Odd Question About Loping - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 04-29-2011, 11:16 PM Thread Starter
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Odd Question About Loping

I'm not sure if there's another thread about this and I figured it would be odd to try to search for it, so if there is one already, please post it here and save everyone the trouble.

Anyhoo, my question: Is it possible to make a lope more comfortable? Abby has a lovely, floaty trot that is very easy to ride, but her lope is the exact opposite: it throws me completely off balance and I don't even know how to describe it other than it is extremely awkward and uncomfortable for me to try to ride.

Would getting her to collect help? I considered that and found that on Chris Irwin's video archive that's part of Stateline has a huge section on it. 50 videos. The thing is though..I have a really hard time watching him. He knows what he's talking about, but I just don't like him that much and I hate trying to watch a video, then try to do what the video said hours or days later. I would have to be watching it on horseback and try doing it at the same time for me to figure it out. And I've heard that horses with long backs have a harder time collecting. Abby's is longgg.

Ooor is it just the way she is? I'd be a tad disappointed if it was, but we can prance around on her fancy trot if it is.

I might also have to try to lope out in a field where I have room to let her go farther than a 100ft arena length, which I think might also be the problem, as she feels the need to run towards the door often and if we're trotting around the edge of the arena, she will stop dead by the door and just stand there stupidly and it's a small fight to get her to move.

I don't know. Sorry for kind of talking to myself. Opinions are obviously welcome and I send my thanks in advance.
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post #2 of 6 Old 04-29-2011, 11:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Poseidon View Post
Anyhoo, my question: Is it possible to make a lope more comfortable? Abby has a lovely, floaty trot that is very easy to ride, but her lope is the exact opposite: it throws me completely off balance and I don't even know how to describe it other than it is extremely awkward and uncomfortable for me to try to ride.
Some horses have an uncomfortable, ugly lope or trot. It's just the way they are. They absolute first thing I would do is make sure she's taking up the correct lead! With the horses I ride, you do this by applying slight pressure with your inside leg, and then cue for the lope.
You can also check to make sure the saddle isn't creating any pressure points. If the horse is uncomfortable, they may not move as freely. Also make sure you are sitting back. I almost think it feels like I'm moving left and right instead of forwards and back with the horse's gait. You can always ask someone to come and watch you ride as well :) They may be able to see something from the ground that you can't see while riding! I'm not sure that collecting would help, as I believe it shorts their stride and may make it bumpier. I haven't worked much with collection, though.

I hope some of this helps :)

Last edited by Clevelande; 04-29-2011 at 11:53 PM.
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post #3 of 6 Old 04-29-2011, 11:54 PM
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She might just have a bad lope. Some horses have it, others don't. You can help her by helping her collect, doing hill work and lots of transitions. Try different speeds on her too. My Heart Horse had a wonderful, easy going lope. Any slower and he felt like riding a dirt bike over big bumps. Any faster and he felt like he was going to leap out from under me.
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post #4 of 6 Old 04-29-2011, 11:59 PM
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A lot of roughness can be taken out of a horses lope just by getting them balanced and helping them to learn some cruise control so they aren't just careening around the arena hell bent for leather. I have the most success with this by alternating loping out on the flat across a pasture and loping circles. When the horse is unbalanced, it seems to try to overcompensate for the rider and that makes the whole experience that much worse LOL.

On the other hand, some horses are just naturally horrid to ride at a particular gait. I rode this one mare for a while that loped like a deer, it was all up and down with very little of the rocking motion normally associated with a lope. And then there are horses like Nester, who throws you off to one side (I can't remember which side) regardless of what lead he's on or what direction you are turning. Of course, I haven't ridden him enough to see if it can be fixed, but it's there.
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post #5 of 6 Old 04-30-2011, 12:05 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks guys. Part of me is thinking it's a bad lope while part of me is thinking it's just because it's such an enclosed area. I loped with her at the old barn across the road with my BO's daughter. Hugeee open field and it was smooth then.

I'll have to wait for it to dry up and figure out which fields are which. Or just wait until the end of May when she's at camp. There's some hills there and the north pasture is massiveee. There are absolutely none where she's at now, so that's out.

Actually..(I'm having a tired moment and kind of typing out my thought processes, so excuse me), couldn't it be from her lack of muscling? She dropped 100lbs within the last couple months from a ton of stress and lack of use. A lot of it was muscle loss, especially in her hindquarters.

But I would be accepting of her lope if it is always like this. Poseidon's the opposite: Her trot is huge and bouncy and I have to post or I'd probably just fall off to the side. Her lope is smooth as butter.
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post #6 of 6 Old 04-30-2011, 12:07 AM
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That could be a big part of it as well. It's so funny how some horses are like that. John is like Poseidon, huge trot and his lope is smooth as glass.
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