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- - The Lope (http://www.horseforum.com/western-riding/lope-13417/)
Somebody help... Exactly what are you doing with your legs when you lope? Where are you applying pressure? I'm screwing something up. I can lope a MADE horse all day long. I can not lope a green horse. I can cantelope a green horse... can't lope... that means the MADE horse is doing what he knows... Not what I'm telling him to do.... What am I doing wrong???? Somebody PLEASE describe WHAT you are doing w/ your legs.
A green horse has to be taught to lope, very very rarely does a horse just naturally know how to lope. With my legs I do not grip with my lower leg. From your knee up is where you should be holding on. Squeeze your butt cheeks together! :wink:
I have a very long in depth answer to your question for you, but my simple answer is when I ask a horse to lope I bring my "lead leg" so outside leg back slightly so as to ask the horse to step out with the back leg and hip first, I close my outside spur or heel, I prefer spurs just as an aid in getting the right buttons, I close my inside calf at the same time and hold, so as the front end will stay straight as I ask. I usually pick up with my inside hand slightly so as to lift the inside shoulder and soften or slightly bend my horse to the inside. I then push and hold with my outside leg and think of a count of 3 then release for a second and reapply my leg for the count of 3. So a push release and push release. You want the horse to sit back on their hip, lift through the shoulder and step out strong from behind. That is what your leg is telling them.
I hope that helps.
A "made" horse has had all the buttons and training put on them as well as been taught how to "go around." A green horse usually for the most basic reason of strength can not lope right away. Going collected, balanced and slower takes a lot more muscle and effort from a horse than going faster or forward. Before you ask a green horse to even try and collect into a lope you need to make sure you have built up enough muscle and balance so that the horse is able to try what you ask them. The most frustrating thing for a young or green horse is when you ask them to do something that they physically can not do yet. That is how you get some behavior issues and work ethic issues as you go as well. So here is my rule of thumb;
A horse must be able to do a forward lope or canter both directions, picking up the correct leads, holding themselves up, such as no leaning, a nice balanced feel as well as a consistent rhythm before I will ask one to begin to collect and slow to a lope. You also have to remember that you don't want to sacrifice movement for speed. So not all horses can lope at the same speed, and stay at a "true lope" and good legged.
With all that first, then I have a very long and structured teaching system I take a baby or green horse into to teach them all the cues they need and how to break apart the body into pieces to then have the ability and the horse to have the knowledge to understand what I am asking when I do ask for a lope, so a baby or green horse unless taught will not understand any cues you use. Also, keep in mind it takes time for a green or young horse to give you the "finished" lope and you have to go slow and build a young horses confidence. A lot of trainers and people want it done to fast and at the cost of the horses expense.
So remember to keep asking and stay calm and quiet with a green horse and it will come along faster than you think.
...My baby is only 2 so I'm not looking for a perfect lope out of him yet... But the speed at which my trainer lopes are not even comparible! I hold on w/ my upper thighs, sitting deep on my pockets and I just have no idea what locking my hips is, but I THINK I'm doing that... I think... I'm almost going at a sideways motion is what I feel like... kind of? He's also spur broke, so... I have a hard time because if I touch his side w/ my spur he halts... he's got that down! I can graze his side w/ the spur at the jog and he'll slow but... I just can't master the lope...
If I'm understand that 'sideways feeling' you're talking about, your horse is doing it right. A horse is supposed to lope with his hip slightly to the inside of the ring. (Or say he's on the left lead, his hip should be slightly over to the left). Horses do not lope perfectly straight. It took me awhile to actually understand the concept of it. My trainer was constantly telling me, 'push his hip over, then ask for the lope'.
Anyway, what I do when loping (and riding in general) is ride almost solely with my outside leg. My inside leg is for show, my outside for work. The judge can't see out there (on railwork). xD I point my outside toe out, wrap my calf, and (I ride with spurs) all I have to do to cue him for something is point my toe down. The spur comes up and comes in contact with his side. When I'm loping I keep it on the whole time (actually i'm supposed to but I'm still figuring it out and trying to remember twenty other things at once so sometimes I mess up but ah well).
he's going on vacation next month. He'll be on party time through march and then we'll start back up again. I'm not worried about HIM so much because he's already learned WAY more than I ever expected for his age and the time under saddle. I'm just ... loosing my cool becuase I can't get it on a horse that isn't a made horse. Like, If I rode a mechanics special it would be hit or miss if I got the lope... I can maintain a lope good enough for a local show, but not good enough for a regular show... I SUCK!
Well, good luck with him. Time is the greatest teacher with horses you know... maybe for people too. If you are uncertain about your commands to him, maybe try being more conscience of what you are doing when you tell a trained horse to lope. Personally, I don't have those skills so can't offer up anything less lame. :?
ok... I'm riding my chair again and it seems to me that I bump with my hips for a speed change. Kinda like Harlee was saying about squeezing your butt cheeks together. I'm straining my brain here and I kick with my right heel...more like bump. If I need reinforcement.
So I bump (hips) and kiss. then bump (hips) an cluck if I want a serious lope. then bump,kiss,heel if he's not responding. I don't know if any of this makes sence. AND *disclaimer* I don't show.
I would ask the trainer...I mean where does your trainer WANT you to be cueing him?
What you are wanting is a cue. one that both you and him can understand. That cue could be anything so thats why I'm saying ask the trainer.....
My trainer go's over and over and over and over and to her it's second nature and I'm just not getting it... I thought maybe... if someone rode their chair for me... I might get it... Gonna try it, worked for the leg yeilding!
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