Help with the lope/canter - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 11 Old 07-24-2009, 12:47 PM Thread Starter
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Help with the lope/canter

My mare can have a really nice slow relaxed jog carrying herself nicely but she is still not very broke at all at the canter/lope. Well she dont lope she canters sometimes faster than a normal canter almost like a hand gallop. Anyways, I have probably cantered her about 10 times total within the past month and she has gotten better but she is still really fast. What are some things I can work on with her to get her more relaxed and slow her down a bit?

She is still pretty sensitive to my legs which I'm workig on with her but its taking time.

She also gets hyper after we are done cantering and tries to do her prancing jog afterwards.

This is what I have been working on her while cantering:

So far all cantering has been done in large circles in the arean and maybe on the rail for a split second. I will canter her about 5 large circles then start working on stop, back, walk to canter again and do that several times. She jsut seems really stiff at first. As she starts to get tired she will drop her head and slow down a bit. but I have to use more rein then leg with her at this point.

Please help with some suggestions to get a nice easy canter and lope. We will be showing starting in Sept. I probably will not show her in w/j/l for now and just stick to w/j but i need to work on this :)

Thanks for the help
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post #2 of 11 Old 07-24-2009, 03:50 PM
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You won't like my idea but this is how I do it. My guys learn to lope only from a dead stop or walk, never a trot. I also drop from a lope to a walk and never allow trotting inbetween. This allows me to ask speed from a trot without fear of the horse breaking into a lope. I can also almost stall the lope without breaking into a trot.
I use distance, long distance. I pick the horizon, pick a lope and hold it. The horse quickly learns that he is not going for a short run but a long long one and he quickly learns to conserve himself.
5 circles in an arena is nothing and your girl is still strong when you ask her to drop the lope. My guys might lope 5 plus miles at a steady easy pace. They learn to pace themselves quickly. I do change leads every 1/2 to 1 mile to work both leads equally.
My old guy will lope 10 miles continually at a slow easy pace without undo stress, sweating or hard breathing.
Work her harder over longer distances.
I use roads, that is the only place I can find enough distance to really work the horse.
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post #3 of 11 Old 07-24-2009, 03:58 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks Rio for the suggestions. I guess I should of mentioned that I am not pushing her to go for long because she is still coming into shape (she was a pasture puff for 5 years and just started working a month ago again) so I'm doing a lot of jog/trot work with her to build her back up so she can go longer. Right now I probably canter her for about 10 mins...5 mins one way and 5 the other...and starting to slowly build it up. half the time I ask for her to canter from the walk and half from the trot just because she still isn't able to use herself correctly from being fat so its harder for her to do some things. After working her about 10-15 mins at the canter she is broke out into a full sweat and breathing heavily so i just let her stand for 3-4 mins to relax then will walk off to cool her down. When she knows we are done she doesn't have the hype but when i am working her in between transitions shes fast and more hyped up and anticipates. I know its more met han her..i'm no horse trainer but am working with a trainer kind of. I think once she gets in good shape i can get her going longer
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post #4 of 11 Old 07-24-2009, 07:00 PM
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One thing you might try is making the circles smaller when she starts to speed up. Keep making them smaller until she is going the speed you like and then slowly expand them to the original size. She is probably sluggish to your legs at the lope because it is just a whole different feel from the trot. Just keep working with her and when she is sluggish to a leg cue, reinforce it with a rein and seat cue. Start quiet and get louder until she responds. One thing that I have found when I ride young horses is I let them lope until they are kinda tired and they try to stop, then I urge them to keep loping for another quarter mile or so and most my horses have a nice flat, steady lope. IMHO, horses learn more when they have had the air sucked out of them.
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post #5 of 11 Old 07-26-2009, 09:47 AM
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It's time to start cantering more. She needs to develop strength and balance and she won't be able to do that in just 5 circles around the arena.

I would suggest doing about 20 minutes of canter work, then a break to walk/jog/trot work, and then another 10 minutes of cantering.

Instead of just cantering circles, you'll need to mix it up. Canter a circle, then stop (and make it a good stop), do a rollback to the outside, then lope off to the other direction. You can do a stop-back-rollback, lope two circles - or a half a circle, stop-back-lope off to keep the horse thinking. When your horse gets to the point of staying slow & relaxed, you can continue loping for a longer period of time - or expand your circle to the rail or a straightaway. But as soon as you feel the horse speed up, you have to change what you are doing. Throw in a stop & back, then try loping off again.

It all takes time and lots of loping.

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post #6 of 11 Old 07-26-2009, 11:06 AM
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My baby is learning to... Gosh the lope is hard, it's like that golden grail man, you get the lope and you are... Indiana Jones! LOL...

The above suggestions are great....Here's my suggestions:

Small circles are your friend (they will help her to gain balance and slow down)... But here is what I do, I go from the walk or the halt. In the beginning I would halt, back and go straight into the lope for about 5 strides and then halt or walk. You want to ask for it from the back in the beginning because she'll be underneath herself and will start out on the rear rather then the forehand, she'll get strung out pretty quick though. Do about 5 strides and halt, do a roll back and do the other lead, halt, back and do lope off... do a rollback straight into the lope and halt. It doesnt sound like you are ready to do circles yet, but when you do, keep them small. Right now you want to get her to anticipate the stop which will actually slow her down... but you need to be careful to keep her on the rear rather then on the forehand...

Not sure if that made sence or not... hope it did...

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post #7 of 11 Old 07-27-2009, 06:50 AM
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All of this is so useful. My gelding goes to a walk when we circle. We have a weight issue too. It doesn't take him long to get sweaty. I also fin that a gradual hill will also slow his gallop to a nice lope. So that would tell me that work and being a little tired will slow the canter to a nice lope. After he is a little tired or on a lazy day, he has a beautiful rocking lope that I could sit to all day. Great suggestions.
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post #8 of 11 Old 07-27-2009, 08:08 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you everyone for the great suggestions I will work on all of this with her! Fri when I rode her she was actually a lot better at the canter then previously so i think she is starting to catch on. I will work on mroe rollbacks (which I was already doing with her) and stop and backs then canter again..I know it will take time just wanted to make sure I was going about it the right way!

She is still very sensitive to my legs and I'm working on that as well.
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post #9 of 11 Old 08-10-2009, 12:37 PM
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not 100% sure if other people have said this, but i know some horses/ponies just like her from what you've said. try making the circles small.. by that i mean like 10/15metre circles.. and keep doing that size until she slows down and calms herself.. then slowly make the circles bigger. but if she starts to speed up at all, make the circles smaller again.. keep doing that for a while, and see how she goes :) also try some poles on the floor and canter over them, it might make her slow herself up a bit so she can concentrate in getting her footing right :) also try lunging her if you can, that might help in canter, as she might be able to slow herself down a bit.. only suggestions though.

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post #10 of 11 Old 08-10-2009, 03:11 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the suggestions! i am coming into more training problems for some reason? she is starting to get more hot then when i first started working her and i'm guessing its because she lost a lot of weight and feels better. now she is starting to not walk slowly after we jog. I have been working on trot, haults, backs. walk, trot tranisistions but she is just not wanting to walk! It has been quite a fight the past couple of rides with her to get her to walk she doesn't want to! she never gave me these problems before! i am also scared to work her really hard because of her weight and she starts breathing heavily if doing something for to long without taking a break but i have a hard time cooling her down after the ride because she doesn't want to walk LOL ugh silly horse! I got a lesson tonight so hopefully the trainer can help with this!
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