Help with loping circles - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 12 Old 09-22-2012, 02:49 AM Thread Starter
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Help with loping circles

Hi,
So for the past month Ive been working on picking up and keeping the correct lead with my gelding, he's always seemed to pick them up better on the straight away than on a circle. For the past two weeks Ive been working on circles (all the gaits) at the walk and trot he's great, I can do big or small fast or slow and I throw in some figure eights as well. He keeps a nice bend and we aren't fighting and he keeps a nice even pace. When it comes to loping a circle thats when a crack in the earth appears and the devil comes up for a visit. He'll start off perfect, nice bend, smooth lope, correct lead, ect. If he starts to speed up I just gently pick up on the reins to where there is a touch of contact and he slows back down to the nice smooth lope.

Then like mid circle, right as we're passing the horse trailer he starts loping sideways, nearly runs into the horse trailer, and does a nice sliding stop where his halter is tied to the side of it. So I made him yield his hindquarters and tried again, starting at trotting circles then loping. Then he passed the trailer perfectly, did a flying lead change then did a circle and headed towards my house. I did a one-rein stop, repeated last process.

It just seems like there is always some place he wants to be, and by golly he's gonna get there! If I lunge him, he's perfect (we already went through not dragging mommy around to where he wants to go) but it seems I just cant figure out how to fix this undersaddle. We go through this everyday. He knows he can get away with it.

Ive found if I make him lope faster then he wont pull it, he wont even do a flying lead change, but then I have a nearly galloping horse (he takes it to the next level) and if I try and ask him to slow down after that spot then he starts going sideways to a new spot or breaks down all together. And so far the speeding up trick hasn't helped the next day.

Ive thought of two other tricks, after that Im lost.

1) As soon as he starts drifting firmly (yet not really hard) pop him on the butt with the crop. He knows this as 'stop fooling around, listen to me, and get back to work'

2) As soon as I feel him start drifting do a one-rein stop, have him stand, then try again (a trainer's trick)

Those are the only things I can think of to try,

Any help would be great,
ThePaintGirl.

P.S. Im writing this late at night so I may not have worded something the best or used the best word to describe something. Please keep this in mind when reading and replying, thanks.

P.S.S. Not sure if it matters but, all his tack has been pro checked and fitted, he has had vet and chiro check ups. I ride him with a full-cheek snaffle, and i ride him with those short nub english spurs (because im short and its impossible to get my heels to touch him, they are used to extend my heel so I can actually touch him with my heel when it comes to yielding the hindquarters or when he ignores my leg-recommended by an experienced rider)

Never forgot the horse that taught you to be fearless (Braveheart RIP) the horse that taught you to stay strong no matter how bumpy the road is (Caesar) and the horse that always had to test gravity by throwing you in the air (Cali)
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post #2 of 12 Old 09-22-2012, 03:00 AM
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Work his BUTT off wherever he wants to be.

Figure eight aggressively next to the trailer, lope circles right next to the trailer, make him work and sweat there.

Then, when you feel he's significantly tired, turn him away from the trailer and walk about twenty feet away, stop, pet him, let him catch his air, and then go about your workout again. He tries to drift? Go right back and get after him again. Make that trailer his work place and the other area his "rest" place.

Think about it, would YOU want to go away from the trailer if that's where you got worked? If you got fed and loved on and got to stop working at the trailer, wouldn't you want to go there too? :)
Muppetgirl likes this.

Pssh.I didn't pick up the wrong lead
It's called a counter canter...
...A very advanced maneuver.
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post #3 of 12 Old 09-22-2012, 03:09 AM
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Yes, I agree with the above idea. I would be sure to let him have some rest away from the trailer before you back to your routine. Don't make it a scary punishment, though. Just make it more work near the trailer, then ask him to move away from it. If he does, go out a ways and let him stand and rest. If he chooses, CHOOSES to go back to the trailer, let him. just go there and start working, la dee dah.
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post #4 of 12 Old 09-22-2012, 03:18 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SorrelHorse View Post
Work his BUTT off wherever he wants to be.

Figure eight aggressively next to the trailer, lope circles right next to the trailer, make him work and sweat there.

Then, when you feel he's significantly tired, turn him away from the trailer and walk about twenty feet away, stop, pet him, let him catch his air, and then go about your workout again. He tries to drift? Go right back and get after him again. Make that trailer his work place and the other area his "rest" place.

Think about it, would YOU want to go away from the trailer if that's where you got worked? If you got fed and loved on and got to stop working at the trailer, wouldn't you want to go there too? :)
I can try it, dont know how well because theres not too much room and I dont know if I can move it. It goes round pen, trailer, barn.
Looks kinda like O| |_| Little room is the only reason I haven't tried the tiring out things before, theres only room for like moving hindquarters (which is why when he would go there I would aggressively make him move his hindquarters)

I can find out in the morning if I can move the trailer where I can work his butt off when he pulls it


Also, what could I do when he goes off somewhere else? Sometimes he isn't going off to an object (trailer, house, other horses) he's just going. . . off

Never forgot the horse that taught you to be fearless (Braveheart RIP) the horse that taught you to stay strong no matter how bumpy the road is (Caesar) and the horse that always had to test gravity by throwing you in the air (Cali)

Last edited by ThePaintGirl; 09-22-2012 at 03:20 AM.
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post #5 of 12 Old 09-22-2012, 03:39 AM
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you mean, like suddenly leaving the circle and drifting out through his shoulders?
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post #6 of 12 Old 09-22-2012, 03:57 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by tinyliny View Post
you mean, like suddenly leaving the circle and drifting out through his shoulders?

YES! if Im loping a circle on his left lead, he'll start to bulge his shoulder and drift to the right. he loses all power from behind and its like his shoulders are dragging him out of the circle. He's not headed to any object, just out of the circle towards another area of the pasture.

'nother question: if he's loseing the power from behind and his shoulders are dragging him out, is that why asking him to go faster works? Its making him use his hindquarters again and not letting his shoulders drag him out?

Never forgot the horse that taught you to be fearless (Braveheart RIP) the horse that taught you to stay strong no matter how bumpy the road is (Caesar) and the horse that always had to test gravity by throwing you in the air (Cali)
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post #7 of 12 Old 09-22-2012, 11:45 AM
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I wonder if he's getting bored and soured on all the circles you've been doing for awhile. Maybe try to break up his routine with a nice relaxing hack down the road or something. I also agree that you need to teach him that running to the trailer only results in more movement.
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post #8 of 12 Old 09-22-2012, 10:30 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Boo Walker View Post
I wonder if he's getting bored and soured on all the circles you've been doing for awhile. Maybe try to break up his routine with a nice relaxing hack down the road or something. I also agree that you need to teach him that running to the trailer only results in more movement.

I took him on a trail ride down the road a few days ago, he didn't get ridden today, and tomorrow its drill and cavelry practice so not very many circles. I guess Ill see how he does Monday when we go back to circles.

I also talked to my dad and I can move the trailer to a better spot where there will be more room to make him work there

Never forgot the horse that taught you to be fearless (Braveheart RIP) the horse that taught you to stay strong no matter how bumpy the road is (Caesar) and the horse that always had to test gravity by throwing you in the air (Cali)
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post #9 of 12 Old 09-22-2012, 10:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ThePaintGirl View Post
YES! if Im loping a circle on his left lead, he'll start to bulge his shoulder and drift to the right. he loses all power from behind and its like his shoulders are dragging him out of the circle. He's not headed to any object, just out of the circle towards another area of the pasture.

'nother question: if he's loseing the power from behind and his shoulders are dragging him out, is that why asking him to go faster works? Its making him use his hindquarters again and not letting his shoulders drag him out?
When he starts drifting, PICK HIM UP with your hands and keep your heels on him to keep that forward momentum and round him up, lift his shoulders and take control of them really round him up and PUT him back in the circle.
After you do this a few times, he will figure it out. He's racing because he's getting long and low, and it sounds like you may have him a little too bent/arced in the circles which is forcing his shoulders to drift out.

One thing that I learnt, and it's really hard, is keeping a horse straight from head to tail and keeping him on a circle with your hands low and relaxed on either side of the pommel.
Focus on keeping him straight and you might find he won't do this. But fix his current issue first by picking him up, after he figures out what you want then practice being straight..(I ride western/reining)

Also, if he's balking on you, spank him. Infact sometimes it's even better to set him up for it just so you can correct it, don't move your trailer yet!

Goodluck
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post #10 of 12 Old 09-24-2012, 01:27 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Muppetgirl View Post
When he starts drifting, PICK HIM UP with your hands and keep your heels on him to keep that forward momentum and round him up, lift his shoulders and take control of them really round him up and PUT him back in the circle.
After you do this a few times, he will figure it out. He's racing because he's getting long and low, and it sounds like you may have him a little too bent/arced in the circles which is forcing his shoulders to drift out.

One thing that I learnt, and it's really hard, is keeping a horse straight from head to tail and keeping him on a circle with your hands low and relaxed on either side of the pommel.
Focus on keeping him straight and you might find he won't do this. But fix his current issue first by picking him up, after he figures out what you want then practice being straight..(I ride western/reining)

Also, if he's balking on you, spank him. Infact sometimes it's even better to set him up for it just so you can correct it, don't move your trailer yet!

Goodluck

Thank you so much! This is like the most perfect answer I could have gotten! Tomorrow i will def try this. I was hoping for an answer that would help me correct him on the circle, though the trailer-bound thing does need to be fixed.

Thank you everyone for your help!

On a plus, today at practice (drill and cavelry) he picked up his leads perfectly everytime! All I had to do was cluck and gently tap with my heel to move his hindquarters (normally its alot of clucking and tapping) Normally I get one lead a day (either left or right) but today I think something finally clicked for him! He's no pro, but its huge progress for both of us! I was a little shocked at the beginning, my jaw actually dropped when I loped him around on his left lead, turned around and had him pick up his right lead, and he did it! YAY

Never forgot the horse that taught you to be fearless (Braveheart RIP) the horse that taught you to stay strong no matter how bumpy the road is (Caesar) and the horse that always had to test gravity by throwing you in the air (Cali)
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