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Flying lead change

This is a discussion on Flying lead change within the English Riding forums, part of the Riding Horses category
  • The perfect flying lead change
  • Plans for practicing flying lead changes

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    12-28-2011, 01:37 PM
  #11
Weanling
I just taught my horse to do flying lead changes this last year, this fall we were able to do them on a straight line for a horsemanship test. It takes a lot of work!

I worked with my trainer the entire way, so I could have another set of eyes on the ground to see when he was getting it or cross firing, etc. Before I even tried flying lead changes I did a LOT of the basics! Control over the hip at all gates is essential, that's where you control a horse's lead. I was once told at several clinics that if you get a horse to change from their hip, you won't have any cross firing problems (99.9% of the time).

After I had 100% control of the hip we had to have control of the leads. I did a lot of counter cantering, and riding down the middle of the arena on one lead, stopping in the middle and asking for another lead (so he understands my cues and it's not just automated by which direction we're going). Like others said LOTS of simple lead changes, and I switched it up by switching through a stop, switching through a walk, switching through a trot, etc. with the goal being have one step transitions.
Two-tracking helps a lot as well, I had to be able to two-track both directions at all gates for my horsemanship test, so we did a lot of work on this before lead changes as well. Another technique I heard of and tried a little bit was a variation of a simple lead change. You canter on circle, stop side pass towards the middle of the circle you just did a few steps, and then canter a circle in the other direction, etc.
When I started actually asking for the flying lead change, I used a pole. It helped my horse understand what I wanted and made it easier for him to perform a flying lead change while still learning it. Soon I was able to take the pole away, and then I just practiced, practiced and practiced. A famous horseman once said (I cannot remember who though... sorry) the best thing for perfecting lead changes is just doing them. He said he would put hundreds of lead changes on his horses. Of course you want to pace yourself, but time is best for a complicated task like this one. It also takes a lot of muscles, so you have to wait for your horse to build them up over time.

After several months of flying lead changes on a figure eight I started asking for them on the straight of way by doing a figure eight around the WHOLE arena, making the changes in the middle.
Like... this:


Slowly I would make the straight part (pink) long and longer, until I was able to canter straight down the arena and ask for a lead change.

I know I'm probably missing some steps, it's been a little bit since I've gone through this and it's not fresh in my mind. You had some excellent tips in the prior posts as well though :)
     
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    12-28-2011, 01:42 PM
  #12
Foal
Okay thanks for the tips:) Ill try what you told me..
     
    12-31-2011, 06:27 PM
  #13
Trained
One thing I do in preparation for teaching a flying lead change is practice moving the hip left and right, and then while moving straight forward. Start by doing turn on the forehand. Once your horse is good at that start moving the hip while moving forward, start at the walk first, then trot. Ride down the quarter line straight for a couple steps, then swing the hips left [using left rein and right leg] for about 3 steps, the straight for a couple steps, then hips right [right rein left leg] for a couple. If you don't have control over the hip you wont be able to do a lead change.
aggiegirl14 likes this.
     
    12-31-2011, 06:58 PM
  #14
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by gypsygirl    
one thing I do in preparation for teaching a flying lead change is practice moving the hip left and right, and then while moving straight forward. Start by doing turn on the forehand. Once your horse is good at that start moving the hip while moving forward, start at the walk first, then trot. Ride down the quarter line straight for a couple steps, then swing the hips left [using left rein and right leg] for about 3 steps, the straight for a couple steps, then hips right [right rein left leg] for a couple. If you don't have control over the hip you wont be able to do a lead change.
Exactly. Hip control is everything!
     
    12-31-2011, 07:46 PM
  #15
Foal
Yes exactly hip control is everything. Practice makes perfect, since your horse already does flying lead changes stick with the same way you ask, however try asking at times. For example put up two cones and start at the first cone and ask for the left lead then right as you hit the second cone ask for right lead, going in a straight line. That will tell you I'd he really understands your cues or just flips because you are turning him the opposite way. Once you can do flying lead changes in a straight line you are good to go, especially if you plan on showing.
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    12-31-2011, 07:47 PM
  #16
Banned
Quote:
Originally Posted by gypsygirl    
one thing I do in preparation for teaching a flying lead change is practice moving the hip left and right, and then while moving straight forward. Start by doing turn on the forehand. Once your horse is good at that start moving the hip while moving forward, start at the walk first, then trot. Ride down the quarter line straight for a couple steps, then swing the hips left [using left rein and right leg] for about 3 steps, the straight for a couple steps, then hips right [right rein left leg] for a couple. If you don't have control over the hip you wont be able to do a lead change.

Shifting the hindquarters so that the horse is in crooked position ( haunches leading) is not what I would recommend.

Although if you are in a local show you probably would not be penalized.

Any attempt to try multiple changes will end up a disaster though so as long as you have no intention of any further training in this area you probably will get away with it.
     
    12-31-2011, 07:54 PM
  #17
Foal
Sorry if that's hard to read my phone likes to auto correct everything :/
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    12-31-2011, 07:57 PM
  #18
Trained
Hip control is important but so is being able to move the ribcage and lifting the shoulder.

If I was loping a circle to the right I will practice counterbending which is basically setting ahorse up for the lead change without asking. After he is comfortable doing counterbending I will lope a few circles normal making sure he is relaxed while he is collected and round. Then I will lope "D" shapes, when I come through the straight part of the D I ask for the counterbend and push him towards the middle of the D by pushing with my left leg, moving the ribcage (he has to move the rib to be able to reach out with the new lead leg) and turn my left wrist like I am starting a car to lift the shoulder and his hips are pushed to the left. He is setup for the leadchange, at this point all I have to do is open the door by releasing my left leg and push him through with my right leg. This is a great way to teach the lead change in my opinion because it teaches the change from the hind to the front and you can use the same exercise to keep him from anticipating. You can lope through, set him up for the change with the counterbend then return on the same path. He learns not to change until you switch legs.

If you want to watch a video on it I really liked Sandy colliers video " De-mystifing the Lead Change". But I would still recommend riding with a trainer.
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    12-31-2011, 08:01 PM
  #19
Trained
I just realized this is posted in English riding....and I don't ride English...priciples should be the same I imagine
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    01-01-2012, 02:38 AM
  #20
Foal
Thanks everyone:)
     

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