1. The walk is a marching pace in which the footfalls of the horse's feet follow one another in "four time", well marked and maintained in all work at the walk.
2. When the foreleg and the hind leg on the same side move
almost on the same beat the walk tends to become an almost lateral movement. This irregularity, which might become an ambling movement, is a serious deterioration of the gait.
3. It is at the pace of walk that the imperfections of
Dressage are most evident. This is also the reason why a horse should not be asked to walk on the bit at the early stages of his training. A too precipitated collection will not only spoil the collected walk but the medium and the extended walk as well.
4. The following walks are recognised: collected walk, medium walk, extended walk and free walk.
( n.b. classical dressage the school walk is also recognised.)
4.1 Collected walk. The horse, remaining "on the bit", moves
resolutely forward, with his neck raised and arched, and showing clear self carriage. The head approaches the vertical position, the light contact with the mouth being maintained. The hind legs are engaged with good hock action. The pace should remain marching and vigourous, the feet being placed in regular sequence. Each step covers less ground and is higher than at the medium walk, because all the joints bend more markedly. In order not to become hurried or irregular the collected walk is shorter than the medium walk, although showing greater activity.
4.2 Medium walk. A clear, regular and unconstrained walk of moderate lengthening. The
horse, remaining on the bit, walks energetically but calmly with even and determined steps, the hind
feet touching the ground in front of the footprints of the forefeet. The rider maintains a light, soft and steady contact with the mouth.
4.3 Extended Walk. The horse covers as much ground as possible without haste and
without losing the regularity of his
steps, the hind feet touching the ground clearly in front of the footprints of the forefeet. The rider allows the horse to stretch out his head and neck without, however, losing contact with the mouth.
4.4 Free Walk. The free walk is a pace of relaxation in which the horse is allowed complete freedom to lower and stretch out his head and neck.