Just spent four great days at the “Home Ranch” in Clark, Colorado. Great meals, great people(staff and guests) and great scenery and accommodations make for a very enjoyable time.
I have never missed the morning wrangle of getting the horses in in all the years I have been going there. It is just a great way to start the day to get horseback and trot out and bring a bunch of horses in. It is the best thing in the world for a young horse to get them moving out and forward with their mind.
I like to long trot. When you trot it is real easy to to keep your horse with you mentally and physically. You can swing them up to a real extended long trot and them shorten it up to slow down and the horse stays with you mentally because of the way his body moves in the diagonal of the trot. It’s easy to keep a horse soft in the trot and not get stiff in the face and through his body. In the trot, the balance point of the horse is right with you or under you, and it is easy to speed up or slow down.
The lope is a gate that three feet are going together. The horse must push much more from behind and has lots of momentum up and this sends the mind out forward and puts the balance point ahead of the horse and rider. With a young horse or one that wants to run off, it hard sometimes to bring the balance point back with the reins because it is way out in front. With a horse that might want to go quite a bit, I feel it is important to take them from the long trot up to the lope and then bring them back to the trot before they get scared and the balance point is so far out there you can’t bring it back. This is what is so great about jingling horses in. They draw the horse your on forward and you can bring them back. If you can do it strait and not circle or bend the horse, it really helps to get the the mind and the feet much better and the horse understands much quicker.
Most of the guest want to lope. It is very exiting for them. They all take off and most of them are behind the action and out of control and that is a big thrill. When they take off they want to be in the lope as fast as possible, and if they weren’t on good horses, they would be way behind the balance point and the more they bounce and flop the more they would be sending their horse forward.
If they were riding a colt or less experienced horse they would have a huge wreck. This is the challenge of having a dude horse. You need something safe but responsive enough for the guest to enjoy themselves. Tough to find a horse that fits the bill and harder to keep em good.
I rode two nice young horses while at the Home Ranch, and halter broke a baby. I really enjoy that part of my time at the ranch. I get to ride and make changes on horses for the better. It’s such a great feeling I get working with these horses. To make positive changes without using excessive or the wrong kind of pressure is what I really am working on and enjoy so much.
Sitting on the plane headed to Calgary I was thinking things over. I think lots of people are loping through life, on the edge of a runaway. We try to do to much to fast sometimes and our horse runs off, or we don’t do enough and our horse(life) gets dull and we don’t get very far. When you are in a long trot you can still see what you need to see, and if you need to lope it’s an easy transition, just as slowing down and enjoying things is.
This is a pretty good way to think about it. I want to be at a long trot most of the time when I’m horseback, but able to move up to a lope or run if I need to, or slow down to a walk and enjoy the ride. I think I will try to live my life the same way.