Wednesday, October 7, 2009

It's All Relative.

Tonight I just did a quick ride. He was good all around. I was riding during a jumping lesson (just the 1/2 that they were on the flat) and I was pleased to realize that while we were loping we were not catching up to the trotting horses. Well, we caught up to a 14.2 horse eventually, but for the most part we were staying in speed with them all. When I ride alone, especially, I have a hard time feeling if we're loping slowly enough. I really don't like to go "fast" anymore at all so everything over a collected canter feels like the Derby to me. (Wuss, I know.) I got a comment on my last show video complimenting my ability to collect Junior into a lope. I also thought while watching my videos that I could (and probably should) let him stride out during the English classes at the canter and that my lope did look pretty decent. It's nice to be around other horses and NOT catch up to them to remind me that we're not going as fast as I think we are! I'm going to keep working on slowing him. I don't make him go slow all the time. His canter is much smoother than it used to be and he never really rushes or anything anymore so I usually let him canter a few laps before I start to ask him down. I'm going to try to translate our success at jog-posting trot-jog into lope-canter-lope next. We'll see how that goes!


  1. One of my goals for this winter, when we'll be riding indoors most of the time, is slowing down John's gallopy canter. He really doesn't understand why he shouldn't cover as much ground as possible at all gaits. It's going to be tough. Do you have any tips?

  2. I'm the first to admit I don't know a darn thing. I just do what my trainer tells me to do and I ask a lot of questions, A LOT of questions. But here goes; What we work on for collection is rounding his back. I urge him to do this with light spur under his belly and asking him to flex at the poll. He does this better with a bit that has a curb chain/poll pressure than he does with a plain old snaffle. Once he's rounded he usually wants to stretch his neck back out and relax. I just keep asking him with leg pressure and rein pressure, sort of pushing him into the bridle so for us it's a combination of taking shorter strides AND slowing down the legs for that western lope. Most of our ability to also slow down while we collect is from our work a the jog. His jog is AWESOME when he's on task. His lope is coming slower but really started to come around about August. He's learning that when I ask him to slow at the lope it's just like when I ask him to slow at the jog. He's finally sort of getting it. Mostly. When we started I had a bad habit of jerking on him a lot and it took a while for me to develop the "ask-tell-make" cueing that I fell better about now. It's getting easier for me to ask him to slow down in a way that makes sense for him. It really helped me to watch my trainer ride him, too. I'm a visual learner so seeing how she was asking him to collect and then seeing what his body did I was able to visualize better while I was riding. I don't know how else to describe it. I guess that's why I teach theatre instead of riding! LOL!