Borrow a Trainer: The Extended Lope

A horse must be advanced in his training and have the body development to be able to truly extend and not lose his balance. Journal photo A horse must be advanced in his training and have the body development to be able to truly extend and not lose his balance. Journal photo

September 26, 2017
Borrow a Trainer: The Extended Lope
Horse-training tips for teaching your horse an extended lope.

By AQHA Professional Horsewoman Lynn Palm

When a horse performs correctly at an extended lope, he maintains the same rhythm but with a longer stride. The horse is not running with his body flat, like you see in a racehorse or some reining horses, but he lifts his back, steps under himself with his hind legs for impulsion and lifts his front legs, shoulders, neck and head.

When you want to slow down, again there’s no change in rhythm, just a compression of the horse’s stride. The horse should gather himself - rounding his body more, engaging more behind and lifting the back and forehand - before transitioning right back down to the lope without losing any smoothness.

This excerpt from our Borrow a Horse Trainer is full of good tips for extending the lope. Learn more tips from the American Quarter Horse industry’s top trainers with the full Borrow a Horse Trainer e-book.
It’s really an advanced maneuver, especially when it is done well. A horse must be advanced in his training and have the body development to be able to truly extend and not lose his balance.

For any horse to collect, it takes time to develop the muscles and joint strength needed. It does take a little longer to develop an uphill balance in most Quarter Horses because they are built more level, like Thoroughbreds. But that’s also where the power in the Quarter Horse hind end works to his advantage. He has the strength in his hindquarters to really engage his hind legs for an uphill balance. He also has a quality, docile temperament and a mind to learn willingly.
Want to get more advice like this? Check out our Borrow a Horse Trainer e-book and get tips from the industry’s top trainers.

Why should you train this maneuver? You need it for any advanced riding: to go up and down hills on trails; approach a jump; turn back a cow; run large, fast reining circles; extend a canter in dressage; lope over logs in trail; or turn around a barrel. Performing all those well begins with learning the basics of this maneuver for a horsemanship, equitation, western pleasure or hunter under saddle class.

Continue reading more about how to extend the lope on AQHA Daily.