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Pleasure Horse Acting Weird in the Lope

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  • Pleasure Horse Acting Weird in the Lope

    I recently bought a pleasure horse who is spur trained and broke to death. He is 16 years old. I bought him to be my confidence builder because I'm a timid rider. Cantering/loping has made me nervous for as long as I can remember, but I recently got over this by working with my trainer. When I was looking at my new horse, Red, I was extremely comfortable and very safe while loping him! I went on vacation for a week and so he wasn't ridden for a week, his previous owner told me that he doesn't need to be ridden constantly.

    When I came back from vacation, I noticed that he was extremely attached to the gelding he was sharing a paddock with, but he was still willing to do what I asked of him. His walk and jog didn't change a bit, but his slow western lope seems to be lost. I feel like he is galloping, but thats just because his pleasure lope is sooooo slow!

    I tried to slow him down yesterday and everytime I asked for him to slow down he would break to a really fast jog (faster than his slow lope). I went to a clinic over the weekend and one of the clinicians told me I should sing and that will prevent me from tensing up. I was singing my heart out, so I know I wasn't tensing up and sending him mixed signals.

    Please let me know of any advice you may have. Thanks in advance!

  • #2
    You mention that he seemed attached to his pasture buddy. I’ve known horses that can’t be ridden unless they are both in the ring. If you can change the turnout that might help. Having him turned out with another horse and preferably multiple horses.
    You can also try lunging him before you ride if he just has too much energy after time off.

    Comment

    • Original Poster

      #3
      PrincessPonies - When lunging him, he rarely will go into the canter. I feel like I don't have his full attention while lunging... I tried to lunge him yesterday, and he kept putting his head down and smelling the arena dirt like he wanted to roll, even while he was jogging. Other times when I have lunged him, he lopes and bucks and gets all excited, but he has never done that with me in the saddle. Previous owner told me this is one of the reasons she did not lunge him.

      I have also ridden him with the horse he is turned out with, and he is still super fast and not relaxed. 2/3 times I've had this problems it was while his buddy was also in the indoor.

      I am just not really sure what to do, because I already love this horse, but I don't want to become more afraid of the lope.

      Comment


      • #4
        You need some eyes on the ground to see what you're doing and what your horse is doing and help you fix it. You say you have a trainer. Schedule a lesson.
        "Facts are meaningless. You can use facts to prove anything
        that's even remotely true."

        Homer Simpson

        Comment

        • Original Poster

          #5
          NoSuchPerson I've scheduled a lesson for this weekend, but I wish there was something I could to do work with him between now and then.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by michiganrider View Post
            NoSuchPerson I've scheduled a lesson for this weekend, but I wish there was something I could to do work with him between now and then.
            There's always something to work on, whether it directly impacts your current problem or not. Work at the walk and trot on transitions, lateral movements, riding circles and serpentines...
            "Facts are meaningless. You can use facts to prove anything
            that's even remotely true."

            Homer Simpson

            Comment


            • #7
              He needs strength to canter slow. Working on the trot works on the muscles and strength until you get to your lesson.
              It is better to ride 5 minutes a day than it is to ride 35 minutes on a Sunday.

              Comment


              • #8
                Walk and trot and things you CAN do, until your lesson

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by michiganrider View Post
                  NoSuchPerson I've scheduled a lesson for this weekend, but I wish there was something I could to do work with him between now and then.
                  You clearly need more help for the canter.
                  So, do NOT canter while on your own for now until you understand how to do it safely.

                  Despite what you said, if he’s speeding up and not listening to you, it’s because you are getting more tense.

                  Also, that the old owner believe this horse can be left unridden for a week and be ok might be true but the skills of the rider might have a bigger impact.

                  You bought a schoolmaster, but even them can « forget » and test their rider if they are not trained regularly by a competent rider.

                  ~ Enjoying some guac and boxed wine at the Blue Saddle inn. ~

                  Originally posted by LauraKY
                  I'm sorry, but this has "eau de hoarder" smell all over it.
                  HORSING mobile training app

                  Comment

                  • Original Poster

                    #10
                    I am not disagreeing with you, but I have owned him for about 2 months, and the first month and a half I was riding him every day, by myself, walk, jog, and lope without any issues. I spent at least one hour at the barn every day, up to three days. Again, I didn't have any issues with him. Once I left and came back (and at this time he also switched paddocks and became attached to his new paddock buddy), is when I began to have issues.

                    There is always room for improvement for anything, including riding, but I don't think my seat is what is effecting him. My mom has been riding since she was a little girl, and also has lots of experience, was in town. I asked her to come watch me ride, and she doesn't think it is related to my timidness at the canter.

                    My trainer worked on my canter by first putting me on a horse with a smooth canter, and then moved me to his 16.3 hh QH. He was impressed with how well I handled the QH and said if I could canter him, I could canter any horse. I am not a perfect rider by any means, but I don't think my riding changed so drastically over 7 days.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Sounds like your horse is getting fresh and is developing a new interest, like his buddy.

                      Maybe your horse is not one that thrives on the good life, but one of those that need steady work to stay trained under your kind of management, no matter what the seller's management may have been.

                      You did right to buy an older schoolmaster and riding him to get used to him steadily.
                      If he really was the super quiet kind, he just should not start having issues now?

                      See what your trainer will tell you when you ask about this.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        He could be buddy sour...or that could be a red herring. I would wonder instead if he is sore. Sitting at the lope uses the body differently than at the jog/walk. Can someone help you check his back?

                        My mare struggled with loping and it turned out to be a suspensory issue and not a training issue.

                        I would consider soundness before blaming your riding, or blaming buddy sourness.
                        Freeing worms from cans everywhere!

                        Comment

                        • Original Poster

                          #13
                          Originally posted by CHT View Post
                          He could be buddy sour...or that could be a red herring. I would wonder instead if he is sore. Sitting at the lope uses the body differently than at the jog/walk. Can someone help you check his back?

                          My mare struggled with loping and it turned out to be a suspensory issue and not a training issue.

                          I would consider soundness before blaming your riding, or blaming buddy sourness.
                          We had a pre-purchase exam done, and we found out that he seems to be a little sore in the left hind leg, probably in the joints. Vet recommended putting him on injectable supplements like adequan. Our vet didn't seem too concerned about it, just saw it as an older horse thing. Previously this horse was stall kept only. Since I have had him, he was first turned out during the day and stalled at night, now he is turned out all of the time, and he seems to be feeling a lot better than when I first bought him.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I would look into his hocks again then. If he was starting to show an issue a couple months ago, it may have progressed to the point it is affecting his comfort loping.
                            Freeing worms from cans everywhere!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Your trainer tells you to sing because it forces you to breathe, which subconsciously helps you relax, or at least keeps you from being as tense. But, if you are up there trying some Iron Maiden or ACDC (child of the 80s here..) you aren't doing yourself any favors.

                              Instead of singing, if you are starting to feel tense, try a relaxing mantra. "easy lope, easy lope" or "what a good boy, what a good boy" say it soft and kind of breathy, like you are whispering those sweet nothings right into your horses ear. Use visualization to relax. Its a process.

                              And wait for your trainer before you try again. Sometimes, even just a trainer's presence is enough to instill confidence, but you could also need some extra guidance.

                              Good luck
                              Last edited by akdraft77; Mar. 13, 2018, 08:42 AM. Reason: Just saw the bit about the hocks - get that checked out before you do anything else.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Here's an easy test: put someone else on this horse, someone who does not have fear in the canter.

                                If they do not have the same issue, then the problem lies somewhere with you, OP.

                                If they do, then you have some sleuthing to do.
                                Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not. Remember that what you have now was once among the many things that you only hoped for.

                                Comment

                                • Original Poster

                                  #17
                                  Originally posted by akdraft77 View Post
                                  Your trainer tells you to sing because it forces you to breathe, which subconsciously helps you relax, or at least keeps you from being as tense. But, if you are up there trying some Iron Maiden or ACDC (child of the 80s here..) you aren't doing yourself any favors.

                                  Instead of singing, if you are starting to feel tense, try a relaxing mantra. "easy lope, easy lope" or "what a good boy, what a good boy" say it soft and kind of breathy, like you are whispering those sweet nothings right into your horses ear. Use visualization to relax. Its a process.

                                  And wait for your trainer before you try again. Sometimes, even just a trainer's presence is enough to instill confidence, but you could also need some extra guidance.

                                  Good luck
                                  It was actually Terry Meyers the clinician who recommended this. He recommended singing Groovy by Simon & Garfunkel especially the part "Slow down, you're moving too fast. You've got to make the morning last now."


                                  Abbie.S - I tried to get my mom to lope him but she was so exhausted she wanted to get going. If I'm having an issue at the lesson, I'm sure my trainer will hop on.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    You are right to ask for help so quick
                                    ly.

                                    Every time you ride you are training the horse. Even a schoolmaster. Every time you get off the horse is a little bit better or a little bit worse. A little bit worse 7 days in a row and you end up with a much worse horse on the 8th day than you had on the 1st day and if you have another 7 days of a little bit worse each day then yes get help now.

                                    The fact that YOU say you are timid in the canter is the key. He can feel your heeartbeat as well as your breathing.
                                    It is better to ride 5 minutes a day than it is to ride 35 minutes on a Sunday.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Something to think about. It sounds like you have completely changed this horses life. Especially with living conditions (mainly stall to all turnout I believe) and less work. I am not sure if he was maintained by trainer or amateur or novice rider before. But it’s a big change and that can affect behavior drastically

                                      for example - I have an old show mare that HATES turnout. She has her time limit which is 1-4 hrs depending on weather. Sometimes less. If you don’t get her at that time she is running the fence and rearing at gate and is a disaster to handle to bring it. And she is terrified if it gets dark. However when kept in stall she is the most novice safe horse you can imagine.

                                      Anogher exampke - my show gelding appears quiet as can be. A novice can ride him when in program. If not in program he falls apart and you have to know what you are doing. If he realizes he can take advantage of someone he will. But with Me or trainer on him he seems perfectly quiet

                                      might investigate the changes in his program as well snd seeing if mimicking his old environment helps

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Few thoughts:

                                        1. It could be hocks. Depending on how slow this slow lope is (like, the really slow 3 legged one?). I would imagine it is much harder for him to maintain the slow pace if he starts to hurt a bit. It's probably easier to run through and offload the hind limbs.

                                        2. It's training. I tend to think it is training and perhaps not training in the sense that you don't have the confidence, but moreso in the sense that maybe there are subtle things that are adding up bit by bit resulting in this new, faster canter. Maybe there are exercises his previous owner did with him or a specific feel he/she had that maintained the ability or even the fitness needed for this canter. I wonder if you could reach out and see what exercises they might recommend.

                                        3. Fitness. Maybe it's the opposite, maybe the increased turnout has him feeling much fitter and more limber, resulting in a bit more pep in his canter.

                                        Comment

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