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

  1. #11
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    I got the comment "its a LONG rein not a LOOSE rein" for my free walk They don't want to see slackness in the rein, rather the horse taking the contact down and forward. I find to get the best stretch I need to make sure Rocky's walk is really marching on and swinging. Then what I should be doing is gently feeding out the reins whilst keeping my leg on so he drops his head down. My RI said to get a mark above 5/6 you need to get the poll lower than the withers. Maybe practise on the way back from a hack so she naturally wants to stretch more?
    Having ridden prelim 7 last week I did find the short diagonal a pain as by the time you've got a good stretch you need to gather up and turn!
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  2. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Soot View Post
    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 ...
    So maybe next time I should try that "old style" method and see what comments I get.

    next test coming up though at that venue is Prelim 19 which is with all those other letters!!
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  3. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by cloudandmatrix View Post
    I got the comment "its a LONG rein not a LOOSE rein" for my free walk They don't want to see slackness in the rein, rather the horse taking the contact down and forward. I find to get the best stretch I need to make sure Rocky's walk is really marching on and swinging. Then what I should be doing is gently feeding out the reins whilst keeping my leg on so he drops his head down. My RI said to get a mark above 5/6 you need to get the poll lower than the withers. Maybe practise on the way back from a hack so she naturally wants to stretch more?
    I think Hat's head did go lower than the withers... At home and on hacks, Hattie will drop her head right down.
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  4. #14
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    This is why I 'm struggling with the long rein comment??
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  5. #15
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    I wouldn't take one judges word for it... Dressage is subjective, and as long as you working on improving it overall, you'll get there. Just don't over think it - if you're anything like me, you'll become fixated that it is horrific. Just work on it overall - I like the suggestion of achieving different stretch and length in each pace.

    In fairness, you could probably lengthen a few more inches and she'd be the same shape, but you have to show you aren't holding the contact and shape, hence why it is a longer rein required.

  6. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by sophie View Post
    I wouldn't take one judges word for it... Dressage is subjective, and as long as you working on improving it overall, you'll get there. Just don't over think it - if you're anything like me, you'll become fixated that it is horrific. Just work on it overall - I like the suggestion of achieving different stretch and length in each pace.

    In fairness, you could probably lengthen a few more inches and she'd be the same shape, but you have to show you aren't holding the contact and shape, hence why it is a longer rein required.
    I am a little fixated as we have only done one other test and for that a different judge wrote "not really stretching" even though I thought she did
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  7. #17
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    She needs to stretch her whole frame, not just the neck, which is why she will feel like she will slow, but covers the same ground in the same time frame.

  8. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by sophie View Post
    She needs to stretch her whole frame, not just the neck, which is why she will feel like she will slow, but covers the same ground in the same time frame.
    Yes, I know the paces must lengthen and I have been told to aim at a march / walk, but I would really like to improve as at double points it makes a big difference to score low on it and it's frustrating. With canter and trot and head carriage I kind of know what I need to improve and ways to work on it (also on my uneven hands and body position), but this movement I'm a bit at a loss how to improve it clearly.
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  9. #19
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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....
    I thought this would help improve it for you. May not work for all, but certainly helped Buddy and Thomas.

  10. #20
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    Rocky doesn't have the biggest walk, and when he gets a little tense it shortens even more, so we do a lot of lengthening, shortening and leg yielding in walk to try and open up his frame. I would try maybe forgetting all about her head for a minute, and really working on getting her walk marching forwards with an over track, doing lots of transitions to get her engaging from behind and you should find that if she is really walking well into the contact, if you push your hands forward and give her the rein she will want to take it down. I think free walk is harder than it looks, its taken Rocky a while to get the hang of letting go over his back and stretching especially in trot. But definitely worth working on like you said as it is worth double marks.
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