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I too was one who was taught to avoid the Spanish Walk. Don't remember the reason.

                    Later on, after studying Brig. Gen. Harry D. Chamberlain's, "Training Hunters. Jumpers & Hacks", and several other books, and riding many horses, I ended up agreeing with the reasoning that one should not teach the "rein back" until the horse is truly straight and soft in the hand through the spine all the way back to the tail AND hocks. Soft active hocks that are held in the hand is sort of how I end up describing my experience with that.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      But the rein back comes long before the horse is ready for passage and piaffe training, so, missing your connection, BP.

                      I was not taught to do it from the extended gaits either. I also add those in as the training progresses as a way of ensuring my horse is always forward and in front of my leg. But that is the same as working forward and back (to shorter) in all gaits to increase elasticity and improve collection.
                      "And I'm thinking you weren't burdened with an overabundance of schooling." - Capt Reynolds "Firefly"

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by ideayoda View Post
                        Another good way to get engagement for either P is to start from reinback (which is diagonalizing. Make sure that the horse is taking clear hh/hh/etc.
                        I inadvertently discovered that the rein back is also very helpful in developing the SW as well--at least with my little guy. We don't ever spend more than a few minutes at a time just playing with the exercise.

                        Originally posted by ideayoda View Post
                        Additionally if tends to cause a horse to carry itself a little higher, hence the hh work better for starting passage.
                        Even though we are not very far into developing the SW I would also have to say in our short experiment the above is also very true. I have definitely seen real benefit in our daily work.

                        just adding our two cents, we are by no means an expert.
                        Redbud Ranch
                        Check us out on FB

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I've seen a couple horses that were taught SW in hopes that it would free up the shoulders and allow for more dramatic extensions (not sure how much thought was given to passage). Unfortunately, during that training process it seems more attention was paid to the front legs than the hinds, and thus the engine was pretty well disconnected. The horses now flip their legs up but don't carry behind.

                          I suspect if in the training of SW the forward nature of the hind end was as addressed as the flippy front feet, the problem wouldn't have been so exacerbated.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            SW should NOT have a flippy action of the front feet. Good SW has a lifted shoulder and upper leg but it is only supported well if the hindlegs are part of the support structure. It is not just a 'jambette' (like shake hands motion) in a vacumn with parked out hindquarters. I have not seen it given much to extensions.
                            I.D.E.A. yoda

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Posted by Velvet:

                              But the rein back comes long before the horse is ready for passage and piaffe training, so, missing your connection, BP.
                              The 'rein-back' is now in modern tests early in the training, but I don't think it is such a great idea.

                              Chamberlain states that backing up (now called the rein-back, though I have always equated the rein-back with western) be postponed until much later in training, after the horse has become truly straight and in front of the leg.

                              Backing up correctly involves riding the horse forward into the hand, but the hand is 'closed'. There is no pulling back with the hand which is seen more often than not. And the horse needs to be straight ...truly straight with square halts and the hind legs really under the horse. If the horse is not square and standing well under himself, backing up is difficult to do smoothly and without resistance.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                I work with a clinician who specializes in P and P. He loves the Spanish walk, but I have yet to see him use that as a transition tool for passage. He likes it as a way to encourage the horse to lift its shoulder and use itself differently, but really more of a stand alone tool then a transition for the passage. He has helped several Olympians w/ their P and P.

                                He also says never to use the trot to create the piaffe - because there is no such transition (trot to piaffe) in any of the tests. In general, he uses walk to piaffe, and piaffe to passage.

                                Here are a few videos of him working w/ Cadence - the first video is a few years old, no Spanish walk used at all. The 2nd video is just a few weeks old, and he used Spanish walk just to play with moving the horse around in different ways.

                                http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gGgScGFQ7jw

                                http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ld9-I6pikM

                                I tend to agree with the thoughts that the Spanish walk drops the horse's back, thus a disconnect behind - but as a tool to free the horse's shoulder and to just get them loosened up in different areas, I see it as a useful tool. But not to create a passage - I can't imagine that being successful?

                                One warning - it does take great timing and skill to create a good passage - so if not successful, appeal to an expert to help! I've seen a few horses who were set behind in the training because of unknowledgeable grounds people. Either horses who learned to just tune out the bamboo or in-hand whip, or horses who became over-sensitized and afraid of those tools.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Once again, I am missing your point unless you think rein back comes after piaffe and passage. Because the horse must be VERY straight and balanced for that training. So the comment of rein back coming after piaffe and passage work is not tracking for me.

                                  I will say hat sometimes, when a horse accidentally offers steps of piaffe or passage early on you can and should take advantage of it by immediately using the appropriate aids for it without pushing. You just offer add to what they are doing to help them learn the connection with the right aids and not correcting them by stopping them-- which makes them think anything in that direction is going to be incorrect. Then you'll later have to undo what you have done, rather than improving their knowledge later when they are strong and ready to perform it correctly.
                                  "And I'm thinking you weren't burdened with an overabundance of schooling." - Capt Reynolds "Firefly"

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Velvet, please don't put words in my mouth, so to speak.

                                    I did not say that correct backing up (rein-back) came after passage or piaffe, but at the same point (in time on the training scale) as passage or piaffe.

                                    Backing up is as tricky to do correctly as passage or piaffe. It may not seem that way because it is coming out of the halt.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      I have had horses easily give piaffe or even passage early on in training while working on bending and transitions within the gaits. But it is a *gift* and I don't consider it to be established or something that I want to develop early on. I do praise them for the effort because it means they are listening and trying.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Dropping the back/hind quarters is really not the sensation I get when working with the exercise. But we can only a manage a few steps before either he or I or both of us lose our resolve. I have never pressed him to the point where tension creeps in. A few steps rein back tends to set him on his hocks and as ideayoda mentions tends to diagonalize. Currently we are still at the stage where we strive to combine the action of the two front legs in a coordinated symetrical forward movement. When I refered to straightness I meant only avoiding a momentary wobble (a loss of balance)--(I think in his enthusiasm for the leg stretching he becomes too forward). But we are still far from perfecting the movement--little bit at a time.
                                        Redbud Ranch
                                        Check us out on FB

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