Lazy horses tend to do the bare minimum. They have no problem galloping with friends in the field or perking up around feed time, but the moment you ask for some spring to their step their energy is zapped. It can get frustrating! The good news is you can motivate your lazy horse with a few steps!
5 Steps for the Lazy Horse
Step #1- Use subtle aids first. Give your horse a chance to respond to lighter signals. If you start with harsh ones, your horse can become defensive or eventually dull.
Step #2- Increase the force behind the aid if the horse didn’t respond to the light signal. Your horse needs to know you’re serious. Make sure your aid is clear though!
Step #3- Don’t be afraid to get after your horse if they still don’t listen. At this point, your horse may need a smack or strong kick from your legs.
Step #4- Release and reward when they respond to the aid.
Step #5- Start over and ask again. Repeat, repeat, repeat! Over time, your horse will quickly respond with only a light cue.
Tip #1- Don’t hold your horse up… let them make mistakes and break gaits.
For Example: Your horse picks up the lope, but begins to slow. Let them break into the trot, then ask for the lope again. You don’t want to constantly support them by squeezing the entire time you’re in the lope.
Tip #2- Fitness takes time.
Overweight and underweight horses may struggle with intense physical work. Make sure you give them a chance to build up their endurance and strength.
Tip #3- Try it on the ground first.
Use a round pen or lunge line to lope your horse. Follow the 5 steps above in the same way. As your horse is actively trotting, verbally ask for the lope and point in the direction you want them to go. If that didn’t work, then take a lunge whip and smack the ground. And if they’re still refusing, then swat their butt with the whip. You must back off once they lope by quietly standing in the middle.
It will take time to develop your lazy horse’s respect, but eventually your aids will become lighter and your horse quicker to move.
Check out ‘How To Earn Your Horse’s Respect‘.