Illinois 8 year old Tennessee Walker 90 days professional training ridden in  Halter bridle - 6'' low port walking horse bit and ortho flex saddle in indoor arena, round pen, trails by advanced rider.

Question: I love the intermediate gaits and flat walk on my horse, but find the dog walk to be camel like. The horse is shod with non weighted shoes and is shod at her natural 
angles. ( 56 front and 55 rear ) My horse does a smooth four beat stepping pace that overstrides 1-2 feet when gaiting and is light on the bit.

When we ride for 4-5 hours we dog walk on a loose rein for about an hour to give the horses a break. Is there anything I can do to minimize the front to back motion at the dog walk? I trail ride this horse 10-12 hours per week and she is fit and in condition for the
riding we do.


From Panelist Stella

Sounds like she may be getting her head way too low, considering her flat walk is good. With just a slight bump and release(off one rein generally works best), try to encourage a slightly more elevated head/neck position, which should be more comfortable for you. You will need to train this as a new habit with repetition, giving the release and maintaining it for as long as she willingly keeps her head in the position that gives you comfort, so she is not that totally strung out. In all of its many forms, the walk is a resting gait, and when you are able to maintain a loose rein, a most relaxing one...but it should be for both of you. Horses can have an amazing reportoire of the walk, but it still the choice of the rider which to use 
and develop more, even for a relaxed rest. (let the one that's too loose stay with her only in the pasture!)


From Panelist Liz

Hi Mary,
This is very common on some of our walking horses and some people just love it. Also for some it feels like your riding a ship.

I have found to reduce this try collecting the head just a bit at the dog walk, not as much as you would for the flat walk.  Try a little bit at a time to find how much collection it will take before going to the flat walk . Then take the time to teach the horse how to carry
himself in the right frame to eliminate that rocking dog walk.

I would also like to add that I recently just had a horse in that this stopped when we changed the saddle which seemed to be causing some pressure to the back when he went in a dog walk with his head down and relaxed. I might try this too,  but it was the first time I have found a saddle to be causing this.


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