Excerpt from the August issue of Heels Down Magazine.
Riders often focus on riding the trot and canter, leaving the walk overlooked. At each stage of training, this gait is important. Riders can use the walk to explain new ideas to the horse, develop suppleness and improve weaknesses for horse or rider.
The walk is a four-beat gait with eight phases that should exhibit overstep, looseness, and a slight nodding of the head. It is always important that the rider allows the horse enough freedom in the walk with a following elbow and hand so that he does not feel trapped. This is critical to prevent the horse from walking laterally.
Make sure to practice walking on a long rein. This is so important to promote looseness and range of motion in your horse.