View Full Version : How to teach a horse to lope
04-11-2011, 12:22 PM
I was wondering how do you teach a horse to do a lope?
04-12-2011, 03:32 PM
Well, a lope is just a slow canter, so to teach a lope, you just slow down the canter :) I prefer the 'collect them slow' method myself. Which just means you collect them till they move at a slower pace.
With both green horses and trained horses I like to work on 'speed scales'. Starting at a 'normal' or 'working' canter; gradually collect the horse to be as slow as you can get them, hold for a few strides; then gradually extend till he's going a fast as you can get him (without losing control or galloping); hold for a few strides, then go back down to slow.
It not only helps teach the horse to go slow without too much restriction; but it teaches him to listen to his rider; and teaches his rider to control his speed.
04-12-2011, 04:07 PM
Slower is harder. They need to be stronger to go slower than they do to go faster. The lope will come when it becomes easier for the horse, and it will become easier the more fit the horse is.
06-28-2011, 11:41 AM
I recently started and sold a filly for the western pleasure divison. I have a nice big square in-door arena which is great for starting/working a western pleasure horse. The first time I asked this filly to canter she could have won the Kentucky Derby...and nothing I did seemed to help. I asked a good friend/breeder for assistance and she told me what to do and it worked great. And the above post is correct...it is much harder physically for a horse to lope than to gallop. I put this filly in the lines - ran the lines through the lowest ring on the surcingle and then through a smooth snaffle bit and then between her front legs to the snaps under her belly. This pulled her head down towards the ground. I asked her to trot off and then canter and then back to the trot and then to the canter again. I did this both directions each day for several weeks. I was told to do this until you saw a noticeable improvement in the muscles under her tail running down towards her hocks. Again I worked her like this for weeks and it was boring....nothing harder to look at than a saddlebred with its head on the ground. Anyway....after seeing some muscle improvement I rode her and she loped....one foot at a time. When you pull their heads down they get the sensation of falling...which makes them go slower. It also builds up the rear end which allows them physically to lope. Also, this improves the muscle that runs up the length of the neck under the mane. In addition to teaching her to lope this method also improved her head carriage. Her new owners are thrilled with her lope....little do they know that this gal could gallop like a race horse!!!!
06-28-2011, 03:10 PM
Is this the same concept as those devices that you see in the Dover and State Line Tack catalogs? To develope those muscles?
06-28-2011, 04:28 PM
That is basically a german martingale setup for long lines.
One way (out of many) that I use to collect a canter is to only canter on the short side of the arena, back and forth. Canter to corner, stop, stand, relax, reverse, repeat. They learn to slow down. I do this until they're totally at ease with it.
Then I do it again but don't stop in the corner - go around the corner a few steps and stop, stand, relax, reverse, repeat, gradually increasing how far down the long rail I go. Eventually they come to anticipate stopping so much they keep their weight on their haunches and stay slow.
This takes many rides, it doesn't happen in one. I also do the same in lines - canter back and forth on the short rail.
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