Level II: The Spanish walk and the Polka
When your horse can stretch a frontleg on your voice cue or touch on both sides, you can teach him to do this in movement, creating the Polka and the Spanish walk:
* Polka: The horse walks two steps, stretches the left frontleg, takes two regular (collected) walk steps, stretches the right frontleg, takes two regular collected steps etc.
* Spanish walk: The horse stretches the frontleg forwards in every step he takes.Teaching the horse to lift his leg in movement
Learning the Polka and the Spanish walk is essentially really simple, but it can take some time before your horse understands that he can consciously lift a frontleg when walking. Teaching the Spanish walk from the jambette (stretched frontleg in halt) consists of three fases :
1. walk a few steps with your horse next to you and then ask him to halt when he was about to lift the frontleg on your side. While he is halting, you ask him to stretch that frontleg in standstill. That way he learns that he can stretch a frontleg when coming out of the walk.
2. If that goes well on both sides, you ask for a stretched leg in halt, and when his leg goes up, immediately ask for walk: ask him to follow your hand forwards, give your voicecue or touch his hindquarters with your whip. As soon as he takes a step forward, you reward him! This way he learns that he can start walking from stretching a leg at halt.
3. Now you actually have both parts of the movement: your horse can walk, stretch a leg while slowing down to a halt - and then walk away again straight from the stretched leg. So now you can ask for a walk, tell your horse to slow down to nearly halt and stretch a leg, and then walk forward again without having really stopped. Teaching the Polka and Spanish walk
You only gradually (!) have to diminish the amount of walk-steps between the stretched Spanish steps to only two walksteps between each lift, and you have the Polka. However, take your time! Your horse might feel insecure because this asks a lot of his balance, so allow him long walk pauses at first, and make sure that you collect him to a slower walk before you ask him to stretch a frontleg.
If the Polka is no problem, you can also start not asking any steps in between, and you create the Spanish walk. Some horses prefer to learn the Polka first, others do better when you begin with the Spanish walk. He's your teacher, so follow him.Here is an instructional video of learning the Spanish walk by Becky and ShadowEdit by Romy:
More info about the Spanish walk can be found here: Getting the legs to target and/or stretch forward
New horse book: Mandala horses!
Never stop making mistakes! Natural Dressage