My favorite place to be with my horse is the round pen.
So with the new information I had from the clinic, I was anxious to work on a signal for a walk.
There are a million instructional videos on how to round pen. I even did a video of a round pen session with Canyon here:
I think there's one brief spot where he actually walks, but other than that, it's all trot and canter.
Signaling for a walk is more complicated than I thought. Too much arm or wrong shoulder and you get a turn. A trot seems to be a place of zoning out for a horse. Like Kathleen said, a horse can trot forever. Control at the walk also means keeping your horse's focus when it is readily distracted. At a walk I found it harder to keep Cibolo's attention.
I began to wonder if "mastering the walk" meant having a connection to your horse when its easiest for the horse to be distracted. At the walk, the horse's mind can much more easily wander. So can yours. The horse has to choose to listen, concentrate harder to focus. It's harder for you too.
It's like when you are working on something tedious, like cross stitch, and you have to discipline yourself to count and take care of each stitch. You can't make big leaps, you have to simply count, and do the simple thing right. Not just right, perfect. So you can't tell the back from the front, done so well there's not a single knot in the entire piece.
Slowly we found the line of energy together, that invisible connection I feel in the round pen with my horse, at the walk and it grew stronger and stronger. Three times around at the walk and then an inside turn. Three times around the other way.
The next challenge was coming back down into the walk from a trot. Again it was difficult to get the signal just right, to find the perfect connection. But in time we had it. The downward transition.
Then, things got freaky. I decided to try to see how subtle I could get. And by the end Cibolo was responding to changes in my energy, tiny changes in my posture.
And together, we found it.