Oct 11, 2012

Achieving a Slow Western Pleasure Jog and Lope

One way to help achieve a nice slow jog and lope is rating.  It is a really simple exercise  especially at the jog and can be used as part of your horse's warm up and will really help them get in the mind set you are looking for.  This exercise is especially good for horses who have a tendency to rush when on the rail.

Rating for the Jog
Start by asking your horse to jog for 14 strides, then stop and back up 4 steps.  Then ask for 12 strides, stop back up, 10 strides and so on.  Do this all the way down to 4 strides, repeat the exercise at 4 strides 4 times.


  • Goes beyond just getting the horse to slow down, it also builds muscle in the hindquarters making it easier for the horse to move slowly 
  • Stopping, backing up and trotting back off again is a good way to collect your horse back up if they are becoming "doggy" on you
  • You are also working on your horse's stop and back-up, paying careful attention to what you are doing and making sure to use good leg and voice commands can reduce your need for pulling on the reins
  • Improve your horse's trot off

Rating for the Lope
This is almost exactly the same as for the jog.  Instead of starting at 14 strides though, start at 16 strides, then stop back up, then go 14 strides, stop back up and so on all the way down to 6 strides.  Repeat the exercise 4 times at 6 strides if you feel comfortable, then switch directions and go again.

  • Same as for Jog
  • Also improve's your horse's lope off
  • Helps prevent your horse from wanting to rush on the rail in your pleasure classes
  • Lays the foundation for using the half halt to slow your horse down in the show ring


  1. Great exercises, very simple to use yet so practical. This could also help with timing and feel as the rider is counting strides developing their own cadence and rhythm. This then can correspond to horsemanship, and trail patterns in which being able to count and feel your horse's stride would be very beneficial. The only word of caution I could see from this exercise would be if your horse has a tendency to get behind the bit, in which that much backing might teach them to evade much more. My horse likes to try to shut me out/down by stopping and backing instead of going forward and through - somehow he thinks backing may be easier? Silly horse! Great ideas though!

  2. Yes, true, that can be a common problem and if it is something that is currently an issue, an easy way to modify this is to just stop, then trot back off again, omitting the back up. I know exactly what you are talking about with wanting to back rather than move forwards then.

    Also though, as far as it goes with backing and bit problems, if you teach your horse to back off of your leg cues, rather than just a rein cue, the problem with getting behind the bit can be reduced. When I ask my horses to back up, I lift my hand up just slightly, and close my knees and calves on the horse. That way the back up looks really clean in the show ring.
    *Note, when I ask the horse to go forward, I open my knees rather than close them and this helps to prevent confusion on going backwards vs. forwards.
    Thanks Amy for the comment :)!


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