Favorite Exercise to Hold the Ground with Balance Legs at the Lope

by Troy Green | December 12th, 2011 1:45 PM | No Comments

Q. Troy,

What is your favorite exercise for getting your horse to hold the ground with his balance legs at the lope?  I understand that the side pass is a simulated lope with a drive leg, balance legs, and a lead leg, but is there anything else other than the sidepass that I can do to encourage that “hold time” or suspension in his leg movement?  I think he’s just a bit to quick legged and I feel its my fault….

Thanks again,
Connie

A. Connie,

Thanks for another good question. You obviously have a methodical understanding of all the working parts of your horse. I try to keep things a bit more simplified, however, for most folks (including myself!) I find it’s all too common a problem that people have a conceptual understanding and a wealth of knowledge in the physics of riding, so to speak, but a lack of FEEL.  So much of what we do is feel, and that is something that cannot be taught. Time in the saddle and educated ground help will help greatly to improve feel. I don’t have a specific ‘go to’ exercise for getting my horses to hold the ground. It’s lots of repetition, and the horse will dictate what exercises will be the most helpful. If I have a horse that is a tight mover or braces with their neck, I will do a lot of bending to help break loose their shoulders. When a horse engages their shoulders that can help them lengthen and hold the ground longer. Another exercise is to park your horse in rhythm with their lope step. By repetition of parking or stopping, they start to hunt for the stop and naturally hold the ground longer when you take a hold of their face.

There are lots of other exercises and sometimes we forget until we have a certain horse that makes us delve deeper into our arsenal to find what works for that individual. Thanks again for a very thoughtful question and best of luck!

Troy

About the Author

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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