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Re: RC: Speeding up a walk

To Sarah and all the others... just want to thank you for the input on "speeding
up the walk"........believe it or not, I had the opportunity to try your
suggestions this evening, we were blessed with low humidity!, and my horse
definitely showed improvement almost immediately!!!  Thanks again, to all that
responded with info on the "walk"!

kelly in SW PA

Sarah Roxanne Zawacki wrote:

>     I recommend teaching your horse to stretch his head and neck down.  Not
> just drop, but reach down with his nose, stretching the back.  Two reasons:
> it's easier to feel the side-to-side motion you're trying to accentuate
> (when a horse walks, his barrel swings side to side.  The alternating leg
> thing Heidi talks about is, as understand it, functioning to increase the
> hind leg stride, and hence the swing.  The trick in using your legs is to
> "get into" that motion, so to speak, and push it further. Something that help
> me is to start by sort of windmilling my legs.  My dressage instructor likened
> it to walked backwards.  For example, your left leg will follow a circular
> path (maybe more like an oval) counterclockwise, brushing the horse's side
> side as it goes forward, then leaving his side and travelling back again.  It
> helps a lot to do this stirrupless if you can) and it helps the horse lengthen
> his stride altogether.  My dressage instructor explained this by having me
> stand upright, put my chin to my chest, and lift my knee as high as it would
> go, then tilt my head all the way back and try to lift my knee again.  For
> some reason (probably relaxationg of the back) stretching your back helps
> your legs have a greater range of motion.
>     The trick to teaching your horse to stretch is to simply take contact
> (hackamores work fine--that's how I taught Elliot) and release as soon as your
> horse makes any attempt to reach down.  If the horse is getting frustrated,
> pay extra attention to be sure you're releasing immediately.  Also, be sure
> to only use as much contact as necessary to get the job done.  After the horse
> gets really good at this, you can hold, they'llreach down, you maintain
> holding, thney reach more, you release.  But it takes a while to get more
> than the initial drop, so be patient.  Combining this with alternating legs
> will help you get a better walk.
>     If anyone has something to add to this, please do!  I may have explained
> something poorly.
>                         Sarah
> P.S. Today is one of the nicest days I've seen all summer, and I am
> bummed that I don't get to take Elliot out and about.
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