Developing faser Runwalks

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Developing faser Runwalks

Post by Sunny Admin on Sat Feb 20, 2010 3:48 pm

My 6 year old TWH has a wonderfully forward Flat Walk and a really nice Running Walk that we have worked on for several years. She also has a lovely slow canter which she would prefer to go everywhere in. I have worked extensively on her moving up from behind and use all kinds of terrain for our training. She is very strong and balanced.
I occasionally ride with a group whose TWHs have a much faster Running Walk. I'm sure my horse has this as well, but I am not sure how to get it. She gets really anxious when other horses are faster and just wants to canter. When we are out alone I practice just pushing her into her Running Walk but I am wondering if others use different methods.
My mare is pretty level headed but she does get upset if she can't keep up, so what should I do from here?
~Samantha
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Re: Developing faser Runwalks

Post by Susan Brown on Sat Feb 20, 2010 5:27 pm

SUSAN: Samantha, it sounds like you're doing a very nice job with your horse so far!
First, regarding the canter: Have you specifically taught your mare to go into the canter by cuing her from the flat walk, or do you allow her to speed up and "break" into the canter? This can be achieved by teaching the horse the verbal cue CANTER on the lunge line, then under saddle. Don't ever let her break to a canter by speeding up.
Secondly, the faster running walk: It is good to teach her to do a faster running walk while she is alone. Build her speed up gradually by adding pressure for her to increase speed, then release the pressure when she does so. A small continuous light tap with a crop on the rump may be all it takes. Stop tapping when she speeds up. Do it again, take breaks. Correct her if she breaks to a rack or canter.
Thirdly, let's address the horse's needs and instincts. If you ride with horses your mare can't always keep up with, you want to be prepared ahead of time. Ask the other riders not to leave you behind, but to help you gradually increase your horse's running walk a little at a time. But don't ever let her break. If she does, pull her back, asking the other riders to wait with you, and take her back tot he running walk. Make her uncomfortable for breaking, maybe pop the reins gently in the mouth so she gets the idea you don't want that. But you don't want her to continuously get left behind a long way if it makes her so stressed out she feels she must canter. Remember, a horse's instincts tell them if they don't keep up with he herd they will die.
Take your time, and with patience and hard work, your horse will find that next gear, and then the next and the next as she improves reach, muscle tone, and confidence in her work.
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Re: Developing faser Runwalks

Post by Caroline Siegel-Hoffman on Sat Feb 20, 2010 5:59 pm

CAROLINE: Samantha - She sounds like a lovely horse. I think you have done a wonderful job with her from the description you have given. Each horse is unique in gait, movement and stride length. Trainers like to use different types of Walkers for different jobs. I don't mean they can't do more than on thing, just maybe not as well as another horse. Example: You don't take a sports car four wheeling. It can go over the rocks but not very well. Maybe the horses you are riding with are racking type horses. They are able to go 15 to 20 miles per hour in a fast running walk and stay very smooth. Or maybe you mare is small and has shorter stride length than your riding buddy. Try slowly building her stride length by asking her to reach and stretch with your seat and legs. To add stride to your horses gait, dog walk, dog walk, dog walk. That is the gaited term. In dressage, we use the term working walk. It feels like riding a camel when a horse is loose and stretching themselves underneath their body. As you increase the speed from the dog walk, use your butt cheeks to push the horse forward into gait. When you feel it change from a smooth forward marching flat walk to something bumpy, immediately slow back down to the dog walk and begin again. This will also build stamina and strength with the horse. Praise your horse when it feels right and correct with cues and voice when it feels bumpy. Eventually you will be able to get ten steps correctly with speed, then twenty, etc. This may help her begin to take longer steps while staying in her gait. Hopefully she will be able to increase her stride length and be able to keep up with your friends
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Re: Developing faser Runwalks

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