Sunday, June 24, 2012

Riding on the road

If you're riding on the road, you'll obviously need to take some precautions.
First of all, make sure that if a car comes, they'll be able to see you. If you can help it, don't go riding on the road at night. If you have to, at least try to wear bright clothing that will help drivers see you.
But another one of the dangers of riding at night on the road is your horse. If your horse gets excited because you've never ridden it before in the dark, it may be very hard to control it, and the cars that pass by won't help.
  Before you go riding on the road, try to get your horse used to the cars. Let it see them from a distance, where it feels it is safe but can still look at the cars. Then it would be a good idea to lead your horse beside the road. That way if it spooks or gets nervous, you can get more control of it on the ground and will be there next to your horse to comfort it.
      When you do riding on the road, be sure to ride to the side, where you'll be out of the way of an incoming car. Be prepared if your horse gets nervous. Don't be surprised if he jumps if a car honks.
It's a good idea to go riding with a friend whose horse is already used to cars. That way your horse will calm down at the sight of another equine. Another reason that's a good idea is because if your horse spooks, or you get into trouble, you have a friend there to help.
   I've ridden on the road a few times, and it is a lot of fun. You've just got to be prepared if something goes wrong. But it's a lot more relaxing than doing work in an arena with an instructor.

Loping a horse

The first time I heard of loping, I thought of a really fast run. But my riding instructor, Claudia Lasater, corrected me.
In western riding (the style I ride) the lope isn't much faster than the trot. It's just a different gait. The trot is more bumpy, though on the horse I rode it was actually pretty smooth. But the lope is a different gait. It's more of a gentle rocking.
 By the way: The lope is the same as the canter, just with a different name. People who ride western style tend to use the word, 'lope' more and people riding English tend to use the word 'canter,' more.
    I actually really like loping, although at first I was really scared of it because once I'd had a bad experience. The horse I'd been riding had had a disease in his feet called Laminitis and he'd crow-hopped (kicked up his heels a little). I'd been able to stay in the saddle just fine, but it had still scared me a little. So ever since then I hadn't wanted to try loping again. But this time I tried it on a different horse, and I actually really liked it. It's not much faster than a trot, and it's like sitting in a rocking chair. You have to work you're body more at the lope, though. Move slightly back and forth. Don't lean too much forward or your horse might take as a sign to speed up.
But once you really learn how to move to the lope, I'm sure you'll like it a lot.