Putting several exercises together in walk is a great way to keep your horse engaged and will also get you used to doing more than one thing at once, which can be the perfect preparation for a dressage test.
SET IT UP: Go large around the school (or the area you’re working in). Here, we start on the left rein.
a) Ride around the track and then when at the top of the area you’re working in (at A), turn down the three-quarter line.
b) Leg-yield to the right, keeping a slight left flexion in your horse’s body. Go back towards the track, towards B (or halfway down the area you’re working in).
c) Once back on the track, walk on and come off the track to ride once around a 10m circle, getting him bending around your inside leg.
f) Head back to the track and walk for a few steps before halting.
g) Halt for a couple of seconds and then walk on, turning down the centre line at the bottom of the school to change the rein.
RIDE IT: Two or three times on each rein and then finish once you’re happy with his progress.
Finish on a high
When you set a goal to ride for a certain period of time, it can be tempting to plug away until you reach this target. Always finish on a high and if you’ve achieved all you wanted in 20 minutes rather than 30, leave it there. You’ll both get tired and frustrated repeating the same thing
Ride with intention
Your horse’s walk needs to have impulsion, activity and a good rhythm. Don’t mistake forwards for fast as you’ll rush him out of him rhythm and it’ll look hurried. Get him pushing forwards from his hindquarters and listening to your aids. He needs to know you’re not letting him off easy just because you’re schooling at a slower pace.
Walk him loose
Walk is often overlooked, but it can really help to supple your horse. A supple walk means he can swing over his hindquarters and move through his back. If he’s tight in his hindquarters, he’ll be tight over his whole topline, making his movement stiff.
Don’t miss the latest issue of Your Horse Magazine, jam-packed with training and veterinary advice, horse-care tips and the latest equestrian products available on shop shelves, on sale now. Find out what’s in the latest issue here