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Wrangling on the Range #111

Sitting the Lope

                        
WRANGLING ON THE RANGE #111


JULIE GOODNIGHT'S CONFIDENCE BOOSTERS

SITTING THE LOPE

To beat the bounce, move your pelvis in a circle.

BY JULIE GOODNIGHT


AT THE LOPE, NERVOUSNESS and bouncing are a feedback loop-each
increases the other. Anxiety causes you to lean forward at the
depart, in anticipation of that initial leap. With your pelvis
tipped forward, you get thrown up and out of the saddle at the
depart and at the end of each stride, as your horse lifts all
four legs off the ground in that moment of suspension. This
heightens your insecurity, which prompts you to lean more, which
causes more bouncing, and so on.

By contrast, when you ride the lope smoothly and confidently, you
relax your lower back, sit down in the saddle, and bring your
shoulders slightly behind your hips at that moment of suspension,
so that you follow your horse's movement as he lunges into the
next stride.

To achieve that ideal, think of using your seat as your primary
aid when you cue for the lope. Push forward and down as if
pushing a swing, and let your shoulders come back a little (just
as they do when you're on a swing).

Then keep "swinging" as your horse lopes-push forward and down
with your seat, then let it come up and back as your hips make a
circle, following your horse's motion. Think of keeping your nose
slightly behind your belt buckle, and your lower back very
supple-even round it a little, as if relaxing back into the
bucket seat of your car.

Now, keep going, keep breathing, and you've got it! 
..........

Julie hosts "Horse Master With Julie Goodnight on RFD-TV and
presents clinics nationwide from her home base near Salida,
Colorado (juliegoodnight.com).

HORSE&RIDER FEBRUARY 2011

To be continued from time to time


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