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PostPosted: Sun May 27, 2007 1:50 pm 
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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 Shadow

Edit by Romy:
More info about the Spanish walk can be found here: Getting the legs to target and/or stretch forward

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Last edited by admin on Wed Aug 15, 2007 4:58 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 07, 2007 10:23 pm 
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My filly has been lifting her legs nicely for a long time, and I can get her to walk forward while doing it, BUT...
She hasn't figured out how to diagonalize and walk forward. Instead I ask for the right leg, than the left, then she quick catches up with her hind feet after being parked out, then we go right left, hind legs catch up again.

We have been doing this for over a year, so time isn't fixing it :D :roll:

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 07, 2007 10:58 pm 
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danee wrote:
My filly has been lifting her legs nicely for a long time, and I can get her to walk forward while doing it, BUT...
She hasn't figured out how to diagonalize and walk forward. Instead I ask for the right leg, than the left, then she quick catches up with her hind feet after being parked out, then we go right left, hind legs catch up again.

We have been doing this for over a year, so time isn't fixing it :D :roll:


I think the answer is already in the description above: first teach her to really melt a leglift into the walk, for left and right seperately - only then ask them together with regular walksteps in between - and then gradually ask for less steps of walk in between.

The parking out you describe is indeed very common when you just ask left-right-left when the horse is at a standstill. With 90% of the horses that just won't get you to a real Spanish walk, so instead of focussing on the leglifts, focus on the movement from the hindlegs, the walk, and incorporating one leglift in that.

You can by the way also use the shoulder-in as 'walk' in between the leglifts. As the shoulder in is more collected, the horse could find it easier to slow down and lift a frontleg when slowing down or moving towards walk again (as then you can simply ask for the stretched leg, and then immediately for the hindquarters to move away from you for the shoulder in - so a leglift that immediately continues with engaging the hindquarters. And if the horse can lift his rightlegs several times during a shoulder in (or collected walk) after a lot of (!) training sessions, and also the same on the left, you can start to combine these leglifts in one walk/shoulder-in reprise, with a lot of regular steps in between.

But indeed: the trick is to think dressage, not tricktraining: movement doesn't come from the frontend, but from engaging the hindquarters. So apparently even we, enlightened modern thinkers, still learn things from the old Haute Ecole masters. 8)


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 08, 2007 6:36 am 
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Thanks. As usual you hit the nail on the head. I thikn the shoulder-in and just putting a lift into the walk that is timed well with the hind legs, will do wonders.

Every other forum I've been on I am the one handing out advice. Everyone gives me the "Oh you are so good at wording whatever, and say the right thing." Miriam, write a book. You are SO good at this!!!

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2007 11:05 pm 
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Perhaps everyone could offer their tips and tricks they have used for Spanish Walk, and I could rest my poor brain for a little while.

With Cisco, almost right away, he offered a leg lift, outward...so his attempts at Spanish Walk are quite pretty and when the movement is more refined, it will be a soft and quiet walk with the front legs extending out horizontally. He will be a stealthy spanish walker!

Tamarack stomps. He lifts from the knee and stomps his feet down. You could hear his version of the spanish walk from a mile away. Stealth will not be his middle name! He is already stepping forward, so I need to fix this before he gets really off track.

So I need to retrain this, or do something differently.

Now, with Cisco, somewhere in his early training, I was also teaching him to put his foot on a pedestal, and I haven't done this with Tamarack...that could be the answer right there....maybe I just answered my own question...


I have two, now three ideas.

1) start from scratch and teach him to target the end of the whip with his hoof, rather than lifting his knee. This could get him quite frustrated as it would meam that I stop rewarding him for trying what has worked to this point, but it may be worth trying.

2) Keep the stompy walk we now have and attempt to refine it. So far, any touching anywhere to encourage him to extend the leg has failed. He stomps harder. So this may not be an idea at all

3) Get the pedestal exercise taught pronto!

What would you do, or what DID you do when teaching the Spanish Walk?


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2007 11:25 pm 
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Don't keep the stompy walk!!!

I had the same, pre-clicker, problem with Blacky, and all in all it took me two years to get it right again. Well, comparatively right, because it still isn't very good, but the stomping is almost gone.

However, it can be cured. 8) You already have him target a stick in front of him with his knee in halt? The trick is to teach him that he should touch that stick longer: if he knows now to touch the stick once with his knee, you can advance the game by asking him to touch it two seconds, or two times before you reward. Then three seconds/three times. At a certain point, if he replies by lifting his leg several times instead of more seconds, he will realise that he can lift his leg faster to target your stick if he doesn't put it down first. You really delete the stomp on the ground, because you show him that it's just a waste of energy to do that; just keeping it in the air longer saves a lot of power!

Retraining old habits can take some time (see Blacky... ), but this is a very good way to solve the problem as it aims at the cause (the fact that your horse thinks he should stomp down) and it worked with Blacky in the end too, even when with him it was a worse case because he had been stomping during the Spanish walk in walk for a year too. But in milder cases it just really works wonders! And if he's more persistent, the only thing you can do is have patience and try to make him understand that it's the keeping the leg in the air that you want like this for a longer time, untill he does. The pedestal probably won't work, as that's an ideal place to stomp a leg down on too... 8)


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2007 5:17 am 
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YeeHaw!!! Thank you! This will work. I tried it this evening and he was trying hard to figure it out. Sometimes he would stomp, then when I didn't click for it, he would start pawing...so I would walk away and leave him. He was of course following me, and when he caught up, we would try again. I was trying to click for just a little duration, or to click for a softer lift...within about seven clicks or so, he was offering to lift the knee and hold it up for a second before setting it down!!! Jackpot (several treats and lots of lovey words), and we would take a little break and he would get lots of scratches and rubs. Then we would try again.

I don't think he understood exactly what I'm looking for, but he's actively searching for the answer, not getting TOO frustrated, and he got it right several times. I ended it on a really good one.

I am just teaching one leg...when he has it really well, I'll teach the other. I just have to decide what "really well" is...whether I should just keep working on one leg until I'm getting a higher, straighter, and softer lift? I think the answer is yes!

Thank you Miriam!!!!!

YAY!


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2007 7:48 am 
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I teached the Spanish walk by first standing with my face turned to Evita and teached her the difference in raising the left and right leg. After this I started to ask left and right when I would walk backwards, Evita following me. The Spanish walk was easily teached this way but dangerous... when I would not walk backwards fast enough I would have a blue shin-bone...

It was hard to teach her the spanish walk when I walked next to her. Eventually I added the aid "click my fingers" and repeated that when I would walk next to her and she understood. Spanish walk is now her favourite thing to do :lol:
When starting her under the saddle she did the spanish walk before we ever even trotted :)


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2007 12:58 pm 
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I had the same problem with Bravada. She would stomp and paw the ground sometimes 3 to 4 times also out of frustration because I was holding the click because she was not extending her leg.

I solved the problem the same way Bianca did. I stood facing her but quite on her side not to get kicked at. I also used the bitless bridle. I would gently lift the rein to ask for the leg to lift on the same side and use my stick to touch (initially) the leg. After I just had to point the stick to the knee I wanted her to lift. I encouraged forward movement by backing and also bending my body forward.

Once she got the movement, I moved to her side and at the beginning I mimicked the movement with my legs and used my stick to point at the knee I want her to lift.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2007 11:08 pm 
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I, too, am working on improving the Spanish Walk with my Arab, Cam.

I have an intersting situation in that he lifts his left and right legs completely differently! He raises his right leg more slowly, very high, extends it out and gives a little flourish when he sets it down. It is very elegant and a friend who has high level spanish walks on all his horses, said that is the style I should encourage and keep.

However, Cam raises his left foot not nearly as high and then stomps it down with very loud smack. I've done all sorts of things to try and change this, but no luck. My friend with the gorgeous and high Spanish Walks says that he did all his using target training. He showed me that his horses would hold each leg up for as long as he held the target (stick with a tennis ball) out. It was quite amazing really and led to that exercise where they pirouette with one leg extended.

So, I'm going back to more target training. I did make a recent discovery that I can get a much higher lift if I make a slight upward motion with my training twig and Cam will lift his head and neck much higher which results in the leg on that side being lifted higher. I don't usually use the cordeo for this, but I imagine an upward signal would accomplish a similar result.

We have been doing lots of stretches and that has helped loosen him up in the shoulders quite a bit.

Thanks for the discussion.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2007 11:22 pm 
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Stretching is a very important point too, good to bring it up!

When a horse has 'two different legs' (well, of course, but you know what I mean 8) ), a problem might be that it's not just something in his brains, but also in his body. When he's crooked or one-sided, he will not only bend his body more to one side, but also overload the frontleg at the opposite side. That leg probably won't get such a high lift as the other, and will probably be set down earlier too. Then stretching with sideways movements like shoulder-in and travers/renvers to even out the body can work miracles. Sjors had a similar movement when doing the Spanish walk in movement: one leg wasn't lifted nearly as high - so instead of asking that lift to go higher (well, tried it at first of course but it didn't work 8) ) I asked the hindleg on that side to step under more during the Spanish walk, as only when that leg stands secure the frontleg can go further forwards. And it did. :)

I like the trainer-friend you're describing, his targetting is exactly what I did with the pony's too and it works great. His idea to make the target even clearer by putting a ball on the stick is interesting too. :idea:


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2007 11:42 pm 
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Like you say, Miriam, the physical component of all this is important to consider too.

Cam has one front foot smaller and more upright than the other - "high-low" syndrome. He always stands with the right foot back and the left foot forward when he is eating. I'm sure the muscle development in his shoulders is quite different.

It is certainly challenging and can be quite comical at times. When I am practicing with this, sometimes he will look at me and really exaggerate the good foot - lifting it remarkably high and flipping it way out with his classy flourish. Then he will stomp down really hard with the left and give me a look of "so that is what I think of your idea about changing things!"

I really try not to chuckle, but he really cracks me up. I am very quick to reward for the slightest improvement and I know we shall get there. Just gotta keep a sense of humor about it all! :lol:

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 13, 2007 8:09 am 
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Oh - Karen you are brilliant!!! I was just serching for some advices with my hore Vilja. She loves to lift her legs, but don't stretch them foreward - I will try you're hoof-whip-target-idea!!!


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 13, 2007 8:21 am 
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Now I got a bit confuse - the other of you talks about touching the target with the knee - my "problem" is she's lifting her knees the most (don't stretch the foot forward) so I thaught the hoof-on-target sounded good?

And you don't use the pedestal?? I have learned that in NHE - first pedestal, then spanish walk, so we have been working on pedestal now... But I do see that if it is just for the stretching maybe it's just as good to stretch them in the "old way" (holding theit foot)?


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 13, 2007 12:04 pm 
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About the stomping: I encouraged Summy to do exactly that, because he loved it and offered it when I asked him to make a step. So he learned to stomp as hard as he could. Titum offered a slower, higher and more forward movement, so with him I trained more correct Spanish walk. Now I read this topic and wonder if I should stop to let Summy stomp? Do you think the stomoping does any harm? Or does it only make it more difficult to train correct Spanish walk afterwards? It would be a pity if we had to stop it, because he loves it so much...


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 13, 2007 2:32 pm 
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Stomping does make it more difficult to train the Spanish walk, but it also puts a lot of strain on the front hooves, something I noticed when Blacky was a stomper... :wink:

Training the standing on a pedestal first won't harm the Spanish walk either. It's not really necessary as the Spanish walk in itself stretches the shoulders already, but if you have a frontleg that just won't come high enough, you can stretch this shoulder by asking the horse to place a frontleg on a (first) small pedestal, and over time make that pedestal higher so that his muscles are stretched further.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 01, 2008 10:08 pm 

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[quote="Miriam]* Spanish walk: The horse stretches the frontleg forwards in every step he takes[/quote]

And its important to remember that the horse is suppose to move it's legs as the same way as the do in trot, or else it may harm the horses back..

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 01, 2008 10:27 pm 
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Sofie,

Can you explain a bit further? Do you mean the horse needs to diagonalize?

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 01, 2008 10:50 pm 
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Whenever I see Spanish Walk, the hind diagonal trails (or leads) the front lifted leg...so it is a walking, or four beat gait. I have not seen Spanish Walk done in a two beat gait.


Last edited by Karen on Tue Apr 01, 2008 10:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 01, 2008 10:54 pm 
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Same observation on my part too.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 01, 2008 10:57 pm 
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Sorry...edited my last post to make more sense. I have trouble seeing gaits (:roll: ...but every youtube video I see of horses doing Spanish Walk, are all four beat gaits. I can see how it could hurt the horses back...but if you are letting the horse figure it out slowly without force, they are less likely to do any damage to themselves.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 02, 2008 7:50 am 

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Karen wrote:
Whenever I see Spanish Walk, the hind diagonal trails (or leads) the front lifted leg...so it is a walking, or four beat gait. I have not seen Spanish Walk done in a two beat gait.

Limited by my english agein(Sorry)I'll try to explain it:
As you say, it's a four beat gait, but they move their legs as in trot, but if you see my last video, you'll se the improvment from my first film. At the last one it's almost correct, but in the first the beat is not correct. I'm working on getting the spanish walk in a two beat gait. Have a look at this vid, it's fantastic:
http://youtube.com/watch?v=iiS-GciTz5E

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 02, 2008 7:58 am 

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Karen wrote:
I can see how it could hurt the horses back...but if you are letting the horse figure it out slowly without force, they are less likely to do any damage to themselves.

that's true, but often the horses I work with gets very exited and really want's to pleace me, and they forget thers backlegs. I don't think it hurts, but it's not healthy. But I do agree with you, but since it's suppose to be a discripsion of the spansish walk, it should discribe how it's correctly done? 'cos if the horse dont move it backlegs, then it's not spanish walk either. Than it's more like the dog trick "give me the pow". But it's a start to the spanish walk, but not acually spanish walk. Hope you understand :lol:

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 02, 2008 7:59 am 

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Madeleine Balcer wrote:
Sofie,

Can you explain a bit further? Do you mean the horse needs to diagonalize?

sorry, did'nt see this post! But yes, thats exately what I mean, just couldnt fint the word :oops:

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 02, 2008 1:02 pm 
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The video is great and in my opinion it shows first the passage then the Spanish trot, not the Spanish walk.

This weekend we had a clinic from a great French rider who studied 5 years in Portugal.

He explained the progression in teaching these movements

1st: you teach the jambette
2nd: the Spanish walk
Then as you trot you ask for a jambette to get the horse to have a suspension time at the trot that will eventually lead to passage
From the passage you teach the Spanish trot by asking for more amplitude in the front legs

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 03, 2008 12:13 pm 
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Sofie&Katla wrote:
I'm working on getting the spanish walk in a two beat gait. Have a look at this vid, it's fantastic:
http://youtube.com/watch?v=iiS-GciTz5E


The Spanish walk really is supposed to be a four-beat walk, so it shouldn't become two-beat like in trot. It does get a bit more diagonalized 8) because the frontlegs stay longer in the air, so the hindleg will move more diagonal along too, but it should stay four-beat - with actively understepping hindlegs of course, because you are totally right that especially horses who start doing this exercise tend to leave their hindlegs at the back while walking forwards with the frontlegs. ;)

However, 8) if the horse does do a two-beat move with outstretched frontlegs like in the video, that's not wrong either, but it simply is another exercise: a Spanish trot (with more or less upwards jumping). The horse on the video does a really great Spanish trot too, I won't expect Blacky or Sjors to do it that expressive and correct ever.. :shock: 8)

If I were you, I wouldn't try to delete the real four-beat Spanish walk, but instead also teach your horse the two-beat Spanish trot. That way you have two healthy exercises instead of one! :wink:


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 03, 2008 2:52 pm 

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Miriam wrote:
Sofie&Katla wrote:
I'm working on getting the spanish walk in a two beat gait. Have a look at this vid, it's fantastic:
http://youtube.com/watch?v=iiS-GciTz5E


The Spanish walk really is supposed to be a four-beat walk, so it shouldn't become two-beat like in trot. It does get a bit more diagonalized 8) because the frontlegs stay longer in the air, so the hindleg will move more diagonal along too, but it should stay four-beat - with actively understepping hindlegs of course, because you are totally right that especially horses who start doing this exercise tend to leave their hindlegs at the back while walking forwards with the frontlegs. ;)

However, 8) if the horse does do a two-beat move with outstretched frontlegs like in the video, that's not wrong either, but it simply is another exercise: a Spanish trot (with more or less upwards jumping). The horse on the video does a really great Spanish trot too, I won't expect Blacky or Sjors to do it that expressive and correct ever.. :shock: 8)

If I were you, I wouldn't try to delete the real four-beat Spanish walk, but instead also teach your horse the two-beat Spanish trot. That way you have two healthy exercises instead of one! :wink:

I'm not planning on delete the four-beat spanish walk, but I'm trying to learn her the spanish trot. I know that if it's two beat, then it's trot, but it was just that one person over tolt me that she never seen it done with two beat. Have a look at my vid( http://youtube.com/watch?v=cclS7HVRPR4 ). Here you can see her spanish walk, and us working on the spanish trot. Like I sad in my presentasion; My english writing isnt that good, so thats why I'm not that good at explaning. Yet;)

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 03, 2008 5:58 pm 
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This is a great video. You two seems to have so much fun otgether.

You have the Spanish walk quite weel nailed down. He is pushing from his back legs., They are not dragging.

Very inspiring.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 15, 2008 5:50 pm 
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Hi,

I am a newbee at trick training. I have started training Jackson to do tricks just this year. Here is a link to a video of him doing the Spanish Walk.
http://video.xanga.com/ivyschex/48091873733/video.html

Please let me know how I can improve it. I am working to get him more collected.

Thanks,

Ivy

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 15, 2008 6:14 pm 
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Hi Ivy,

Jackson is very relaxed and balanced when you're asking him to do things. This is really nice to see. Also bitless...wonderful!

You have a really great Spanish walk. Improvement comes slowly, over time, through building the strength in the haunches, and gentel stretching exercises to help limber the shoulders.

Collection is built also over time, and Jackson is still young, so don't rush it.

Oh, and what we do here might look like trick training, but it's not :wink:

We follow the concepts of classical dressage, without bits or spurs and precious little pressure, for the mental and physical well being of the horse. The horse comes first, always. AND is a philosphy.

We learn from the techniques of the old masters, but in a more humanitarian way, where the well being of the horse is considered before all.

All that said, you can being to teach Jackson collection and stretching exercises by wandering through the groundwork stickies, learning and applying what you learn there.

All the exercises are interconnected and they all build strength and ability in the horse.

So what I'm saying is, that Jackson is doing great for his strength level. If you can practice other things (mostly in hand) like ramener at liberty, from a pose into movement, lateral work in hand (great for building strengh and extension), Goat On a Mountain, bowing, and placing one foot on a pedestal (then lowering the head), all at the horse's own pace, then Jackson will continue to grow in strength and continue to enjoy is time with you.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 15, 2008 6:19 pm 
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Thanks so much! I too desire to do the Classical Dressage, not the modern dressage. I have read books by some of the great dressage people from 100 years ago. Can you recommend some books for me to read on this?

Thanks,

Ivy

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 15, 2008 6:30 pm 
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The information on books is scattered throughout the Research and training Methods section.

A lot of reading, I know. Or you can use the search function above to narrow the search (search the word "Book"). But the research section is all about where to find information from the traditional (modern or classical) world.

For instance, here we discussed a bit about Baucher:

http://www.artofnaturaldressage.com/vie ... php?t=1049

And in that thread is a link to a free pdf copy of the Art of Horsemanship.

I hope you enjoy being here. There is so much to read!


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 01, 2008 11:16 pm 
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Wahay! I can contribute to this topic.

Now. Snudes has spontaneously found jamebette especially with her left front. I taught her leg lifts through mimicry which I didn't believe would work and then.... whatdaya know .... this has become her exercise of choice!

I have been trying to show her leg lift/jambette and step forward which she is getting. I saw a spanish walk step with the RF when we were free leading the other day. Her RF does not lift so high or dosen't get to be jambette yet - perhaps not least because she has multiple tendon injuries on her standing leg the LF - so we will see but there is a preliminary imbalance here.

By reading here then another 'way in' is to go from walk into a jambette - mmm... shall try this.

It is also heartening because her jambettes are her first real way of communicating her joy of trainng and I was fearful of developing a pattern I wouldn't be able to change but now I think I should just be continuing and developing the offer...... v kewl indeed!

We will keep you posted on our progress.

Oh by the way, we haven't done anything with pedestals at all as of yet. The jambette was her offering when I was learning how to free shape!!!!!

xx

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 01, 2008 11:18 pm 
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Karen,

Would you mind reposting your link. I put ../forum/ in the title bar but it still couldn't find it ... I would like to read this.

Thanks......

xx

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 02, 2008 3:11 am 
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Here it is!

viewtopic.php?f=7&t=1049

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 02, 2008 10:28 am 
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Thankyou! :f:

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 10, 2008 5:37 pm 
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Jo, are you standing on the left when she Jambettes with left leg? Maybe if you try more fromt he right she will 'discover' her right leg?? Maybe this isn't th case but I always teach spanish walk from the left first and they seem to always pick up good rhythm with the left leg and the right one comes later. Eventually I do it from both sides.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 10, 2008 6:22 pm 
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danee wrote:
Jo, are you standing on the left when she Jambettes with left leg? Maybe if you try more fromt he right she will 'discover' her right leg?? Maybe this isn't th case but I always teach spanish walk from the left first and they seem to always pick up good rhythm with the left leg and the right one comes later. Eventually I do it from both sides.


Oh, good point, Danee!

I started on each side with Circe, and as we moved into the very beginnings of the Spanish walk, I moved in front of her, facing her, so I could cue each leg from the front. She got this very quickly!

We're now working on trying to translate that back to me standing on one side and doing the walk...sometimes she gets this, but it's still spotty yet...

:smile:
Leigh

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 10, 2008 6:45 pm 
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Leigh, move to her side more gradually...see if she can understand if you stand just a little off center. Then a little more...only gradually moving back to her shoulder? More than anything it is a matter of perception, and that can be gradually shifted. "Gradually shifted" may only take one session, by the way! Especially since she's already starting to understand anyway. :yes:

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 10, 2008 7:27 pm 
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Karen wrote:
Leigh, move to her side more gradually...see if she can understand if you stand just a little off center. Then a little more...only gradually moving back to her shoulder? More than anything it is a matter of perception, and that can be gradually shifted. "Gradually shifted" may only take one session, by the way! Especially since she's already starting to understand anyway. :yes:


Thanks, Karen!

We're playing with a variety of places/placements -- if I stand a little off center, still facing her, she's cool. If I turn around and face the same direction as she is, regardless of where I am in relation to her shoulder, this hasn't translated yet. :blonde: (I love these new emoticons!) :)

What we're really focusing on right now is getting her mimicry a little more specific -- so she's learning to lift up the same leg as I am. Right now it's leg, any leg! ;) And part of that is that she just loves leg lifts so much that she's jumping in to play without focusing a whole lot...ooooh, leg lifts!!!!! :D

I'm not generally physically cueing her by touching her to do this currently (I originally started to try this with using the target up over her back from the side to touch her opposite shoulder and that completely confused her -- we have a bunch more work to to with the target to expand its usefulness...some day!), and then I was so enchanted by what started to happen with mimicry that I've really been playing with that.

I just love what opens up with mimicry -- it still feels like magic to me, and feels like the least intrusive way of communicating -- and their energy is most open when we do this.

So mostly we're still exploring! I feel like we're at Mimicry 101 -- basic nouns and verbs.

But I have big fantasies of elegant long mimicry paragraphs with precise words...

(And then we'll have another world of cuing from her back, but we'll get there when we get there! I'm interested to see what we can come up with first, and what we will both have learned about being sensitive to how each other is moving by exploring this.)

Thanks for posting -- responding has actually clarified my goals with this for me in a new way!
:kiss:

Leigh

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 10, 2008 7:45 pm 
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Quote:
Jo, are you standing on the left when she Jambettes with left leg? Maybe if you try more fromt he right she will 'discover' her right leg?? Maybe this isn't th case but I always teach spanish walk from the left first and they seem to always pick up good rhythm with the left leg and the right one comes later. Eventually I do it from both sides.


Danee, thanks for your input. I am doing exactly this and I have good clarity with which leg she will pick up by moving myself left and right. In fact yesterday morning she gave a wonderful right leg jambette while I was lying on the ground with Karena, and it nearly landed on my head!!!! :yes: She will pick up the right leg readily but it tends to be in a leg flex position and not a leg outstretch position although there are some pointy toes sneaking in in places.

From what you are saying in sounds like you are just concentrating on one leg AND the walk at the same time which then translates over? Have I got that right???? I have started in halt with the leg lifts and jambettes and have tried to get her to flex/point and step, one and then the other, which she kind of does but is not understanding too well what I am asking.

Quote:
I started on each side with Circe, and as we moved into the very beginnings of the Spanish walk, I moved in front of her, facing her, so I could cue each leg from the front. She got this very quickly!


Leigh,
Its curious how different horses get things more and less quickly in different places. Snudes hasn't made this connection at all even though I have tried to do it for her to watch for some mimicry, have been in front and enticed her to leg lift and step forwards and leg lift and step forwards (although I did get 4 steps of this once and so didn't mark it clearly enough methinks) and I think I have confused her.

This evening, bless her a hundred times, we were walking back to the others so she was motivated to move forwards and I pointed for head flexion/ramener but what I got was an attempt at spanish walk ... wahay, double wahay... BUT she was doing a jambette and pawing the ground and trying to step forwards. So, oops, she is trying to do something much more difficult that I want,.... she is trying to walk and throw the leg forwards AND paw the ground and keep the walk.... blimey girl!!!!! So it got a bit messy and I didn't want to confuse things further so we went on to something else!!! But she is certainly trying very hard and I am trying very hard not to leave her too confused and frustrated because it really is my ineptitude not hers!!!!!!

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 10, 2008 10:56 pm 
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Quote:
Leigh,Its curious how different horses get things more and less quickly in different places.


Oh, truly, Jo! It's one of the things that I'm loving about having two horses to play with -- Circe got the mimicry thing immediately with the leg lifts, and is beginning to translate it quite enthusiastically to other things. Stardust got it eventually, and I actually think is more aware of what I'm doing with my body than Circe is, but he's slower to mimic me than she is.

He has more awareness, but is often carefully watching. Circe has all of the enthusiasm in the world, but often is singing songs in her head and forgets that anyone else is around! :D

It may simply be that you guys yet haven't found the magic pieces!

I hadn't really thought about focusing on one leg for the walk -- so it really is more the polka (LIFT STEP, step, LIFT STEP, step) -- I think that's another way that might work, too...I'm gonna play with that!

Quote:
But she is certainly trying very hard and I am trying very hard not to leave her too confused and frustrated because it really is my ineptitude not hers!!!!!!


Oh, I so understand feeling like you're the one who's inept! ;)

One of my tactics to avoid feeling like a bumbler and avoid pony frustration is that I've decided pretty much everything (at the moment at least) is an experiment and there are no wrong answers... 8) This has helped me with my Type A Dictator moments when I can get all framboozled about getting it RIGHT! and just figure that if they offer something different than what I asked for, we've just shifted games a bit. I try to keep this reasonably balanced so I'm not also confusing them by shifting gears every twelve seconds, and we're probably going to go for more specificity/clarity as we go, but it's been really good for all of us to remove frustration from the equation...

(This may or may not be helpful for you, because I don't get the sense that you're fighting with your inner dictator very much, Jo! ;) But I thought I'd mention it...for both of them at this moment, the most important part is that they have fun. I'm really not particularly goal oriented with them otherwise right now...again, this is a stage, I think..but it seems to be taking away a lot of all of our fear of getting it wrong, whatever "it' is...and it's letting me get more fluent in horse without inadvertently yelling at them because I said, "The dog is on top of the house" when I think I've said "would you lift your right leg please" -- I am a Peter Sellers movie... :blonde: :green: )

Hugs,
Leigh

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 10, 2008 11:10 pm 
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Quote:
and just figure that if they offer something different than what I asked for, we've just shifted games a bit. I try to keep this reasonably balanced so I'm not also confusing them by shifting gears every twelve seconds


Yep! We're playing this game too! I am too finding my way in talking horse and am very appreciative of their enthusiasm to try to help!! Noodle, though, believes that I know what I'm talking about and I don't want to let her down, that actually I've got no idea!!

I, like you, am seriously benefiting from working with 2 distinctly different beings. Karena is incredibly bright and thinks for herself about things, is very self centred (remarkably so) and is incredibly contrary to boot! She understands but might or might not. Whereas Noodle is falling over herself to do the right thing but she doesn't think outside of the box like Karena does. She wants me to tell her rather than try to experiment herself. I am sure this will change with time and its useful to think about how different they are. Of course I learn different things from both which I then get to apply on the other.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 11, 2008 1:04 am 
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I do start workingon forwards movemetn right away since I was always going for Spanish walk and have never worked on Jambette. I play with cueing each leg and with cueing just one leg while walking- whatever works. :green:

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 Post subject: Spanish walk cues?
PostPosted: Mon Feb 13, 2012 1:28 am 

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Hi,
I wonder if you feel like sharing the cues you use for Spanish walk - verbal, physical etc.?


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 13, 2012 2:10 am 
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The magic isn't so much in the cue itself...you use whatever pleases the horse and keeps you safe. That means, you probably shouldn't start it while standing in front of the horse, but rather from beside the horse.

Horses can easily learn to target something with the front legs...so you walk beside the horse and hold the target close enough to the front legs that the horse accidentally bumps it. Stop and praise enthusiastically (even though it was an accident... :D ). If you use food rewards (or click and treat) click (or mark with the voice) the very second the horse touches the target. Then repeat, repeat, repeat until you notice the horse TRYING to touch the target. They are smart...they figure these things out. :yes:

Because you are walking or standing beside the horse, a longer target is good. This can be a whip, or you can start with something softer, that the horse doesn't mind bumping with a foreleg. I used a pool noodle.

As the horse figures out to raise the legs, you add a verbal cue (I use, "step"). If you don't wish to add a verbal cue, that's fine...you'll find that your horse will read your body language and at least from the ground, when you are in the position you are normally in when you ask for Spanish Walk, and reach over AS IF you had the target in your hand, your horse will offer Spanish Walk.

So for some people the cue may become pointing at the front legs. For me, I hold my hand and arm out as if I'm holding the pool noodle for him to touch.

There is no one correct cue for it. You can just play and let your horse choose the cue! :f:

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 13, 2012 4:33 am 

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Karen,
thank you for your reply! :)
I have no trouble initiating the Spanish Walk, the horses seem to love to express their stallion tendencies in this exercise... actually, had a really "cute moment" when introducing a mirror to my horse - who is very proud to be learning to lift his legs - well, I led him up to the mirror, he stopped, stared - then without me doing anything, he with very focused, intent look lifted his leg ... :)

But as I am very new at teaching it - I would like to come up with a cue to use all the time. What I do now works well, but I worry about not being clear enough - especially with horses that I don't have a deep bond with yet...

Right now even a look at one leg, then the next works, but I would like consistency - and to transfer to ridden work. I started with a "stick touching the leg" cue - and might have to go to that again to begin ridden Spanish walk, we'll see.

What I am looking for is a single cue to work on the ground and ridden - I am thinking verbal - I like your "step"...- do you say "step" for every leg? Anyone try teaching "left" "right" to lift each leg respectively???

Turns out (watching video of myself) I also do a bit of posturing - not so much lifting my legs, more lifting my shoulders/chest? For a while I played with moving the head/neck to the opposite side to the leg I wanted up, but I found it too bothersome/restrictive as a cue for a horse who understands the mechanics of the movement...
I don't always use ropes and sticks when I train, so those cues are out... just wanted to see what you all are doing to cue this...:)

Thanks
Zu


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 13, 2012 4:43 am 
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I've thought so many times about telling you what an inpInspiration you are with your description of how to create and execute a training cycle with the clicker. The reason I haven't is that about the time I get into reading what you write I also get into visualizing what you are saying and off goes my mind to seeing me doing it with Bonnie and or Altea, and you know the power of the wandering mind to distract.

You have many times inspirted me to work more with the clicker and the method. Just not enough time in the day, or the blasted winter days nows going on.

Thank you,

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 13, 2012 5:28 am 
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Oh Don :blush: :smile: Thank you! :kiss:

For cueing SW under saddle...well, you don't really ;) . You aid the Spanish Walk under saddle. It's done with your seat, a bit of leg early on...sometimes the hands early on, but it's very much like the School Walk in terms of aids. The horse should be collected...well engaged in the walk...and the Spanish Walk will happen without any additional cues if the horse has been taught to do it on the ground. If the horse isn't working in a collected frame, then they can still do the Spanish Walk, but you run the risk of them doing it with an inverted frame. You don't want that. The Spanish Walk should be slow, measured and silent. At least that's the goal. They all stomp a bit in the beginning, but it should be a slow and graceful movement, driven from the haunches of the horse and not just cued from the front.

The School Walk (or "pas d'école" ") is a very slow collected walk with a little flair to it. Some horses will lift the forelegs slightly with each step, others will do it with straight legs, extending the foreleg just a little with each step, like a mini Spanish Walk.

Here is a video that shows a form of School Walk. Right near the beginning, when the first rider (the chief rider?) enters the arena, his horse is doing a School Walk. With nothing more than a slightly held movement of the seat, the same movement takes on more amplitude and the horse is doing Spanish Walk.

http://romyromy1.multiply.com/video/item/92

Here's another (with slow motion!): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_K3LJAb40y4

You can also elicit the Spanish Walk through the reins, by slightly lifting and holding the rein on the same side as the leg that is extending (hope that makes sense). So you don't need to cue it...you can aid it. An important thing to remember is to try not to exaggerate your body movement to cause the horse to Spanish Walk. The aiding with the seat/legs or hands should only be a slight "holding" or hesitation in the seat that causes the horse to reach out further (or up higher).

So you go from an engaged collected walk, to School Walk to Spanish Walk. :f:

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 17, 2012 11:41 am 
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Unfortunately my post got lost during the crash of the forum last weekend and I haven't got a chance to see if there was any following discussion. So I post it again - in short version ;).

Regarding cues for Spanish Walk I prefer mimicry. It brings some challenges with it, namely having to do the Spanish Walk myself (I'm having a hard time keeping balance and cadence). But I believe that mimicry enables the horse better to find out the movement himself, resulting in a proud and round movement. Opposed to that I see Spanish Walks sometimes taught by targeting or touching the legs with the whip, which look more like a jerking, kicking movement.

Here's one recent video of Mucki and me practising: http://youtu.be/kicSX5UmsaU

I'm happy for any feedback. I'd especially like to know your opinion on whether it is too early for Mucki and me to start Spanish Walk. Is it better to wait do it via collected walk and School Walk? Any caveats I should look out for?

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 17, 2012 4:34 pm 
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Sorry about your post Volker :sad: But so glad to see a new one. :cheers:

Having taught Tam the Spanish Walk with the target, I can say that it doesn't make a jerky or stomping kind of walk. If the target is used in a elegant way, the steps are done in an elegant way. I hold the target (the pool noodle) up and as he steps I bring it out in front of him and pause, so each step is done as a reach and hold, reach and hold. You can do that same rhythm with mimicking too...so I think both methods can produce lovely SW.

I've seen horses stomp when a a whip is used to touch the legs to annoy the horse into doing it, but it can nevertheless become elegant over time...especially from the saddle when a rider can softly elicit the more drawn out and more silent step. :yes: It requires the horse be moving in balance, be calm of mind, enjoy what he/she is doing and have a hman aware of the connection (Under saddle or at liberty) that the horse takes his cues from.

I can see that with your long, graceful frame (sorry if that sounds girly :funny: ) Volker, that you could produce a very long and graceful step for your horse to mimic. You do have the frame of a dancer...even though I know you'll deny that you carry that trait. :kiss:

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 17, 2012 7:39 pm 
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Just a passing thought on the use of mimicry.

Have you attached a none "kicking," your legs out cue to the desired behavior from Mucki?

Separately: in watching horses that appear to be target trained, or whip motivated, to stride and reach the jerkiness may be because of poor technique in targeting, and in whip training doing hits rather than truly light touches.

In the latter instance, hitting the horse, the response evoked is one of irritation - chances are it will be jerky.

In targeting though the objective of smoothness is, I think, more likely attainable by keeping the increments ask for small. The lift and reach being asked for in just a few inches increase over time.

Speculating, not research. I taught only one horse Spanish walk many years ago and never put finish or her. She did stomp her foot down occasionally.

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 17, 2012 8:29 pm 
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I am also just speculating because I have never worked on the Spanish walk in any other way than mimicry, so my comments are purely based on the videos I have seen so far. But to me it seems that the difference is not necessarily that much about jerkiness and precision, but more a question of focus.

When targeting something with the frontlegs, the focus necessarily is on the front legs, perhaps even on the lower part of the frontlegs as I assume few people let their horses target with the leg area that is closest to the chest (a proper English word for this is very welcome ;)). On the other hand, when working with mimicry I find it way easier to let the movement come from the core of my body and therefore inspire the horse to do the same. I actually feel that the legs per se aren't the most important body part for Spanish walk mimicry.

From that perspective, I think you can get stomping and jerky steps as well when you use mimicry for Spanish walk. That seems to happen, again, when you focus only on the legs. This I actually know from practical experience because with the Spanish walk being one of my least favourite exercises, I often do it very carelessly and in that way get that weird jerky movement. If, however, I make an effort to move in a good way myself with the focus being on my body (and if on the legs at all, then only in that context), Titum can produce nice steps as well. :smile:


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 17, 2012 9:02 pm 
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:yes: :yes: I think you hit the nail on the head in a way. The SW is not just a front leg movement. The horse needs to learn to engage the core and the hind legs and balance back in order to free up the forelegs to move elegantly. :yes:

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 06, 2012 6:54 am 

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Is there a section before this that assists you with asking only to teach the horse to lift its leg and hold it... I am not even at that level, my horse can lift leg and bend eg for me to clean out hoove, or just to stand with it bent, but I do not know how to ask him to hold it forwards yet and want to be asking him in the correct fashion


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 06, 2012 8:17 am 
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Ok, what you seek is also called Jambette and there is also a thread for that of course ;): http://www.artofnaturaldressage.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=27&t=605
Hope the info there helps.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 18, 2013 9:10 am 
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Yesterday, I caught our current state of the Spanish Walk on video. 8)
In the first part, Mucki was still a bit unfocused, as the wind was blowing strong and he was all alone :pet:. But what I like about that part is exactly his way of doing the SW so unfocused. It gets a very casual quality and becomes almost just an accented walk. That's often what I seek as it brings out the roundness of the movement - I don't like the SW to look like a military goose-step, as it often can be seen.

In the second part, where he comes towards me, I exaggerated the cues a bit, which I thought necessary over the distance. There the leg lift is much more pronounced, but the back is hollow. Guess I will work a bit with backwards tendency again - or even do the SW backwards.
Still, the walk is intact, I think. That's good...

Have a look - feedback is very welcome of course:
Image
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GXqKVzgS2eo

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 18, 2013 10:14 am 
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Great! Cookies for Mucki for being so attentive and diligent, even at working at a distance. :clap: I wish, Pan would be interested in doing this with me.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 18, 2013 2:42 pm 
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I so love how you work at a distance. It's not something I've really done, at all. It's lovely! :f:

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 18, 2013 2:59 pm 
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Karen wrote:
I so love how you work at a distance. It's not something I've really done, at all. It's lovely! :f:
Thank you Karen! I like the distance especially when working on the SW. When I'm close to Mucki, he tends to walk into me, as it seems like he wants to touch my legs with his ;). Maybe some stallion behaviour originally? I don't know.
Also it's hard to judge to movement when I'm too close.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 18, 2013 5:10 pm 
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Joined: Thu Sep 12, 2013 9:51 am
Posts: 693
Location: Germany
I really like your videos. Nice work.
And he does it really good.
And Mucki is so with you... :f:
He looks a bit like Zermi in the video.


Last edited by Yogini on Wed Sep 18, 2013 5:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 22, 2013 3:18 pm 

Joined: Sat Dec 17, 2011 2:46 pm
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Location: Meadow Lake, Saskatchewan, Canada
oh Volker - that's beautiful! Love the softness. your horse is moving in a lovely smooth way. And when you watch the hind legs, they keep moving in a regular way, it is still a walk.

Unlike what I get :)
not sure if this is because of the way I trained it (whip cue, negative reinforcement) or the horse - very restricted through the shoulders - at the beginning, I couldn't physically lift his forearm very high at all, about half the range of the other horses. So overall I am happy with what Special and I have. But I will try to add some of the qualities of you and Mucky ;)

here's that short (bad) video of us doing the SW - I made excuses for it before, and I will do it again here :D
- I left the herd out in the field and they wandered off few miles away while we were working
- I was in my "push and achieve" stage - much too demanding
- I actually try to pull his head down during the first attempt at the SW... wrecks it for the rest of the session :blush: :sad:

This was the second session working on the SW under saddle - with our cue coming from my seat only (or trying to ;) )

(on another video -) There is something I haven't noticed before - Special moves his leg up and out to the side in those exaggerated steps. (by the way, the amplitude was always his idea, right from the start, maybe it's because I just got so much happier when he did a HUGE step? :) )
I wonder if that "sideways jerkiness" isn't where that shoulder restriction was coming from? I just hardly ever see his SW from the front... Maybe I will try doing some gentle manipulations of his forearms to see if the leg "has to" go up and out?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F0mBiTKwzgY


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 23, 2013 8:53 am 
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Thank you Dani and Zuzana! The best instances of our SW will never be on camera, because they happen in sudden moments of elation and pride. Like yesterday we did several wonderful ones on a 2 hour walk through the countryside. We were both just so happy that we are on the road again, the sun was shining - it was just a perfect autumn day! :sun:
So actually the best cue for it is happiness :D and so it happens that Mucki always makes me laugh when he does his Spanish Walk. It is after all an exercise that I would never demand of him. If it is not given freely, it simply does not work at all.

Zuzana wrote:
not sure if this is because of the way I trained it (whip cue, negative reinforcement) or the horse - very restricted through the shoulders - at the beginning, I couldn't physically lift his forearm very high at all, about half the range of the other horses.
Mucki tended to have problems lifting his left foreleg above a certain level. When he did, he sort of gave way in his right shoulder, so I started to keep the Jambette and SW low. Now, it's slowly getting better.
I think it's a combined issue of a weaker right shoulder and not putting the weight on the hindlegs enough. So he leaned heavily on the right shoulder, which is also a very bad position for balance.

When re-reading this thread today, I found out (again) that my idea about the SW is not really the Spanish Walk but the School Walk, like in this video that Karen posted previously:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_K3LJAb40y4

Having that image as a goal, Mucki developed a nice flowing, just a bit accented walk. From there, it was him that experimented with higher, more exalted leg lifts by himself. So basically I trained the School Walk with him - he's training the Spanish Walk by himself 8).

Zuzana wrote:
(by the way, the amplitude was always his idea, right from the start, maybe it's because I just got so much happier when he did a HUGE step? )
Mucki did that too in the beginning, as he was so eager, but I deliberately rewarded him for less. In the beginning just for a tiny bit of accented upwards tendency. I actually asked him to do it sloppy - as sloppy as necessary to keep the walk clean ;).

Zuzana wrote:
There is something I haven't noticed before - Special moves his leg up and out to the side in those exaggerated steps.
Maybe he's doing that for balance? How is the SW without a rider? A ridden SW must be a major balancing challenge for the horse, so I guess one can expect a lot of things - like the head position for example - to deteriorate during the first learning phase.

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The horse owes us nothing.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 23, 2013 9:07 am 
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I was examining the School Walk again and since it is said to be a slightly diagonalised gait, I took a close look at my last video of Mucki's SW again. Indeed, Mucki starts to diagonalise at the very end of the video. Now I have to think what that means :funny:. I guess it's just a normal consequence of delaying the forward reach of the frontlegs while the hindlegs try to keep to movement intact. What do you think? Is that something that could cause troubles later on?

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 23, 2013 3:46 pm 

Joined: Sat Dec 17, 2011 2:46 pm
Posts: 250
Location: Meadow Lake, Saskatchewan, Canada
Thank you for your thoughts Volker.
the sideways deviation is there without a rider too - in fact that is where I noticed it - at liberty, no whip, about 30 feet away from me - I lost that video :sad: , but will film again. I haven't seen it since, so maybe it was just temporary after over-doing something... but I bet it has lots to do with balance. Because we don't have balance in our SW. ;)

my thoughts on the diagonalization of (any) walk:
there is an endless continuum of footfall timing in any gait. When they did studies on this - some people even go as far as to say "there are no gaits"... the horse adjusts his feet according to his balance.

I don't think anything bad happens with changes. If you can train your way in, you can train your way out... The idea that the horse's gaits "must remain pure" (whatever that means) from beginning to end of training is silly, I think, and relatively new. And reflects the fact that today's trainers (not all, of course) are only "using" what the horse already has - and if they push too hard and change the gait, they are helpless to change it into something else.

I don't have a clear understanding of diagonalization and "advanced placement" type of patterns - yet ;) - but there is some thinking going on in my little brain - does the horse "catch himself" with his hind leg (changing the gait pattern by landing the hind hoof earlier)? And then does the hind foot leave the ground earlier too? I suspect that dropped hindquarters and hind legs staying under the horse (especially during retraction phase) change the footfall in any gait...

but I would say with confidence - no this will not cause you trouble later on!!! :D


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