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This time I'm doing a quick walk tutorial for you. This is to demonstrate how the rider should follow the movement of the walk within the connection, and how important it is for the rider to not sit still, but to actually go with the movement of the horse. Please do turn the volume up so you can hear my dulcet tones!

Please stay safe and look after yourselves. I hope you find this useful and inspirational, encouraging you to think about how you are riding your horses and giving you more focus.

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask. You can message me on either Facebook or Instagram @sarahwilliamsdressage


Video transcript

"So I've just come out Chloe and we are doing a free walk on a long rein, it’s not a loose rein, it’s a long rein. I'd like you just to look at what my arms are doing; they’re moving forward and back, forward, back, forward, back, forward, back, forward, back. So her shoulders are going left, right, left, right, left, right, left, right. And my hands are going forward and back with her shoulders, her neck is bobbing, so I'm not restricting her, but she's to the contact.

"So my arms are still going forward and back; Left, right, left shoulder, right shoulder, left shoulder, right shoulder. If you look at my hips, they’re going, back, back, back, back; my bum moves back. I'm exaggerating it, but as my bottom goes back, my hips go back, my arms go forward. So I'm opening her out.

"So as my arms go forward, my bottom and my hip goes back. So it’s back, forward, back, forward, back, forward, back, forward, at the same time. So in theory, I'm opening her back out within the swing of the walk.

"I'm going to try and do the same type of walk, but I’m going to lock down... so I’ve just locked down. I'm not moving. This is what a lot of people do when they try to collect their horse. It's natural, isn't it? So I'm having to now wriggle my legs to keep her going, she's lost her rhythm and she's got tight, and there's no swing.

"I’ll demonstrate that again. So I'm just going to stop swinging. I've not changed anything, I've just stopped swinging and stayed tight. So if I start swinging again... Still to the contact, still quite like the rhythm of the walk, and now she’s got a more normal walk.

"Now I’m just going to just collect her a little bit, but keep the swing. So my hips are still moving, I’ve still got some movement... I’m just going to shorten my reins a little bit... I’ve still some movement within my arms; forward, back, forward, back, forward, back. So I’ve just reduced the size of the walk, but without making her tight.

"Even in what we call... this is probably a medium walk, it’s not over collected... so even if I flex her, to the outside, my hips are still swinging, my arms are still moving. I’m still trying to exaggerate it a little bit so you can see it. So I flex her, but my elbows are still going forward, back, forward, back, forward, back. I’ve just reduced the amount, to create the collection. So reduce the swing, reduce the swing, reduce the swing, she comes back. Relax the swing, relax the swing, and she moves out a little bit. It’s very subtle. I call it clutch control.

"I've got my Jack Russells, I've got my Chihuahuas in the rein, so that's my clutch control. She’s nice to the contact, my arms are swinging, my hips are moving a little bit forward and back, not grinding just easy moving forward and back. So if I want to collect her I just relax my seat a little bit and just bend my elbows a little bit more, then I’ve got the collection, but I’m still moving with the horse. I know it’s a tiny bit of collection but I’m trying to show you, you don’t want to be sitting still. So if you’re told to sit still, actually you’ve got to learn to go with the movement of the horse, to make the illusion of you sitting still. So if I sit still, I’m now still, she’s gone all tight, I’m having to put lots of leg on, I feel like a cranky old woman. And now I loosen off a little bit but try to keep the collection. my hips swing, so there you go. Forward, back, forward, back. So if I shorten my reins, I’m careful not to drop the contact, I can then make the swing less, reduce the movement and she slows down a little bit, and hopefully I can create a bit more collection.

"I’m going to just let her stretch, free walk on a long rein, so she’s gone down the seat from the bridle, I’ve straightened my elbow more, I’ve let my shoulders soften, so she can go longer and reach for the bit. My hips are still swinging with the movement so she can stretch. So this was a free walk on a long rein, and this would be a loose rein.

"Thank you very much. Have a lovely day!"


Find out more about Sarah Williams and check out the rest of her helpful video tutorials, covering a range movements and transitions > View Sarah's profile here.

Sarah Williams
Horsemart Brand Ambassador
Published on 23-04-2020
Sarah is an international dressage rider who has her own yard, located at Yonder Farm in Kent. She has been a brand ambassador for Horsemart since November 2018. Sarah is a List 2 Judge, UKCC Level 3 Advanced Dressage Trainer, BHS AI and is a BD approved apprentice trainer. She is an extremely knowledgeable and passionate Grand Prix rider with International status.