cantering on the wrong lead - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 19 Old 05-05-2009, 08:59 PM Thread Starter
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cantering on the wrong lead

Hello, yesterday I tried out a dressage prospect. He was great in everything EXCEPT his canter espcially going in a clockwise direction he would absolutely not pick up the right lead. My instructor could not even get him to do it. The owner could (western rider) but only by bending his head in the opposite direction to the circle first then bending him in after he picked up the lead. Question: what would cause this and how easy would it be to correct

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post #2 of 19 Old 05-05-2009, 09:24 PM
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its possible that he's not strong on enough on that lead, my TB was what I called "lead sour"
Lots and lots of circles in each direction and work on your cues as you are doing it (obviously) my horse used to get sooooo frustrated with me because when he wouldn't pick up the correct lead I made the circles smaller and didn't give him a break.

If you think that he would make a good dressage horse, don't give up on him just because he needs a little extra work on his canter leads. He may become the best horse you know. If you and your instructor think that you can possibly work with him on it then do it! A little extra work never hurt anyone. =]

Good luck!!!

16 year old TWH Mare named Ginger
3 year old APHA Paint Gelding named Fox.
RIP Evie (Clydesdale) 7.29.09 & Magic (OTTB) 2.23.10
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post #3 of 19 Old 05-05-2009, 09:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boxer View Post
The owner could (western rider) but only by bending his head in the opposite direction to the circle first then bending him in after he picked up the lead. Question: what would cause this and how easy would it be to correct

Typical of western trained horses.

They use the bend outsdide to get the canter/lope. To us dressage people it is totally wrong as the method used is to throw the inside shoulders in ( become heavy) and the horse will then be forced to fall on that shoulder and therefore pick up the inside lead.

It goes against every principle in dressage. The horse can be retrained to go the dressage way but would take some time.
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post #4 of 19 Old 05-05-2009, 09:38 PM
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I was always taught "inside rein, outside leg" to cue for a canter....
(I think.... I can't remember, I do it without thinking now)

Everyone needs to be taught that when learning to ride the canter.


In a western trained horses defense, my cousins horse is western trained and she doesn't have to do that.... it probably depends on the trainer tho, just like it does with any horse, some trainers just aren't smart.

16 year old TWH Mare named Ginger
3 year old APHA Paint Gelding named Fox.
RIP Evie (Clydesdale) 7.29.09 & Magic (OTTB) 2.23.10
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post #5 of 19 Old 05-06-2009, 11:18 AM
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We got a western horse in as a school horse who had a difficult right lead. After several tries we finally figured out that crossing your outside rein across his neck picked it up every time. It took some time to retrain him to pick it up "properly" but it isn't a big deal now.

But, there are a lot of reasons why a horse doesn't pick up a certain lead. Stiffness, lack of balance, lack of proper training, weakness, pain... or any combination of those! I would imagine if soundness isn't an issue it wouldn't be too hard to retrain him.
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post #6 of 19 Old 05-06-2009, 12:06 PM
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Lunging, lunging and more lunging is going to be the best way to fix that. Gradually introduce side reins to encourage an inside bend and when he is consistently getting his leads on the lunge, only then I would start to ride him in the canter. Also riding him in just the walk and trot and working on the suppleness, rhythm, relaxation, contact and impulsion of the horse is going to immensely help his canter. Do a million transitions, literally. If you've gone 20 steps without making a transition then you need to do one, either shorten the stride, lengthen the stride, go to trot walk or halt or transition into a different movement (circle, serpentine, etc..). It will be a long process, but if you do it correctly you'll end up with a great lower level dressage horse, I find most western horses are really well started and responsive.

Good luck! (and get a vet check!)
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post #7 of 19 Old 05-07-2009, 02:24 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks everyone for all of the advice and guidance, really interesting to know. I decided against this particular horse for health reasons (he had poor feet, two splints and clicky hips or hocks-not sure which). Looking at another one on Saturday. It really is good to know all of this about the canter though, makes me feel more confident about it.

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post #8 of 19 Old 05-07-2009, 10:54 AM
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those problems could have very well been the reason he wouldn't pick up the lead.
Good luck on saturday

16 year old TWH Mare named Ginger
3 year old APHA Paint Gelding named Fox.
RIP Evie (Clydesdale) 7.29.09 & Magic (OTTB) 2.23.10
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post #9 of 19 Old 05-07-2009, 05:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spyder View Post
Typical of western trained horses.

They use the bend outsdide to get the canter/lope. To us dressage people it is totally wrong as the method used is to throw the inside shoulders in ( become heavy) and the horse will then be forced to fall on that shoulder and therefore pick up the inside lead.

It goes against every principle in dressage. The horse can be retrained to go the dressage way but would take some time.
My horse is western trained (granted, I was the one who did the training) and he cues leads from which rein I slightly pick up. Right rein=right lead.

I've NEVER ridden a western-trained horse who had problems doing so, most are cued with the outside leg and a kiss. So basically putting the opposite leg of the lead that you want.

I've never ridden and english or dressage horse who had problems with it either. To be honest, I've never really noticed a difference between horses and the way they were cued. Of course, there are slight differences, but all in all it was easy enough for me to pick up.

It sounds more like the horse just isn't conditioned enough.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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post #10 of 19 Old 05-07-2009, 05:22 PM
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Perhaps some trainers get sloppy when teaching the outside leg cue - perhaps it is translating as an outside bend to the horse (though there is a discussion about bending into or away from leg pressure - my horses bend into it,) and then it is never corrected. I honestly don't know, it's just a theory. Or perhaps the rider is subconsciously pulling the outside rein when giving outside leg, though that seems unlikely, unless the rider is direct reining, which doesn't usually happen in western...

I don't know, I've never had a problem picking up leads on any of my western horses, I use outside leg and a kiss, just like sixxofdiamonds said.

Very strange, Spyder, I've never heard anyone say that of western trained horses... makes me wonder. I'll have to do some research, because you've got me curious, ha ha.

Last edited by LeahKathleen; 05-07-2009 at 05:24 PM.
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