Slowing down her lope!! - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 10 Old 03-08-2014, 06:55 PM Thread Starter
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Exclamation Slowing down her lope!!

Her walk and trot is perfect but when it comes to her lope it goes is western pleasure breed...anyways she holds the c shape but won't slow down!! also her lope is very flat so how to pick up that shoulder and use her back legs more?!Thanks!!
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post #2 of 10 Old 03-09-2014, 08:12 PM
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Most horses who run through a lope do so because they don't have the muscle to keep them selves balanced. also, they may run to catch their balance when the rider looses their balance.
Practice on circles to help build up her strength- both lunging and riding.
Teach her how to stand up, and balance her weight on her hindquarters and not her forehand, as she is most likely using the bit to just plow forward. Leg yields and other typical dressage maneuvers will help with this.
Have fun!
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post #3 of 10 Old 03-10-2014, 08:28 AM
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"It goes downhill" may actually be the answer. You have to help her shift her weight to her hind legs and to pick up her shoulders. Lots and lots of transitions between gaits will definitely help - and you have to aim for the transitions to be clean and calm, not rushing, choppy or pulling her to a slower gait - use your seat instead. My trainer taught me to go in a large circle and transition back and forth from trot to canter, keeping a balanced seat and a soft contact. If the horse tries rushing, turn him in a smaller circle until he slows down, then return to a larger one and praise for good, soft transitions. They keep their attention better if the transitions come every few strides, but don't overdo it not to overwhelm the horse. Do gait transitions every time you ride and be consistent with aiming for responsiveness.
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post #4 of 10 Old 03-10-2014, 10:24 AM
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Have you tried Cruising? This is done in an arena. Ask the horse to lope then leave it alone. Let it go wherever it will, just be sure as you approach one end that you look at where you'd like to go. Don't try to steer. As the horse tires it will start slowing down and will learn to carry itself to best conserve energy. Keep her going a few more rounds at the slower pace then allow her to walk. This also teaches the rider to quit messing with the reins.
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post #5 of 10 Old 03-16-2014, 04:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Natalierose View Post
Her walk and trot is perfect but when it comes to her lope it goes is western pleasure breed...anyways she holds the c shape but won't slow down!! also her lope is very flat so how to pick up that shoulder and use her back legs more?!Thanks!!
See help from a pro. The lope is called the "money" gait for a reason and the hardest one to nail correclty.
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post #6 of 10 Old 05-24-2014, 05:06 PM
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What I suggest for slowing the lope is first starting with you. Start with the walk- make sure that it is your body that is telling the horse how fast it is able to move meaning squeeze your thighs together and get all your weight on your butt. only let your horse move as fast as you are moving. It is alot of work but it is the best way to manage speed as it will eventually allow you to ride with no contact with your reins. Once you have mastered the walk move to the trot and again only allow your horse to move as fast as you are. For the first bit you may have to use some minor hand aids. once you do that and you can control the speed of the walk and trot with only your legs, hips, and butt you can move on to the canter and eventually slow it to a lope.

Some fabulous exercises for getting weight off of the forehand dont involve much loping at all for instance,
-lope off on the right lead and go a few yards then stop. Pivot or turn to the left as fast as you can and lope off right away, after going another few yards stop turn to the right and pick up the right lead. Constant stopping and doing 180 degree roll backs make the horse keep all of its weight on its back end esentially lightening its front. These wont be pretty at first but they will do wonders.
-Counter Cantering
Make sure that you start on the correct lead and start doing serpentines and figure eights staying on the same lead. This makes the horse balance and work against itself. Lots of counter cantering makes back and rump muscles stronger, and they realise that it is way harder to counter canter on a heavy front end
after working on controlling the speed with your legs, doing lots of roll backs, and countercantering just ask for the lope and get her where you want to speed wise and stop right away. The longer they lope the greater the chance there is for increased speed so as soon as they lope as you want them to stop. They will realise that their reward for going slow is to stop doing what they were doing.

Claire Peterson
owner of
Rail Royalty custom western show clothing
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post #7 of 10 Old 06-23-2014, 02:22 PM
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I've got a thoroughbred who didn't even know what a lope was due to lack of work and muscle capabilities. We started out some very unbalanced wide circles at a quick trot. And worked from there into our awkward gallop. I'll admit there was a lot of pulling on his mouth at first, but I never did it for long because of that reason. He still takes big strides but man those circles sure made a difference in his speed. Sometimes the horse doesn't know he can relax and collect himself
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post #8 of 10 Old 06-23-2014, 02:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Natalierose View Post
Her walk and trot is perfect but when it comes to her lope it goes is western pleasure breed...anyways she holds the c shape but won't slow down!! also her lope is very flat so how to pick up that shoulder and use her back legs more?!Thanks!!

This sounds like to me she might be throwing that shoulder out too much and just getting very sloppy. Keeping that "C shape" is a fine line. She needs to keep herself upright in that shoulder instead of just dropping it to the outside.

The C shape is from them picking up that inside shoulder as well as driving with the hip.

I agree with what's been said about being heavy on the forehand and needing a professional to step in and help out a bit.
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post #9 of 10 Old 06-23-2014, 03:01 PM
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Getting a well balanced lope is not achieved by excessive loping. A horse is in best balanced when it begins a lope, if it begins properly with the outside hind foot. After assuming the lope, the horse may fall onto its forehand, especially if the rider's balance is too forward. Continuing to lope in this fashion only confirms the bad lope.

Work to build the strength and flexibility of the horse's hindquarters. Transitions, uphill work, and lateral work are good for this. Since the 1700's, the shoulder-in has been recognized as perhaps the most beneficial exercise for developing strength and flexibility in the hindquarters. Many Western pleasure riders shy away from anything related to "dressage", but why not use whatever exercise is best for the horse.

Once the horse has developed the necessary strength and flexibility in the hindquarters, a half-halt may often regain the balance if a horse begins to lose it.

Training riders and horses to work in harmony.
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post #10 of 10 Old 07-02-2014, 07:02 AM
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I agree. In addition, it is much harder to undo improper training ( and much more expensive ), then to just have it done correctly the first time. Something that could have been done correctly with 6 months of professional training, is liable to be 2 or more years of training to undo and reinstall.
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