Horse wont lope

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Horse wont lope

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    09-26-2010, 06:46 PM
Question Horse wont lope

I have a 6 year old gelding that I got about 2 months ago. He was pushy and didn't know much when I got him. He has made AMAZING progress on ground manners and is mostly willing under saddle. I have just started bumping up his work to a trot and trying to lope. I can get him to work any course in any direction over an obstacle at a walk. He will do most of the same work at a trot (for a little while) but when he is done he sulls up (pouts and wont move). The original owner said that at this point, with her, he would buck her off so hard she wouldn't get back on him for months. I can't even get him to do that!!!
I would know better what to do with a horse that bucks but I have never dealt with a horse that refuses to move and man is it frustrating!!!!

After taking a deep breath I would like to believe that the reason he wont buck with me is that I have established enough respect on the ground between us that he knows he wont get away with bucking or just doesn't want to.

Has anyone ever dealt with a (lazy?) horse that wont move?? Any and all help will be GREATLY appreciated! Sorry this post is so long!
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    09-27-2010, 10:02 PM
What kind of shape is he in? If he is out of shape it could be that he is getting tired and needs time to catch his wind. Will he walk/trot/canter on the lunge line? If not that would be where you need to put some work in. If you can't get him to do all three gaits from the ground you most likely won't be able to get it under saddle.

Also, is he the same on trails as he is in the arena? If you aren't trail riding him at all you may want to try it and see how he does. I have found that most horses are more willing to move out when on a trail as they have more room before needing to turn again. He may not be balanced enough to go into a lope in the arena yet (again lunging will help this).
    09-28-2010, 01:29 AM
Without examining the whys & wherefores, I wouldn't call him 'lazy' - well, no lazier than most horses, but he sounds a bit smarter & more persistent than many!

First & foremost I would examine the physical aspects - can he do what you're asking on lunge/ground driving, etc? If not, I'd get him doing that first. Also rule out saddle discomfort & other back/mouth/hoof etc pain.

What I would do is concentrate on turning the 'work' into 'play' - that is, working on changing his attitude towards what you're asking, so he is motivated to do it. Then I would make a point of stopping when he's still 'in the mood'. Eg. If he'll trot the obstacles for 2 minutes before cracking it, then only ask him for a minute before stopping for a break. Make sure he's well rewarded *while* he's doing what you ask and get him reliably & willingly doing that minute, before you ask for a bit longer.

If/when you find yourself at a standoff with him, if you're confident of surviving the possibility of bucking, just outpersist him & keep the pressure on until he gives you something. He's obviously learned that this behaviour works for him to get what he wants & has learned to be persistent to get it. Unfortunately because of that, he is likely to get worse before the behaviour stops, when he first finds it is no longer going to work for him. You need to get through that, and immediately reinforce him for whatever he finally gives you. Even if to begin with, you only get a step or 2, make sure that that is reinforced - works for him, so he'll do it again. Then work gradually up to more from there.

I agree with Silvera also about getting out of the arena, especially to get him loping. I'd get him good at loping on an open trail, without much pressure(eg. Go with a friend & get them to canter ahead - he's bound to follow). Start out giving the cue when he's about to do it anyway, then when you first ask him to do it in a less motivating situation, only ask for him to start, allowing him to slow again straight away if he wants, and as with trotting, build the amount of time he does it gradually, as he becomes reliable. IOW, make the Right things as easy as possible.
    09-28-2010, 03:57 AM
Hi, Im new. My name is Natalie and I have a western pleasure/ english mare. If you are trying to make your horse move out at the lope the easiest thing I can possibly say is lung him. My mare is very lasy and the only thing that can make her move forward is the spurs. I don't agree in leaving marks on the horses with them but once they feel that they are there ( since they are a smaller pressure spot on there rib cage then a heel of a shoe) they will move forward for you. The easyest thing that I have realized is that get them to move out first and keep the lope at a faster pace and then move them down more slowely after time.
    09-29-2010, 05:29 PM
He is very healthy, not fat, but he's a big horse right at 16 hands and 1300lbs. He is built like a tank, and I questioned when I got him if he wasn't a stud that hadn't dropped (the vet assured me he is a gelding) but he looks like a stud!

He will reluctantly trot under saddle and he did lope a few steps one time after another horse took off on a trail, so that might be my best bet to get him to understand what I'm asking for. As far as lunge line or round pen work, he will only lunge a few steps and then turns in toward me and I really have to work at getting him to go back to lunging, but then again it is only for a few steps. He will walk around the round pen, stop when I ask, and turn the other way, but he will NOT go any faster than a walk, with or without the saddle.

One thing that was just brought to my attention is that possibly I need a bigger round pen for such a big horse to work. Mine is only 40ft, so maybe he feels too confinded to go any faster than a walk.
And yes, he is too smart and persistant to put up with the lunge line. HA!
    09-29-2010, 08:17 PM

I would work at getting him responsive to you on the ground first.
    09-29-2010, 11:25 PM
I am having the same problem with my horse. It is making me not want to ride. As Winter moves in and I only have an arena to play in I find myself not wanting to go to just walk and trot around. However, when I took her on the trail or to the beach I could get her to move out a bit so I agree with the space issue. I tried spurs, first she tried to buck, that doesn't work on me anymore, then she would trot the fastest trot ever. Then she could care less about the spurs. All of this was in one session. I have not ridden since as I am frustrated. I have tried lunging, she could care less about a lunge wip and I always end up looking like a fool running around after her trying to get her to move. So in short ;) I feel you pain. Let me know if you find a solution. I am about to bring in a pro.
    09-30-2010, 12:06 AM
How long ago was he backed for the first time? If he has recently been broke, it may be that he is not able to balance your weight correctly at the trot/lope. How is your seat? Does he trot super fast, and cause you to bounce around?

Try to teach him a very clear cue, from the ground, that means "canter." My cue is a click-click for trot, and a sharp kiss for canter. Maybe you could post a video?
    09-30-2010, 12:56 AM
Originally Posted by SidMit    
As Winter moves in and I only have an arena to play in I find myself not wanting to go to just walk and trot around.
Don't blame you! Even including a canter, I'd get incredibly bored if I were confined to an arena!

I tried spurs, first she tried to buck, that doesn't work on me anymore, then she would trot the fastest trot ever. Then she could care less about the spurs. All of this was in one session.
I suspect your prob there was that you tried to do too much too soon. The spurs were meant to be a 'go faster' cue, but when she went faster you didn't reinforce her for it. So eventually she decided that wasn't working, so tried something else - ignoring them.

I have tried lunging, she could care less about a lunge wip and I always end up looking like a fool running around after her trying to get her to move.
Again, it's about making the 'Right' thing as easy as possible & making sure the 'Right' thing works for her. That means accepting & reinforcing whatever she can give you *towards* your goal, not continuing to push her because she hasn't achieved what you want her to. Eg. If you signalled to her to move off, then backed it up with the lunge whip(starting out just waving it behind her, but progressing to touching her with it if necessary), if she starts to move off in that direction, you need to immediately quit hassling her, so she knows that's what Works for her. If she's going around at a walk & you signal faster, even if she only walks faster, that's what you reinforce her for, so she learns what the cue means. With repetition & success, then you can *gradually* ask for a little more.

People have lots of different ideas about lunging, but I 'lunge' in order to teach & reinforce them responding to me at a distance. My way is to teach them the basics of yielding to all sorts of pressure first, then gradually increase the distance, so that by the time we're at 'lunging' distance, it's already pretty clear what I want of them. If it took me actually having to get after them, I'd consider they haven't 'got' it yet, so would go back to work on easier stuff before progressing to that point more gradually. Remember also that horses don't generalise well at all, so the horse doesn't just 'know' something he's learned with different criteria, environments, etc, but needs to be re-taught. Therefore, if they didn't get it, I'd also possibly fall back to a lesser distance.
    09-30-2010, 01:41 AM
Thank you Loosie. I am going to see her tomorrow, maybe I should just start over with her, I may have been just going to fast as you have stated. I really love my horse and she is so sweet too, I just want to enjoy riding her more. Thanks again!

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