Getting That Hesitation in the Lope by Troy Green
A. Hi Connie,
Great question! That “hesitation” you’re talking about is when you can get your horse to hold the ground or stay on the ground longer. And the second part of your question is key…you asked how to achieve this without compromising balance and cadence. Most often where I see folks go wrong is they will grab or hold their horses back too much and for too long at a time. When you take a hold of your horses face and trap them back there is no place for them to go but up. They go up with their legs creating a sticky hesitation instead of achieving true lift which comes from having their whole body up. A good tip that I will tell people that have a tendency to stay “in” too long when pulling on their horse is to try not to pull for more than three strides. For example; if you get in or pull for three strides, out for one stride, in for three, out for one, in that same pattern, you are still giving your horse a release. The best way to achieve balance and cadence is by repetition of getting in, getting a result, and getting out. The better your horse gets, the longer the window will be that you can remain “out” or not pulling. You might start by turning loose for just a stride or two at a time, then eventually get to three or four, then five or six, then down the long side, then all the way around the pen, etc. Be patient and persistent. In the words of William Shakespeare, “To climb steep hills requires a slow pace at first.”
Something else to keep in mind is that whenever you can, pull your horse to the side. Not only are you helping to break him loose and use his body, but it’s also less offensive and less likely to trap their front end and jeapordize movement. As always, if you can teach your horse from the start to use their body, turn around, turn on the forehand, etc, they will have more control and more lift as a result.
Thanks for an excellent question and best of luck,
Troy Green is a firm believer in the importance of a good foundation for every horse with balance, rhythm, and self-carriage being key. A good foundation equals longevity in the show pen. Troy has won over two dozen All American Quarter Horse Congress Championships in western pleasure, versatility, reining, halter and western riding, and has coached clients to over 50 Congress championships. Troy has three AQHA World Championships and two National Championships under his belt, and has won at all major futurities. He spent three years on the national board of the NSBA.
Troy Green has an extensive background working with youth and amateurs at all levels and of various disciplines. He specializes in pleasure futurity and all around horses.
Now is your chance to have your questions answered by Troy! Just submit your question using the comment section below or the email link, and he will respond to select questions in future posts.