My Horse Won’t Lope Off!
Q. My trainer has gotten my horse to the point that he won’t lope off from the walk or standstill. He just plants himself and won’t move. If you really put the spurs to him, he’ll buck or carry on. I have him home and am trying to bring him back to his nice calm self. Any suggestions for getting him to lope off and be good again? Help if you can…
A. It sounds like the spur stop was possibly over done on your horse. Sometimes this will happen and as you say, the more leg you apply, the more your horse will object. There is a lot of feel involved in a situation like this to get one back to a place where he can lope off pleasant again. I would avoid the spur stop for a while, to get it a little “dull.” I would also suggest loping off out of a small jog circle. This is a maneuver that I routinely use especially with young or green horses. When you lope off out of a jog circle, your horse’s body is already curved in an arc and his body is in position with his hip in and shoulders to the outside to pick up the lope on the correct lead with ease. After practicing several transitions from your jog circle you can do the same thing at a walk or even turn around. I always “kiss” or as I say “smooch” to my horses several times before and while I apply leg to lope off. Use your voice as a precursor to give him a chance to respond. If your horse knows how to turn around you can do the same thing…lope off out of your spin so your leg is already in place and your horse’s body is already engaged. In addition, I would always apply leg softly to lope off and then go to more pressure or a roll of your spur if he doesn’t listen. If this isn’t enough, I will keep asking the same with my outside leg and then slap my foot right behind the girth to help my horse break loose at his withers and move his shoulder away for an easier lope departure. I would say if you try these couple things your horse will hopefully come back around to his happier self.
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.
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