Leads - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 9 Old 02-20-2013, 08:07 AM Thread Starter
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Leads

I was just watching a video of the FEI Endurance Championships, and the horses (who were STUNNING, by the way!) cantered most of the way. Do you ask for a specific lead when you're on an endurance ride, and do you have to switch every so often to make sure one side isn't weaker?
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post #2 of 9 Old 02-20-2013, 08:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Horatio View Post
I was just watching a video of the FEI Endurance Championships, and the horses (who were STUNNING, by the way!) cantered most of the way. Do you ask for a specific lead when you're on an endurance ride, and do you have to switch every so often to make sure one side isn't weaker?
First, you are mostly going to be trotting. There are three reasons you see most people looping in those video:

1) They're FEI and it's a lot more competitive than AERC. I, and most people in my area, tend to avoid the few FEI rides in our area because there tend to be more people who are in it for the competition and that comes with less support, camaraderie, and more people who are willing to put their horse's well-being at risk in order to win. Granted, there are those in AERC that do that as well, but it's more often found in FEI.

2) They're very experienced. I highly encourage you to begin with LSD (Long, Slow, Distance) as that is the only way to truly build up your horse for endurance. If you choose, you can add speed later, but for now, you should focus on simply finishing.

3) These are videos - they're going to show off horses at the most exciting 5 miles o so - the part you don't usually see are the 45-95 miles where they're just plodding along and it doesn't make for very good video haha. Horses and riders perform differently when they know eyes are on them - just as every horse with its head up and ears forward for every endurance picture going "OMGOMGOMG - Monster in the bushes with a giant, clicking mouth that's going to EATME!!"

Now, to answer your question, yes, when you lope, you do want to switch leads every now and then so that you strengthen/wear out the horse evenly. Same goes for posting - you need to switch which leg you're posting on every now and then. You might be surprised at how easily they train us to get comfortable posting on the same leg all the time when we're not paying attention!
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post #3 of 9 Old 02-20-2013, 08:48 AM
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Oops loping, not looping lol. Of course, they're probably looping back to camp and a little loopy, too ;)
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post #4 of 9 Old 02-20-2013, 10:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Horatio View Post
I was just watching a video of the FEI Endurance Championships, and the horses (who were STUNNING, by the way!) cantered most of the way. Do you ask for a specific lead when you're on an endurance ride, and do you have to switch every so often to make sure one side isn't weaker?
I canter depending on terrain ... mostly sandy conditions as it can strain ligaments and tendons to trot through sand, especially if it is deep and/or heavy. When I do canter, I do alternate leads depending on her fatigue level. I will start with her hard lead and alternate through the race, and as she gets more tired I will switch to the easy lead. It also depends on the trail, too, as I try to look ahead and determine lead if there is a bend or turn. Practicing flying lead changes for a sandy race is very helpful.

I also make sure to alternate my diagonal when trotting in a race, too. Some races it's easier to think about than others.

FEI races are notoriously flat and sometimes sandy, so it is necessary to canter though the sand and easier to canter across a flat than varying terrain.
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post #5 of 9 Old 02-20-2013, 03:15 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by 2SCHorses View Post
FEI races are notoriously flat and sometimes sandy, so it is necessary to canter though the sand and easier to canter across a flat than varying terrain.
Ahh all that about the leads and diagonals would make sense, here's
I am absolutely fascinated by the grey's canter, it's gorgeous!!
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post #6 of 9 Old 02-20-2013, 04:10 PM
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Are you planning on doing AERC or trying FEI? If you want to go for AERC, I highly recommend checking out Equine Photography and Tales - Welcome to The Equestrian Vagabond Merri Melde - She's made quite a few slideshows and videos of the rides in our area with her nifty helmet cam. You'll have to explore her stuff, but I know for sure she posted the videos on her blog. You might have to search a little.
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post #7 of 9 Old 03-02-2013, 11:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jillybean19 View Post
Oops loping, not looping lol. Of course, they're probably looping back to camp and a little loopy, too ;)
I'm glad that you clarified that. I sat there and tried and tried to figure out what looping meant............

Celeste
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post #8 of 9 Old 03-02-2013, 08:18 PM
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my personal answer is YES, change leads both cantering AND the diagonal you are posting on at the trot every 1-2 miles or so.
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Clippityclop is finally getting to spend some time in the saddle!
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post #9 of 9 Old 03-02-2013, 10:34 PM
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My definition of Looping - making more loops than required due to spending too much time looking at the pretty butterflies and gossiping with your riding buddy than paying attention to trail ribbons.

GUILTY

Clippityclop is finally getting to spend some time in the saddle!
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