4 year old THW with 60 days Professional Training ridden in snaffle and  Australian saddle in arena & trail by intermediate rider.

Question:  "Lakota" is well trained, quiet and a quick learner - really wants to please. The woman I recently purchased him from foaled, imprinted and trained him - she did a great job.

She never had him lope. My wife and I are exclusively into trail riding and we like smooth  "rocking horse" cantors (she has a "tenuvian"). I can get Lakota into a smooth lope when we ride alone. But he falls apart when I try to lope him behind my wife's' horse . 'Puts his head down, rounds his back, jigs and crow hops. It's not much better when he is in front.

I have the same problem (to a lesser extent) with his "running walk" (i.e. he's fine by himself - or when leading in front of my wife - but gets real stiff when following. I just left him with a non-gaited horse trainer that I trust.  She thinks he's just being an "alpha" and plans to lope him alot indoors (in front and behind other horses) then outdoors.

Anything wrong with this plan?

From Panelist Stella

It sounds like a good plan to me! He is still a young horse, and likely when you ride alone, he can remain focused on your commands and what he is doing. 

Likely he's not used to being ridden in company, and is focusing on impressing his new company(since he also "comes apart" in the running walk); plus, training for the canter is still new to him, not "locked in" yet. Many young horses need considerable work on first finding their best "natural" speed to maintain correct cadence and execution, and once conditioned for the canter and the collection it entails, then its easier to collect more, 
or less, to be able to maintain the gait properly at various speeds. Its just as much a matter of developing condition for them to control the correct response - even if their "head" wants to do it, the body must be in shape to respond "as requested."

The trainer has a good plan to get both jobs done...work more on developing the canter, and also for him to get used to working in a group of horses regularly, so it becomes "old hat."


From Panelist Lee

Not that I can see -- the horse needs practice doing the thing he doesn't do well, and if it is loping with other horses, practice loping with other horses ought to work.

Hope it all works out well.

Lee Ziegler

From Panelist Liz


This being a young horse can be a perfectly normal reaction to getting excited. I think your plan is a good one. Sounds like patience, miles and experience are what is called for in this case. In the right hands your horse will get over this.


From Panelsit Steve

No. It is what I would do.

Steve Chasko

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