How to Work on Getting the Right Lead?

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How to Work on Getting the Right Lead?

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  • Getting the right lead
  • How to ask a horse to pick up its least favorite lead

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    07-22-2012, 08:41 PM
How to Work on Getting the Right Lead?

My horse, Rusty, is doing hunters this summer and for the future. He's been doing wonderfully, but I am having a problem getting him to pick up his right lead. I know horses are like people - lefties or righties, and the only way to get that lead is to use it more. We've been doing a lesson a week for about a year, in which each lesson we take the right lead. Rusty is just not improving with it. I have to pull him back to a trot and sometimes do that a few times before getting him to canter on the right lead.

How do I teach Rusty to use his right lead the first time I ask for it? As a hunter, I know it is imperative to be on the correct lead at all times and to do flying leads. Rusty will do auto leads right to left, but obviously he's not ready for the other way around. When he's improved enough to take his right lead accurately, how do I teach him flying lead changes?

These are my two goals. :)
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    07-23-2012, 01:38 PM
Have you tried picking it up in a corner at first to get him to start going on the right lead first?
    07-23-2012, 01:59 PM
Green Broke
That's what my trainer taught me to do-
Set the horse up in a corner, tip their nose in and kinda push there tush towards the rail and that's how my mare always picks up the right lead. It is very hard for her to pick it up otherwise unless I set her up in the corner tip her nose in and push my right leg back to kinda 'push' her tush out.

Not sure if that makes any sence but that's always what I need to do to get my mare on the right lead. The left lead she always picks up perfectly but it's that right lead that we have a very hard time with..
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    07-23-2012, 02:01 PM
Yeah, that makes sense. At least she's picking it up in the corner though :)
Let me get back to you on how to other than in the corner; I know I did it a couple months ago with my friend's horse and her trainer (she doesn't really like jumping and her horse is a great hunter haha)
    07-23-2012, 02:04 PM
Green Broke
Glad that makes sence haha. Very hard to explain unless you can see for yourself. I've had great success with using that method though but otherwise if I don't ask for it in a corner she counter canters (I think that's what it's called?) and it's not fun to sit and kinda dangerous.
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    07-23-2012, 02:16 PM
Totally understand! Haha my friend's horse would do that and she'd never pick up the left lead after a jump of any sort and the trainer would make us do two rollbacks right after it so you had to be on the left lead or it's kinda scary and she wouldn't want to do a flying lead change either :(
    07-23-2012, 02:54 PM
No, I haven't tried that yet. I'll try that tonight maybe and see if he'll do it. Any other ideas?
    07-24-2012, 06:15 PM
Green Broke
My horse recently went through a week long phase where he changed from being better on his right lead canter, to being unable to pick it up at all.

I did a lot of exercises on a 20m circle, making sure he was set up VERY well before asking for the canter- correct bending, not hollow, listening to the aids, etc. and only when he was all there ask for the canter. I have a tendency to be a little weak with my outside rein, so I also concentrated on making sure I had a solid connection there. And for the times that he still picked up the wrong lead, I'd immediately go back into a trot and then immediately ask him back up into the canter.

He's over it now, but strangely he now seems to do better on his left lead (easier time picking it up, maintaining the canter, better balanced, etc.). I can only assume that it has to do with the way he's muscling up, as he was a little underweight and very undermuscled from having the winter off when I bought him. His right lead isn't bad, it's just not as nice as his left
    07-27-2012, 04:50 PM
Using a corner is a good place to start, but if you plan on doing hunters you'll need to be able to smoothly pick up the correct lead where ever you are in the ring. My mare was having trouble picking up the right lead, and I found out most of it was my fault. Make sure you aren't leaning to the inside or crooked in the saddle. When you ask for the right lead, you want to keep your weight on your outside seat bone (the left) and push the horse over with your right leg at the girth. Slide your left leg back a bit to cue the canter. Keep a feel of the outside rein and your horse's head to the inside.

Good luck!

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