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Free or Working Walk to Collected Walk

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  • Free or Working Walk to Collected Walk

    Horse is fitting up from having winter off. She's very well schooled and generally an agreeable ride.

    +++Disclaimer: tack fits, teeth are done, she's not lame or unsound in any way.

    She has a walk that scores 8's & 9's for free walk and working walk. However I'm really having trouble slowing the walk and 'putting her together' for lack of a better term. She braces and inverts, tenses and anticipates.

    Part of the problem is we're building up condition at the moment, and she can need far more time mentally to relax and start to get really supple than she's really up to physically yet.

    I guess I'm not really sure I'm using my seat or back correctly. To transition, I slow the following of my seat and hold my abs, shorten the inside rein rein first for a slight bend, hold that gently while shortening outside, tap up a little with inside leg.

    Other ways to do this transition? Ideas? I'm about a month away from a lesson, so Internet Instruction 101 will have to due for now!

  • #2
    You do not shorten the reins in going from medium walk to collected walk. The contact is changed by you bending your elbow more. You need to do this in the timing of one, two. Think up more than forward, think proud. If you bend your left elbow slightly more deeply, it must be accompanied by a deeper stepping into your right stirrup. The follow through brings your right elbow into position as you step into your left stirrup in turn. You relax very slightly and use your seat in time with the horse, while your shoulders are slightly elevated and back. You do not slow anything. The tempo should be the same no matter whether it is collected, or medium, of free/extended walk. Make very sure that your thumbs are on top. To reverse back into the medium,rotate your thumb slightly forward and still use the diagonal step to encourage the horse to take up the lower contact. Follow through on the other diagonal.

    If you feel you must slow to get the collected walk, your medium walk is not being done in correct contact.


    • #3
      Ditto Angel. You really want to keep the forward energy so she comes up to working walk from free walk with you riding back to front. You are correct to steady the outside rein and tap with the inside leg. Be sure you give the inside rein as you encourage the horse from the inside leg. It sounds like you may be blocking her with your seat and reins in an effort to 'slow.' We don't want slow. After you have re-established a smooth connection, you may or may not need to do some half halts if you want collected walk. If you want medium or working walk, leave it alone and keep it moving after you take up the reins.

      Another exercise that might help is to leg yield out very slightly as you take up your outside rein.


      • #4
        I've worked on this a bit in my last few lessons. I'm working at second/third, but I'm leasing a horse that has competed GP. I have trouble bringing his big, low free walk back together- particularly in time for a good collected walk-canter transition. The best approach we've landed on so far is to shorten for about two steps just with seat and upper body while still going forward, and then to think leg yield out one step as I pick up the outside rein. The next step should be the one where you become straight on the rail (off the diagonal), which is where I half halt and then pick up the inside rein.


        • #5
          I don't know if its how its supposed to be done because I am a beginnger, but I bring the walk, or any gait, back to collected by varying the rhythm of my seat slightly with his hind legs. Same with extending. IN conjunction with taking up the reins and pushing him into the bit, yes.
          Airborne? Oh. Yes, he can take a joke. Once. After that, the joke's on you.


          • #6
            Nitpicking on terminology.
            There is no "working walk" in dressage. Medium, free, collected, extended. Not "working".

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


            • #7
              Well, Janet...you might try reading over the Training Level tests. The difference between working walk and medium walk has to do with whether the horse is just "accepting the bit" or is "on the bit." I agree that this is really spliting hairs, and I would prefer that the horse were "on the bit" if I were showing training level because it makes the transition back from the free walk to whatever-you-want-to-call-the-walk, easier.

              Generally, the free walk is done by lengthening the reins a tad, which means as you bring the walk back up, you do have to shorten them some. However, when you go from medium walk (on the bit) to either collected walk, or extended walk, there should be no rein length change, or tempo change.

              For bringing the horse back up from the free walk, generally you will want a slight momentary elevation to the outside rein as you step more deeply into the inside stirrup. This shortens the horse's inside, which allows you to take up a tad on the inside rein. The follow through is to slightly lift the inside rein while stepping more deeply into the outside stirrup, which then allows you to recover the proper lenth in the outside rein. Often with a Training Level horse, it takes two full strides to regain the reins without popping the horse's head up, especially if they are only "accepting the bit."


              • #8
                Janet is correct, there is NO working walk, only working trot/canter (in the usef/fei) rules.

                Also, the horse at training level is NOT required to be 'on the bit' but only 'accept the bit', also perhaps nit picking but also prevents precipitous flexion by the rider('s hand). This has to do with the degree of flexion required, as well as the use of the hindlegs. The horse is allowed complete freedom to chew the reins fdo in free walk (whether the rider chooses too have loose reins or long reins is their decision).

                MOST riders horses go hollow when asked to go from free walk (on long or loose rein...rider choice in the test) to a steady connection because of two things. The rider has wide/low hands which act on the bars as a condition of flexion anddd free walk, and because they have NO following of the telescoping/basculing gesture which the horse makes in free/extended/medium walks. Therefore the horse lifts the head/hollows to avoid the pain on the bars.

                By feeding the reins out and taking them up on a curved line the lateral flexability feeds into a better bit acceptance. But if the rider puts the hands down/wide the horse will always try to hollow against the rude gesture of the rider.

                The reason for stirrup stepping is only to 'bulk the calf' so as the horse's belly swings into it, it can react by engaging under its mass/swinging through.
                I.D.E.A. yoda


                • #9
                  Do a HH by doing all this at same time:
                  arch back
                  push STRAIGHT down on stirrups
                  squeeze (immediate release) reins

                  when you do that horse should raise head, shorten neck - THAT's when you shorten reins to "match" horses position. Repeat until reins as short as they need to be.
                  Now in Kentucky


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by ideayoda View Post

                    By feeding the reins out and taking them up on a curved line the lateral flexability feeds into a better bit acceptance. But if the rider puts the hands down/wide the horse will always try to hollow against the rude gesture of the rider.
                    Can you explain this a little more, ideayoda? I'm not getting the visual.


                    • #11
                      Ah , yes guys, if my ancient mind remembers, it was once called a "working walk". Terms change, the walk doesn't . Back to the problem at hand which is a lack of synchronicity.

                      I leave it to you. Long day!
                      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.


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by angel View Post
                        Well, Janet...you might try reading over the Training Level tests.
                        So might you!
                        And check an Intro test while you are at it.
                        Last edited by Janet; May. 22, 2009, 11:18 AM.

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