Flying Lead Changes?

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Flying Lead Changes?

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  • Is a flying lead change in a hunter horse different than dressage
  • Using an indirect rein for a lead change

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    12-06-2008, 04:48 PM
Flying Lead Changes?

My leased horse Jackson has been making excellent progress and now picks up the correct leads. When I go across the diagonal, at the canter, we can do a simple lead change, (drop to trot, and push for opposite lead). How can I make him change leads with out dropping to a trot? I was taught to use the indirect rein and out side leg, what do you guys think?
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    12-06-2008, 05:32 PM
To correctly train flying lead changes, the horse must first be balanced in both leads of canter to be able to be collected, and carry over into the counter canter.
Then we start schooling the walk-canter transitions and the canter-walk transitions.
As soon as the horse has mastered the collected canter, in both true canter and counter canter, and simple lead changes through walk, flying changes should not be attempted!
By using an indirect rein and forcing the horse to the opposite lead, we are teaching the horse to disengage the hind end in the changes and not change leads on all 4 legs at the same time.
    12-06-2008, 05:51 PM
Different people will teach different ways. Hunter changes are taught different than western and different from dressage.

I have taught all my horses the following way and never had any problems.

I never try to get flying changes from the canter/trot. The possibility of cross-canter, rushing and an unbalanced canter is too likely to happen.

My preference is walk to canter or halt to canter and I think you will find that a disunited canter is EXTREMELY rare under these circumstances.

I also keep in the back of my mind that horse are notorious for learning something in certain areas of the arena and once done in a certain place and way will repeat that pattern over and over again. That being said I simply teach the horse a pattern.

I will canter a few strides then walk, then counter canter a few strides then walk. I will repeat this exercise for as long as it takes. I usually start on a circle and the amount of canter strides is unimportant in the beginning. If the horse gets excited (some do) then go on with something else and try again later in the ride or another day.

When the horse accepts the back forth pattern on the circle go anywhere in the arena and I find the straight side is very good. In some cases the horse may respond better on the straight side first before the circle and that is also OK.

Slowly shorten the number of canter strides between each change of lead. If you can "feel" your horse you will almost "know" that the horse is ready for the first change from the counter-canter to the regular canter and if it is done on a curve ( corner) you have a very good chance of getting a clean change (front and back). Go back to your "pattern" and wait for the next "opportunity". I prefer at this time to try to go to the halt canter to halt--then counter-canter halt---canter halt--etc, Again when the opportunity offers itself the flying change from the counter canter. It is important to ensure that the horse is walking or halted and not rushed back to the opposite lead too soon. The length of time between each canters are shortened as you go along and the possibility of 2 changes could be possible.

I am sure that you understand that you will need to switch direction from left to right rein so that your counter-canter opportunities will able to be exercised on both leads.
    12-06-2008, 06:39 PM
If the horse has just started to pick up the correct leads he really isnt ready for flying changes. As previously said you need to do a lot more work on both the canter and the counter canter before flying lead changes should be attempted. You also might want to get a trainer to do the lead changes first and then help you with them. It might not be the best thing for a horse that has never done flying lead changes to have a rider that has never done them. But to answer your question, when I ask my horse for a flying change, say we are on the left lead changing to the right, I pick up on my left rein and push him off of my right leg and once he is going forward enough and his body is nice and straight I take off my right leg and release the left rein and apply the left leg.
    12-08-2008, 02:30 PM
Well, my trainer brought this on, she said we were ready for changes (flying). So we started doing changes over a tiny cross rail, we ride more of a hunter/jumper style so maybe I have this in the wrong place. We have gotten are correct leads 99.9% of the time, and he picks up the counter lead when I ask him. He does canter-walk transtitions well, but we are working on walk-canter transitions now, doing an excellent job too! Am Really happy with this horse too, he actually istened to me and made the flying change without dropping to a trot. Say what you want too about my ways of doing things, but I am seeing major progress that I am happy with. Different things work for different horses
    12-10-2008, 07:44 PM
The way that I taught my horse Doc to do flying lead changes was... doing a lot of figure eights to start. Doing a simple change in the middle. Also, if your horse can do a lead change over a jump, put a pole in the corner of your arena and canter over it and ask for a lead change. Something that I learned was that flying lead changes are something that you have to figure out with your horse. It isn't going to happen overnight but one day it is just going to click. I was in a lesson one day and all of a sudden, I had shifted my weight over and he did a flying lead change. Then I attempted it again and he did it then also. Everything just clicked.

With hard work, im sure you and your horse will get it soon :)

Good luck! Keep us updated.
    12-11-2008, 02:01 PM
Thanks Chaos, that's what we have been working on, figure 8's, poles and simple changes, like you said, I hope it will just click with him,
    12-11-2008, 04:53 PM
Im sure it will. :)
It took us a little while for it to click, but it will in time.

Keep us posted :)

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