Author Topic: Spanish Walk  (Read 9439 times)

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cptrayes

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Spanish Walk
« on: December 06, 2003, 09:10:00 PM »
Can anyone tell me how to train a horse to do Spanish walk? I have a five year old with "tight" shoulders who I think would benefit (I gather that's what the original purpose of the exercise was, to loosen the shoulder) and a 7 year old with lovely loose shoulders who I would like to teach it purely as a fun "party trick" which I think he would really enjoy showing off with (to go with his natural piaffe). I can't find it in any books. Also, are there drawbacks to teaching them it?

Thanks anyone with any info.

Caroline.

 

Offline chapsi

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Spanish Walk
« Reply #1 on: December 07, 2003, 12:46:15 AM »
I am afraid I wonīt be of much help.
However, we (me and my instructor) are in the process of teaching my horse spanish walk. So far, we are at an early stage. We work in 2's, me from the saddle and Gina from the ground.
So far, we just manage to get him to lift his feet, although he doesnīt stretch them yet.
He stands still, I encourage him with voice as an aid, while Gina, at the same time touches/taps him with a stick at the back of his front leg until he lifts. Occasionally she might lift his leg and stretches it forward. When he does it nicely, next steps wpuld be to get him to stretch his legs forward and to start doing it walking. In the meantime, heīll need to associate this with the aids given by his rider.

Another thing, right now we donīt do it regularly (i.e. every day), and keep sessions short (no more than 5 minutes at a time).
Heatherīs horse Fanta does it beautifully. She would be the right person to give you a few tips.
Mafra, Portugal


Offline Heather

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Spanish Walk
« Reply #2 on: December 07, 2003, 10:08:50 AM »

Hi Caroline,

Gina is starrting Pegaso off just as I would. Gradually as the horse cottons on that you want him to lift and stretch the leg when you tap him lightly with the whip, you have someone on his back and someone on the ground. As you tap, the horse lifts his leg and the rider sends him forward- he must learn to go forward as soon as possible. Only work on one leg at a time- he will lift one leg, take a step forward lift it again etc, etc. then do the other side. Gradually, the horse can be taught to lift one after the other, by the rider tapping lightly on the shoulder with a stick on one side and the ground helper the other, with the rider sending forward. Some horses pick it up very quickly- others take longer.

Only ever do SW with a horse with a strong back- a weak dippy back could be damaged by it, and be warned, some horses, including my Fanta like doing it rather a lot!! Fanta would not be averse to livening up the proceedings in a dressage test, I am certain, by executing a very nice, but totally unasked for SW up the centre line to impress the judge and any audience, but getting us both eliminated at the same time!!

Heather

Offline Tiga

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Spanish Walk
« Reply #3 on: December 07, 2003, 11:05:58 AM »
Richard Heinrichs book and video schooling horses in hand available at Amazon is one of the best presentations of teaching in hand work including Spanish Walk that I have seen.

One word of warning though....as Heather has eluded to, once taught they do like to do it prompted or not.....so watch your kneecaps!!!  :unsure:  

Offline Heather

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« Reply #4 on: December 07, 2003, 10:01:35 PM »

Couldnt agree more, Jan re the Hinrichs book and video. It is such superb work throughout, not just the SW, and I couldnt recommend both book and video more highly. I hope to go and see him work at some point- he is near Hanover.

Heather

cptrayes

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Spanish Walk
« Reply #5 on: December 07, 2003, 10:03:48 PM »
Well what a puzzle I've got now.  ;) I really would like to teach my boys Spanish walk. But one of them, if he is at all confused, will run through his entire repertoire until he finds the "trick" I want :rolleyes: , and he's not above doing it just for the amusement factor either :P . He would almost certainly offer me Spanish walk if I wanted extended walk in the middle of a dressage test, when we reach the level of tests with extended walk in.

So.......do the advantages of teaching them it (which for me would include the sheer enjoyment of seeing them do it and knowing that I taught them) outweight the risks, or not? Those of you who are teaching/have taught it, obviously thought it was worthwhile. Can you share with me why, and help me come to a decision?

Caroline.  

Offline Tiga

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Spanish Walk
« Reply #6 on: December 07, 2003, 11:40:12 PM »
1)...because it is such good fun :D
2)...because it is a good shoulder loosener
3)...because you can then go on and teach Spanish Trot which is even cooler
4)...because it adds a distinct flourish to your lap of honour!!! B)
5)...because the aids for it are very different from extended walk and if your   horse offers you S/W when you are asking for E/W he really IS taking the pi** :angry:  

cptrayes

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Spanish Walk
« Reply #7 on: December 10, 2003, 09:00:09 PM »
I've never even heard of Spanish trot! I assume it is the same action as the walk, done at the trot. Crikey, that must be worth seeing! I can't recall the Spanish Riding School doing Spanish Walk when they performed in Manchester. Am I wrong, or does anyone know why it's not in their repertoire?

C.
« Last Edit: December 10, 2003, 09:07:35 PM by cptrayes »

cptrayes

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Spanish Walk
« Reply #8 on: December 10, 2003, 09:04:10 PM »
Well I've started! I've asked him twice so far to raise his shoulder and step out with the foot and bless him he is trying to guess what I want and is a quarter of the way there already, without even having anyone on the ground to help me! I have to say that the horse, Tetley, is the loveliest horse I have owned :)  :rolleyes:  :) , out of many - he will really try to work out what you may want, and offer whatever he feels he can do that will best meet what he thinks you need. So then you can reward him for going a tiny bit in the direction you want, and he will do more of it next time. Is he worth his weight in gold or what?

In contrast, I am asking my 5 year old for just the beginning of piaffe and I am being offered a spectacular capriole!

More news as we progress.

Caroline.

 
« Last Edit: December 10, 2003, 09:05:40 PM by cptrayes »

virtuallyhorses

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Spanish Walk
« Reply #9 on: December 14, 2003, 06:07:22 AM »
Quote
...I can't recall the Spanish Riding School doing Spanish Walk when they performed in Manchester. Am I wrong, or does anyone know why it's not in their repertoire?

C.
Do you mean the Spanish Riding School from Vienna ? No, SW is not classical and so they don't do it at all.  They rather look down on it as a trick - like backward canter or canter on 3 legs etc  

cptrayes

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Spanish Walk
« Reply #10 on: December 14, 2003, 04:08:51 PM »
Mmmm, thought they didn't. I don't mind the idea of it being a trick. I always describe Tetley's piaffe and half pass as "tricks" and he loves showing off, so I'm going to carry on and teach it to him. So far, it has been incredibly easy to suggest that he raise his shoulder and point his leg out. I think I've got about 10 to 20% of the movement already (waiting for the other half to video it so that I can see it). I reckon within six months we will have the full thing, and it will be a bit of fun. It gets so boring in the winter riding round and round in circles in my little barn, so anything new keeps us both amused B) .

C.  

Offline Becky holden

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Spanish Walk
« Reply #11 on: December 18, 2003, 06:07:56 PM »
Hi Caroline

Im new to the list and may be able to help. Im no expert in teaching tricks or high school, but the clicker method helped me train the spanish walk to perfection with a lipizzaner stallion. As this method breaks up the end result in to as many stages as possible, the first stage would simply be picking up each leg on que, second would be keeping the leg off the ground then holding the leg out horizontally from the shoulder and finally moving forwards. The click marks correct responses so precisely the horse quickly understands what we are trying to say. Once i was at the stage to ask the horse to move forwards under saddle i would temporary relax old standards. for example if the horse could "salute" with each leg for a few seconds i wouldn't expect the same height or length of time off the ground when i have added another criteria ie moving forward, eventually all the stages stream line together. It takes alot of balance for the horse to perfect this movement, as the walk is 4 beat movement the spanish walk almost creates a 2 beat movement to enable the horse to time the shoulder movements, the hind legs are off the floor quicker than a normal walking action. This is very brief, hope it makes sense! ;)  Like i said im no expert but find the clicker makes horses understand what im trying to say rather than guessing!

Becky :)
 

Offline sandpiper

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Spanish Walk
« Reply #12 on: December 18, 2003, 08:07:10 PM »
I would also love to teach the Spanish Walk to my Morgan.  He is generally very quick to pick things up, for instance he will pick each leg up on command.  I find with the front legs, he bends the knee and holds his hoof underneath.  

I have been tapping the top of his leg with a whip and then holding the whip a bit higher so he has to lift his knee upwards to touch it which he has done on occasion(one leg better than the other!) but how do you get them to stretch the leg forwards - do you physically hold it, then click and treat?
 
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Offline Becky holden

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Spanish Walk
« Reply #13 on: December 18, 2003, 11:21:41 PM »
Have you got to this stage without the clicker? If so i would click treat the stage you're at a few time then select variable reinforcement to shape what you've already got. Once the horse has got the idea about clicker training it will realize that a with held click dosen't mean they're wrong just to keep trying, because the click has reinforced the knee high off the floor but still bent when you deny the click for this response the horse will try to make you click by putting more energy into the action, very often with a extended leg action to make you notice, if this is'nt the case there are many ways to get the leg to come forward its a case of finding out what suits the horse. Try to walk the horse forwards after each time you ask for the leg action, tap the knee when raised off the floor or the front of the shoulder, if your horse loads into a trailer you could que the leg before the horse places his foot on the ramp. This is the only difficult aspect of clicker training is thinking of ways to shape inital responses and just because one works with one horse dosen't mean it will work with them all. If you choose to have a go with this method remember to click and treat every slight stage in the right direction, you will be clicking quiet alot at first.
Its alot easier to do than write about hope this helps.

Becky

cptrayes

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Spanish Walk
« Reply #14 on: December 20, 2003, 09:47:03 PM »
Thanks Becky, your comments are very interesting and I think would work really well with my horse. That's because he will always try to guess what you want, and keep offering different things until he hits on the one you want. So it's extremely easy to "catch" him moving things slightly in the direction you want, and reward it. Can you tell me what you reward with, presumably the click only marks that they are about to get a titbit for their efforts? Are there risks of turning him into a horse that nudges and frets for nibbles??

I'm very interested to read that Spanish walk almost creates a 2 time feeling, because that's exactly what has happened and I wanted to make sure it was right. My horse has already guessed, just from my seat and hands that I want him to bring his shoulder right up and flick the leg out before he puts it down. He's not doing it very far yet, but he certainly is doing it. He's so sweet!

You might be interested in what's happened Heather. You stressed the importance of getting them moving  forward as quickly as possible after they understand the leg lift. I decided to give it a go without waiting for someone on the ground to be able to help me, so I started it from walk and kept it going forward. Obviously  he doesn't yet stretch the leg out much from the shoulder, but I am convinced he has understood my aid to walk slowly forward with an exaggerated shoulder lift and toe point. I've done it four times now, just a couple of minutes at a time, and I have got a longer suspension and a more exaggerated shoulder lift and point each time. I'm pretty sure if I carry on, he will produce a full Spanish walk, possibly without ever being taught it from the floor. And obviously, teaching him to go forward will not be an issue, as he's learning it while already moving forward. He learnt piaffe the same way, from guessing what I wanted while I was on his back, and this is going very much in the same direction. It's such  fun - brightens a dull winter day no end!

C.
« Last Edit: December 20, 2003, 09:58:14 PM by cptrayes »