Oh dear, I need help.
Okay, so my horse is coming along rather well, but, her lope is too fast for western pleasure! She is really soft to the bit, I even have soft hands with her but I have been hardening her because of reinforcing the headset. What are some softening drills or thing that I can do and any other way to slow down her lope.
She is having trouble understanding what lead to pick up. I'm cuing her correctly I do know that, but she just isn't comprehending what I'm asking, which thus turns me into a mess of frustration and I end up confusing her more and she freaks.. And when she freaks I get more mad and then she gets touchy with the spurs because I spin her when I'm mad..
I'm still thinking ways you can get her lope slowed down before your big shows (all of my ways are time consuming).
I know you said that you ask correctly, but how do you ask? Just a question, it'll give me a better idea on how to help you.
To slow her lope down, do circles. When she starts to go to fast then tell her easy (if she knows that cue), or put her into a circle.
Also, are you askin correctly?
if you ask for a lope right in the middle of a turn, that could help her pick up the correct lead.
Also doin circles at a lope will help her pick up the correct lead.
Cue for the lead on corners. My advice for slowing her down is to set the rythym youself with your seat--sit up straight and resist her, set the rythym yourself.
I am asking for it correctly and she always picks it up correctly on corners. But I want her to pick it up correctly on straight aways because we don't always get lucky enough to be on a corner when it is asked of us.
Brandon-Circles actually make her speed up.
What I do is,
-I cue with my outside leg.
-Kiss and ask for a lope.
-If I'm doing a circle I turn her head in the direction of the circle, but if I'm not then I turn her head to the rail to get her shoulder out front.
I need the softening exercises to lower her head mlkarel2010...
I will gladly try anything whether or not it's time consuming because eventually we'll have to learn it.
Today I took off my spurs because I gave her a bump on her side, and when I rode without the spurs she did MUCH, much better.
Any tips would be wonderful!!?
Does she move away from leg pressure well? Like does she do leg yields? If she does then slant her nose more to the rail, and put her whole body at an angle, and then ask for a lope. Of course you'll want to gradually lesson the angle. Does that make sense?
Softening exercises are great, so keep up the good work!
What I have done, besides collection and softening exercises at the lope Is to go faster than usual for awhile and then cue to slow down with my body. Then they are happy to go slower. Try this and see if it works. It also gets them to really listen to your seat while they rate their speed.
If she's rushy on the circles, then she's probably unbalanced, horses steady on circles to make it easier for them so they can balance and maintain rhythm, if shes rushing on circles she'll be lacking balance, needs more inside leg from you, and more circle work
Jeddah, western horses are trained differently--ie, to pick up the lope when flexed to the outside. Why does it work?
Because picking up the right lead has to do with two things--shoulder control, and more importantly, haunch control. When you flex a horse to the outside, it forces their hind quarters to swing in (it's like cheating at a 'haunches in'.). With their hind quarters swung inside, it forces them to step more and 'deeper' with their outside rear leg... which is the beginning of your correct lead. It's pretty hard for a horse to pick up the WRONG lead in this position, although it can be done.
I think this is part of your problem with your horse not knowing which lead to pick up on a straight line: -If I'm doing a circle I turn her head in the direction of the circle, but if I'm not then I turn her head to the rail to get her shoulder out front. Your cue is not consistent. Your mare doesn't understand the difference between being on a circle and being on the rail, or why the cues are different. You'll get the leads 90% of the time if your mare is athletic (Because she's listening to where you put her body, like described above), but when you ask for them on a straight away with no rail, you'll get them 50% of the time, because she'll be guessing. Get me?
So first off, you need to pick a cue and stick with it! With my western horse, I tuck his nose to the inside ALWAYS, but keep him on the rail, circle, etc. Just a slight bend in his neck. Then I cue with my outside leg, make him do a CORRECT haunches in (haunches into the inside, head bent to the inside, shoulders straight), and kiss for the lope. He is not allowed to go until I kiss. The haunches in sets you up for flying changes later on, and right now it pretty much guarantees you'll get the lead every time--AND it can be done on straight aways (I don't NEED to do a haunches in with my gelding, but if I do I will 100% get the lead.) But, either way, pick a cue, and stick with it no matter if you are circling, or on the rail.
Secondly, do NOT practice leads by pointing your mare onto a circle--and if you do, only do it a few times. If every time you ask for the right lead you make a circle to the right at the same time, your horse will learn to drop its shoulder. If you've ever ridden a horse that does this, that is why! It dives into a turn because that's how it was taught. Teach your horse the difference between right and left leads by performing a figure eight--but make sure that your center line is STRAIGHT! So, for example, you ask for the right lead, canter straight for five strides, then complete your right circle. Break her down to a trot, still going straight, ask for the left lead, go straight for five strides, then make your left circle. This will keep her shoulders up, and allow her to understand her leads. Right now, outside leg just means 'canter'--not pick up a specific lead.
Try not to get frustrated with her. Horses don't do the wrong thing on purpose. They do it because we haven't taught them the 'right' thing well enough!
To slow her down, you need to make sure you're doing your circles correctly. You mention that she spins, so I think this one will be easy for you to teach her.
For a western pleasure horse, you want to make THEM want to go slow--you can't always check a WP horse in the ring. So to establish a slow lope, try this: When you ask your mare to canter, the moment she starts to go too fast, take your outside rein and hold her head pretty much straight, but ask her to 'spin' as you make a small, tight circle. IF you let her lead with her head (turn her head to the inside of the circle), she can collapse the shoulder and then end up going FASTER. So you have to imagine you're 'spinning' at the canter--you want her shoulders to move, just like a turn on the haunches. It's kind of like a canter pirouette in dressage, only not so tight! lol This forces her to transfer the weight to her haunches and you should feel a lot of 'lift' to the front end as she pops up to move those shoulders at the canter. And she WILL slow down! :)
The MOMENT you feel her slow down, release your reins (lots of slack, so she learns to carry herself!) and allow her to canter out of the circle immediately (the faster you reward her, the harder she will try). Reward any attempt--she doesn't have the muscle yet to carry you like a western pleasure star, so help her out and reward the smallest tries.
As you take her out of the circle, if she speeds up, do the same thing!
Once you can make several strides at your new 'slow' speed, teach her haunches in at the canter (also called 'canting' in the AQHA world). This helps her build muscle, but you shouldn't show this way. Teach her leg yields at the canter, and counter canter--all will help her build muscle to go slower. And remember, if you pull back on the reins to 'slow her down', bump her gently with your calves at the same time--if you just pull, she will go down on the forehand. Bump to tell her to work correctly--you can't go slow without proper, collected energy!
Once she is understanding she has a 'slow' gear, then you can teach her to stay in it. You ask her to lope, and when she steps into a faster gait because she stopped paying attention or something, you pull her nose to the inside rail and make her stop (quickly) and then make her do a turn on the forehand (which she'll need to know how to do before she can do haunches in!), and canter off in the other direction. This teaches her that if she wants to just canter along without having to stop hard and swing her hindquarters around, she has to do it right! This also gives you a nice tool at shows--if she picks up speed in a class, all you'll have to do is wiggle that outside rein and she'll slow herself down so she doesn't have to stop and turn! (Dressage riders use this as well as WP trainers!) Remember, though--when you stop and turn her, do it briskly (demand energy), but don't EVER make her feel like she is being punished. If you do punish her, when you go to pick up that outside rein she will only get scared and rush and not trust you an ounce. Remember you are a TRAINER, not someone screaming at her. Show her how, maybe a thousand times, and she will love and respect you for it. :)
I think that's all I've got for now... if you need help teaching her haunches in/forehand turns/leg yields etc, let me know, as well as any other questions. Some of this may not make sense... I just got out of work and I'm exhausted, lol! If you need me to clarify anything/get videos of me and my gelding, I will try. :)
Mayfieldk, well put. Our horses make mistakes because we do not give them the right information to do it the right way - even though we will swear that we did.
When my horses don't do what I asked I look to myself. If I can't figure what I'm doing wrong, I'll have someone watch or video me. If I get frustrated I stop riding before it escalates.
Using spurs to make a correction means you don't know how to use them and shouldn't be wearing them. They are never to be used as punishment.
Okay I was haveing the same issues as you are.
Here is what worked for my boy:
I loped tons of figure eights (which is also great for flying lead changes) and kept up with the tug and release to remind him that he had to stay collected and clam while he was loping. Everytime he would speed up I would say "eeeasssssssy." Nice and slow while giving him a small bit of pressure on the reins asking him to slow down. It took about 3 days but he finally figured it out.
You should like you are doing everything right. But when you are asking her to pick up the right lead do everything you are doing except pick up your right rein, letting her know you want her to pick up that shoulder, and vise versa with the left.
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