Picking Up the Wrong Lead

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Picking Up the Wrong Lead

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  • Wrong lead during riding
  • Horse picks up wrong leads

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    07-31-2010, 09:35 PM
Picking Up the Wrong Lead

My horse continually picks up the wrong lead. When I ask him to canter going right rein, he picks up his left lead. Going left, he picks up the correct lead. It takes a few tries to get him to pick up his right lead canter.

I ask him by bending slightly to the inside, Sliding my outside leg back, sitting back, pushing with my seat, giving with the reins, and squeezing with my legs. I always look up during transitions.

He seems a bit stiff/uncomfortable on that side, but he's perfect left lead. Any suggestions on building muscle on the one side? When he picks up the correct lead, should I keep him cantering for a while to stretch out the side and build muscle on the side?
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    07-31-2010, 09:48 PM
Get a new saddle that fits him properly.
    07-31-2010, 11:41 PM
Green Broke
MIE has a really great point, one that you might want to point out to your parents when they're dragging their feet looking for a new saddle. Horses are usually stronger one side, just like people. It's our job as riders to get them as equally balanced and strong as we can on both sides. There are a lot of factors that can hinder that. 1) make sure YOU'RE riding balanced and straight. 2) make sure you're asking very clearly (with the proper cues at the proper timing). 3) make sure you're working your horse properly so he can build up muscles on the weaker side. And lastly 4) ELIMINATE ALL PAIN that could be causing the reluctance to pick up the lead. If your saddle doesn't fit your horse there's a very very good possibility that it's causing him a great deal of pain, making it very difficult for him to even walk in a straight line much less pick up a right lead. If your parents simply can't afford a new saddle right now then take the advice of your instructor and at least get a wither pad. IMO it's better then nothing and they're usually not too expensive. Then immediately start saving up for a good quality used saddle, one that has been fitted properly to your horse.
    08-01-2010, 02:17 AM
Green Broke
Saddle fit definitely number one priority. Eliminate all pain.

Besides that, always ask on corners, perhaps trot on a 20m circle for a bit, really establishing a bend. When I asked my horse to canter I always only used my inside leg but just pushed my outside back a little - maybe your aids are confusing.

My horse used to pick up the wrong lead and my instructor taught me to spiral in and ask for a new lead. My horse would generally change, if he had to he'd drop to a trot for a second and pick up the correct lead and continue on. After doing this spiral a few times he'd always pick up the correct lead.

Perhaps walk to canter transitions would help? Often horses just sort of run into the canter and a lot of the collection, flexion etc is lost. You might find walk to canter easier to give clear, concise aids.
    08-01-2010, 10:08 PM
I had the same problem when my horse was first off the track. I used shoulder-fore and hanches in at the walk mostly, to gradually build strength in his left hind leg and right fore. It worked great. He's so balanced now, you'd never know he had a favorite lead.
    08-11-2010, 04:14 AM
Green Broke
Ruling out soreness as everyone else has said is number one....

I was always taught to put my inside leg on first then ask with my outside leg so there wasnt confusion.

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