Many, many years ago, back when I fancied myself a potential show horse trainer, I worked for a crotchety old man. My job was starting all of the young horses that came to the barn and training his WP prospects.
Boy, looking back, I really thought I knew something about training horses. Starting colts was easy. I had been doing that since I was barely in my teens. I had advanced a lot over the years. But I was eager to learn the magic training tricks that produced a finished WP horse. I just knew there had to be a secret to it.
So I rode and rode and watched and watched this old man. Hoping to gleen some of that magic for myself. I finally had to break down and ask him, "What's the trick to finishing a WP horse?"
That old man looked at me like I was crazy.
Tipping his chin down, he looked at me very sternly and replied, "There are NO tricks to finishing a horse. It's just more of the same until they are finished."
Needless to say, I had no idea what he was saying.
He started to walk out of the barn, but turned around and added, "But I'll tell you one thing...You need to walk your horses more."
Hearing that sounded just like my mom and step-dad.
It's not like I was allowed to spend my life charging around on my horses. I walked them.
Just not very successfully, apparently.
When I was even younger than when I was working at this barn, I used to hate riding with my mom. She could get on any horse and they just magically walked out. They also walked home very nicely.
Dance, dance, jig, jig.
I blamed it on the horse.
Mom proved me wrong by switching horses with me several times.
My dancing, jigging fool would soon, if not immediately drop into a nice, long-strided walk.
The horse she had been riding?
A dancing, jigging fool under me.
To this day, I have never figured out exactly what I did that caused that particular phenomina. The only thing I can figure is that my brain was telling my body that it didn't particularly care for this slow gait and the horse's picked up on the vibe.
After having my bubble burst by a trainer I thought knew quite a bit, I did spend more time walking my horses. Not that I spent any actual training time at it at first. But eventually I did start doing more.
Fast-forward in time and I have come to use 'the walk' as the valuable conditioning and training tool it is.
Classical dressage riders have known this for how many eons? LOL
To be continued...