Spotting the correct walk

I am going to write more on the walk presently, and give some figures in walk,  but I was asked a question today about walk and I though I’d answer it here.

Walk is often neglected as a gait in the selection of a horse, which is understandable.  (It’s a little dull really.  The under-dog gait of the dressage horse.)

But if you want to compete, as a good part of your scores in the end will depend on your walk, and the walk is one of the very hardest to influence, it makes sense to put weight on it when you are looking at a horse.

The walk should of course be four beat, no period of suspension, and presently we will latch onto some tapes for you to illustrate this.

One of the easiest ways to visualize walk is looking at the inside hind coming up to “overtake” the just left front foot.  The hind steps, near, into, in front of, or behind the track, of the front.  ALL of these are okay as it depends on which walk you are doing how the feet will land.  (Collected is different than free walk, for instance.)

But, below in the third line, what you will see in a good walk is a   –V–  shape as the hind foot very nearly collides with the front, the two legs near you very briefly looking like that –V–.

Eadweard+Muybridge+-+Horses+and+Other+Animals+in+Motion

(Thanks to Realistic Animation 4)

More on this later, but when a horse develops a “lateral walk”  that is  –I I– shape of landing legs  instead of –V– shape  (again in the third line down), it is very often the case that the front leg has left the ground too early. Correction may involve not asking for a longer and longer gait, but instead keeping the front foot down for a fraction of a second longer will be helpful.  Ask the horse “not to hurry” in front, rather than asking “to hurry more” behind.

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