Doesnt want to go into the Lope
A friend of mine doesnt have time to ride his horse, so he asked me if I would. Hopped on him for the first time today after doing a few days of groundwork. All went well, except for he doesnt always go into the lope, instead speeds up his trot faster and faster.
He didnt do this every time asked to go into the lope, but he did it more often than not. What are some exercises that I can do that will help him with this? He goes right into the lope out of the saddle. Would it help if I got him into the lope, went a few strides and than went back to the trot, and just did short transitions like that or what?
Thanks for all and any help!
Sounds like a pain issue, most likely poor saddle fit.
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How trained is this horse? He sounds like he's either unbalanced (possibly green?) or stubborn. Did you bring him back to a slow jog and ask for the canter again?
Like other have said, possibly a poor saddle fit or a pain issue. I'm sure you know this but I'm just throwing this out there, the saddle can be a good fit when you are not on the horse but be very constricting when you are on. So I would double check that as soon as you can.
If it is not a pain issue then I could suggest a couple ways...
Round pen. Have your friend ride the horse in the round pen (or lunge line) and you or another person in the middle. You just have one goal, to get him to lope. Do what you would do on the lunge line and let the rider just be a passenger. The second he lopes have the rider give him a good pat. This is basically the same thing as what you would see when horses get their first ride. Once he can do it better then I would start throwing in cues, or you can throw in cues the very first time.
Another way I would suggest is to push him through. When I have these problems, or when I had them with my filly (did the exact same thing), I would use a bosal (or just a snaffle w/ slobber straps) and have McCarty reins so I would have that extra spanker to push her through to the lope. All I did was squeeze and if she wouldn't respond then I would kiss/cluck (depending on what you want) and if she still didn't respond to that then I would use the 'spanker/lead rope' part of the McCarty and start lightly tapping her on both sides of her hind, if she still didn't respond then I would increase the tapping until she finally went into the lope.
Then LOTS AND LOTS of transitions. Once you horse will lope well just work on transitions. Standstill to lope, lope to walk, standstill to trot, trot to lope, etc. The more you work on that the less your horse would do a 'faster rougher trot' instead of doing lope like what you want. That helped my filly a lot.
Thanks for all the replies! I would say its a pain thing, but my friend has gone the extra step in having the saddle completely customized to fit the horse, had the saddle fitter out after she got it as well, and it fits like a dream.
The horse is a 5yr old 16hh Paint. He was started at 3, dont know what he has done under saddle to be honest, but he is very responsive. Unbalanced, yes he leans in to every turn very much, so that is something we will need to work on for sure!
If he is unbalanced at the walk, he will be unbalanced at the trot & so forth. Go back to the walk, it all starts from there. Get him balanced at the walk, extending the walk, collecting the walk, two tracking, shoulders in, shoulders out, then proceed to the trot using the same exercises. It is not until he can stay balanced at the two lower gaits that he can move onto the canter, it takes a balanced rider to make a balanced horse if the horse isn't athletic enough to take care of the rider.
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Once the horse is balanced enough with a rider w/t, he will probably still want to run into the lope.
I only post in the training forum from my personal experiences. LOL, so here goes:
A paint mare we have would always run into her lope and always break gait.
What I did:
- W/T figure 8's, serpentines, circles, squares, trotting poles, and hills to build up muscle and balance and softness.
When it came time to ask for the lope, I'd get into a trot in my riding area and half halt a few times to get her paying attention to me, and only why she started being consistent, I would ask for the lope. The first time I asked, she ran into it (did the whole trot reeeeally fast and then lope like a maniac thing) so I brought her back down to a walk and tried again. This time, I closed my hands, did a little half halt, sat deep and asked for the lope just by squeezing my calves and driving with my seat. I did keep a pretty firm contact on the bit as well. She didnt run or fast trot into the lope when I asked for it like that. Just something to try!
Push him through. "Ro Go Bar" (1982-2009, RIP) preferred to do a "road trot" to a canter any day. It happens with some QH's. It takes pushing to get your horse to understand that he has to listen to a cue for the canter, and not just think he can decide on his own.
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