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Lazy walk

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  • Lazy walk

    So my mare is a little behind the times she 5 and green broke still, trot and canter are coming along really well but she has an incredibly lazy walk.

    If I tap her up to get more activity she thinks trots.

    Should I ignore it for now, get her going or?
    I have horse to sell to you. Horse good for riding. Can pull cart. Horse good size. Eats carrots and apples. Likes attention. Move head to music. No like opera! You like you buy.

  • #2
    THink longer stride with the hind leg. see how long you can get her to keep the hind leg on the ground before bringing it up forward again.
    chaque pas est fait ensemble


    • #3
      One of my horses was doing that, it was making me crazy!! Finally figured out his saddle was a little too narrow for him, so it was restricting his back or shoulder. Put a wider saddle on him, and his walked opened right up all by itself. The "green horse" stages are so difficult because the dressage work makes them change shapes so quickly, so saddle fit is always something I try to be aware of when I'm starting a horse new to dressage. Does your horse walk out better in hand or on the lunge line, or is she always really slow/short strided? What if you walk her over poles in hand vs under saddle?
      Gallant Gesture "Liam" 1995 chestnut ottb gelding
      Mr. Painter "Remy" 2006 chestnut ottb gelding
      My Training Blog: www.dressagefundamentals.com


      • #4
        There was a great article about this in either Practical Horseman or Dressage Today this month -- sorry don't have the magazines with me right now. Its the last page of one of them though. It was about walking with a purpose in mind -- instead of thinking about the great walk you want to have, think about where you want to go and the walk will naturally improve. Its why the walk out of the ring after your test is so much better than the walk during your test.


        • Original Poster

          Thanks for the tips! (hoping the article is in DT as that may be sitting in my mail box!)

          Her walk in hand and on the longe are both lazy too.

          I will recheck the saddle but I'm not thinking its that just because she moves out so nicely in the trot and canter.

          Seems I need to 'think' bigger in the walk which I can try during my lesson tomorrow!
          I have horse to sell to you. Horse good for riding. Can pull cart. Horse good size. Eats carrots and apples. Likes attention. Move head to music. No like opera! You like you buy.


          • #6
            Even hand-walking, try to encourage her to walk with purpose. If she does it all of the time, it will help her do it under saddle. How is she on the trails? That may liven up her walk as well!


            • #7
              I think the article was in DT, and it was about fixing a lateral walk -- but the tips in it would be helpful for a lazy walk, too.

              One thing it mentioned is to work on the walk when things are set up for success. If you trail ride, this is when you're headed home My mare isn't easy, but when she knows she's headed home I can get a lovely, 4-beat, energetic on-the-aids walk out of her, no problem!
              You have to have experiences to gain experience.

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


              • #8
                Originally posted by quietann View Post
                One thing it mentioned is to work on the walk when things are set up for success. If you trail ride, this is when you're headed home My mare isn't easy, but when she knows she's headed home I can get a lovely, 4-beat, energetic on-the-aids walk out of her, no problem!
                Right. So when you are headed home, ask for that walk and reward it. Then do it in the other direction and reward efforts. Do it in the ring--reward a response in the right direction. The light bulb will go off and the horse will understand what it is you are asking for, and you can begin to get it whenever you ask.

                If your greenie doesn't "trail ride" yet, you may be able to set up success by riding her on the driveway toward the barn. Or putting her behind or beside another horse with a marching walk and seeing if she will open her stride. When you get a response that approaches what you are looking for, reward it.

                Do not, however, fuss with her walk. Fussing too much with your leg or body can just make her dead to the aids. Pushing her beyond her capabilities will just result in an irregular walk . Just play with it and see if you can get her to offer to march in the walk on her own and then positively reinforce her for it.
                "Against stupidity the gods themselves contend in vain" ~Friedrich Schiller


                • #9
                  My guy is lazy and unmotivated in the indoor. Especially in the winter when it's hard to get out for a hack. However, when we DO go out for a hack or trail ride, he marches! A clinician I worked with a while back suggested lots and lots of walking outdoors. So I'm all for whatever you can do outside the arena as others have suggested.

                  Something else that may help is activating the hind end with a bit of in-hand work -- think beginning piaffe training. Ask your mare to lift her hind legs when tapped or stroked with a piaffe whip. Figure out what works best -- stroke/tap on cannons, hocks, or top of croup. Get help from someone who's done this work before if you haven't experience.

                  Introduce suppling exercises. Shallow leg-yields, shoulder-fore, and so on. Be aware of what your legs are doing. With a previous horse I was guilty of nagging with my leg aids. This does NOT help.

                  And I wholeheartedly agree with checking out saddle fit! My gelding let me know very clearly that his saddle no longer fit and was restricting his movement.


                  • #10
                    This is what helps me lesson students who can't get the lesson horses to step out at walk: I make sure they are asking with alternate legs timing their legs with the swing of the barrel/hind legs. So instead of asking for forward, I want them to think about asking for more swing of the barrel.
                    Freeing worms from cans everywhere!


                    • #11
                      working with energy is just a habit. so you need to get in the habit of asking her to actually march along - any time she is walking you ask her to walk briskly. it is easier to teach this while on the ground so there is no possible way of blocking etc.

                      so on the lunge teach her to walk briskly. have some kind of voice command that tell her to walk on. then transfer that under saddle. you may need to tap tap with the whip. if she trots - do not worry. trot until she is in balance then ask for the walk and try again. if she learns "walk on" she will know to walk more energetically and not trot.

                      remember: it is just a habit. for you and for her.