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Thread: Struggling again with "free walk on a long rein"

  1. #1
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    Default Struggling again with "free walk on a long rein"

    I know this is the second thread I have done on this, but I just can't get the hang of it I really need some top tips to up my marks and get it right as I only scored a 5 on the last test and the judge had underlined "long rein" twice. What am I doing wrong and what should I be doing? I don't fee I can give a longer rein without chucking the contact away Hattie did briefly stretch down, but not as much as usual.

    Any thoughts would be most welcome

    Go to 2.50 (it was only a short diagonal of H to B)
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    Quite hard to see on the vid to be honest ... but I think she lost a bit of purpose and straightness, so I would probably focus on the free walk side of things (even though your judge underlined the long rein bit!) really encouraging her to take bigger strides (swinging stifles). The ength of the stretch then tends to come from that swing. I sometimes teach my clients to tickle the wither with one hand as a command to DROPNOSETOFLOOR. Some horses respond very well to this (Lance doesn't) and will transition straight into a free walk without any loss of rhythm. In schooling I do stretchy exercise in walk, trot and canter and it is usually the stride that gets lost when they stretch down. I think if they can hold it at all three paces they become strong enough through the back to show off a very good one for a judge.

    On personal level, I was taught back in the day when the free walk meant borderline "chuck everything at the horse" while concentrating on the back end taking the biggest possible strides. So that's how I schooled Lance, so we would march down his free walk diagonal with a big stride and lots of purpose and not much contact at all. We usually scored 6 or 7 and the remark "now needs more contact". Lately he's been taking up that contact of his own accord, while keeping the stride and have got an 8 for it on the last 3 tests. (oh and I tend to fiddle the hand the judge can't see placing it a bit lower and playing with it so he reached down to play back on that contact).,



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    Thanks Soot. I was trying to get her to walk on and march, but we were both quite hot and she was more reluctant than usual. I would love to ask the judge what she meant about underlining the "long rein " bit as I'm finind it a bit confusing. I do find the short diagonal quite hard as compared to the long one. At home, on grass, she drops her head right down
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    I can't see clearly in the video but it looks like you gave her enough rein to stretch down further than normal but still kept a good hold on the reins. I think (although I'm no expert) that they want you to practically hold near the buckle as part of the point is to show that you can maintain straightness without your reins. Boo's pretty good at this if she isn't wound up although I'm doing a lot of work to get her even more responsive to my legs so that I can rely on them to keep her straight.

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    Quote Originally Posted by igloo View Post
    I can't see clearly in the video but it looks like you gave her enough rein to stretch down further than normal but still kept a good hold on the reins. I think (although I'm no expert) that they want you to practically hold near the buckle as part of the point is to show that you can maintain straightness without your reins. Boo's pretty good at this if she isn't wound up although I'm doing a lot of work to get her even more responsive to my legs so that I can rely on them to keep her straight.
    Old school thinking used to be holding the buckle, but I've been taught since that you must maintain a contact - maybe that is wrong?- I'd be quite happy to hold the buckle though if I was sure that was what was required
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    Quote Originally Posted by Clava View Post
    Old school thinking used to be holding the buckle, but I've been taught since that you must maintain a contact - maybe that is wrong?- I'd be quite happy to hold the buckle though if I was sure that was what was required
    I'm not sure what exactly you're meant to do but I tend to hold about a hands-width away from the buckle on each side and with my reins this means that when she stretches down I still have some contact (although none if she decides to go see the handsome gelding by the gate). I shall be watching this thread to find out.

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    I think it is key to remember that you don't move from your normal contact to the buckle end. If the movement was H-B FWLR then Thomas for instance would find this difficult as his long stride would mean less time to show it in true FWLR.

    I've always been taught to feed the reins each stride, gradually, so you maintain a contact throughout, but are lengthening, and asking them to lengthen downwards. Doing this requires leg, so should naturally keep the walk rhythm. However, a FWLR will be a longer stride so will feel slower, even though your covering the same area of ground in the same time (if that makes sense).

    Keep your hands low and wide as you feed the reins, and keep the bit moving slightly to really encourage her downwards. Unfortunately, external things often mean Thomas doesn't stretch as he should....

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    Quote Originally Posted by sophie View Post
    I think it is key to remember that you don't move from your normal contact to the buckle end. If the movement was H-B FWLR then Thomas for instance would find this difficult as his long stride would mean less time to show it in true FWLR.

    I've always been taught to feed the reins each stride, gradually, so you maintain a contact throughout, but are lengthening, and asking them to lengthen downwards. Doing this requires leg, so should naturally keep the walk rhythm. However, a FWLR will be a longer stride so will feel slower, even though your covering the same area of ground in the same time (if that makes sense).

    Keep your hands low and wide as you feed the reins, and keep the bit moving slightly to really encourage her downwards. Unfortunately, external things often mean Thomas doesn't stretch as he should....
    Yes, I agree the shorter diagonal is harder to get a good stretch going and I also try and keep hands wide and low, but we fail on marching forwards a bit.

    I've chatted to a friend who knows the judge and I'm going to email her and ask about lessons and also ask about her "long rein " comment and how I can improve to achieve a better mark. The funny thing is this judge taught me as a teenager, but I doubt she remembers me.
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    Holding the buckle/chuck everything at the horse/"loose" rein = old style of dressage. As said, this is how I was taught and have consistently scored 6-7 riding like this, even in 2013. At Prelim and Novice!

    Feeding contact bit by bit, so horse is taking contact down to the buckle = modern expectation and more correct for higher levels of training. Personally I find it harder to teach this from scratch (as not how I was originally taught) and find it easier to teach long, free, purposeful, straight first and then let experience and topline bring in the true contact. I think from native horses, it is a little much to expect that swinging open stride of a warmblood on a long rein contact ... so we must seek to replicate the correctness of the movement as best we can and I do believe over time they gain the strength and ability to do it, but perhaps it is never as natural to them? Back when I competed Rambo it was DROP EVERYTHING, hold buckle and horse would march up diagonal and you got an 8 for it You don't see that any more over Novice level ...



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    And yes, short diagonal free walk is silly unless as part of a V shape ... I like a few medium stride on the straight before and after the free walk, no space for that on the short diagonal!



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