Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: An hour north of Dallas, Texas in Texas Horse Country!
• Horses: 0
Just be sure, first off, that his teeth are okay (so he can chew up his food adequately to get all of the available calories out of it), and that he's free of worms (are you rotating wormers?), and then be sure that he's getting plenty of food and working out. We do a lot of long trotting of our horses in a sandy arena to get them fit. The trot is great exercise, especially if the footing makes them work hard (imagine how much harder it is to run on the beach sand!).
That's about all you can do on the fitness issue.
And on the lope issue, it's been my experience that a horse either has a pleasure-style lope naturally or he doesn't. You can train and push to develop whatever lope he has, to the best of his abilities, but it involves a lot of work that the other natural lopers won't have to endure. That may end up making your horse not too happy about having to work so hard to lope slow.
I'm a big believer in letting a horse do the events he's created for (and loves). Then you can just enhance his natural abilities and he'll likely do much better (and be much happier).
Hope that helps!
A North Texas Herd of Registered Texas Longhorns and FAR too many AQHA Western Pleasure and Reining Horses ...