Thursday, October 20, 2011

Walk Work

The title of today's post is rather obvious- we worked on improving our worst gait- the walk.  I warmed Louie up in the chambon in long lines, then hooked him to the cart.  The arena was too rough to do much more than some good walk work, so we didn't trot at all, but worked on getting a nice, active walk.  We probably drove for about 20 minutes, aiming for a good active walk with overstride of at least 6 inches the whole time.  I also drove him for the first time, right from the start, in the halter fuzzies, which are almost as good as blinders for us.  He did great, even being cool and windy, he was perfectly comfortable in front of the cart.

I got to thinking while walking along, that the gait I'm looking for is a bit like the dog walk that our Tennessee Walking Horses do- swingy and relaxed with a big overstride, lots of neck movement/headshake, and rounding up through the back with each stride.  While Louie doesn't have the walk that our walkers have, we got some good active walks, using the whole body, that I think were quite nice.  We found that this active walk was especially hard to maintain around turns and when we practiced "loops" or "swerves" as I now call them, following K-X-H in one fluid motion. 

We then worked on some walk-halt-walk transitions.  Louie still can't comprehend halting without raising his neck, but we're getting a good active walk sooner after departing from a halt than we usually get, so I guess that's good.  I'll need to really work on having an active seat to keep this nice walk when riding. 

Louie got a nice big dish of soaked alfalfa cubes and a good grooming after our drive.  I think he looks forward to being worked because he knows there's a reward at the end, and my does he love his alfalfa cubes!

1 comment:

  1. Walk is one of those funny gaits that seems so hard to work on and so easy to mess up. In my experience, the best way to develop/maintain a good active walk is to ride the horse out. Arenas tend to make them slow and shorten (because really, what's the point, they are going around in circles), and you end up having to push and fuss all the time to get the same walk you can get from them out on a hack.