Where to Get Lead Changes While Schooling?

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Where to Get Lead Changes While Schooling?

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    11-14-2010, 05:37 AM
Green Broke
Question Where to Get Lead Changes While Schooling?

General question....This came about when having a discussion about where lead changes should happen and why.

When riding in a lesson, I always try to get my lead changes between the center and quarterline as often as possible. My theory behind this is that by doing it this way, I am actually getting the horse to do the lead change rather then the horse doing it on auto once he gets to the wall. Another girl that I ride with waits to get to the wall before asking.

Is there really a right or wrong to this? When schooling mind you, not at a show.

If I was at a show (hunter) and I got the wrong lead, I would wait until I got into the corner before I fixed it.
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    11-14-2010, 06:04 AM
You would wait till the corner in a show because you know it makes it very clear to the horse what lead it should be on, right?

I think it's a matter of the stage the horse is training at. When you are first teaching leads, why not do it in the way that the horse is most easily going to figure out what you want?

If the horse is well trained, and knows what lead it should pick up with which cue, then I would say it is rider training that is making them ask in the corner, particularly if she has trained the horse to strike off on the right lead herself. It probably becomes habit :)
    11-14-2010, 06:15 AM
Green Broke
I ride a 19 yo school horse who is well schooled in his leads, so I want to make sure that I am the one asking. This way when I move onto other horses, I know I can ask properly. The other girl also rides a lesson horse who does changes automatically, and will swap before fences, so I guess her theory would be that she wants Maddie to wait till the corner instead of thinking she needs to swap in the middle.

I wait till the corner in a show as that is what I was taught to do, as well as have seen done in the A circuit....but not so that it is clear to the horse. In a lesson, I would correct it as soon as possible, as if I was riding a jumper and not a hunter.
    11-15-2010, 11:12 AM
Green Broke
    11-15-2010, 11:58 AM
I don't have much experience with lead changes, but I was doing them in the middle of whatever pattern it was. In between the two circles of a figure 8, at X when it was across the diagonal, or from B to E. But, my experience was limited to a few lessons. I have no idea if there is a right or a wrong.

Of course, I wouldn't just shoot across the arena during a lesson to change leads, I would probably pick a corner. However, if my horse picked up the wrong lead, I would bring them back to a trot and pick up the correct lead, because I feel that asking them to change leads doesn't really fix the root of the problem.
    11-15-2010, 12:14 PM

The thing that would make sense to me is to ask for the lead change whereever you would logically change the horse's bend. So asking in the corner on a hunter makes sense, not just because approaching the side of the arena provides a visual cue, but because that's where you're going to ask for the bend in the new direction.

Change the bend/change the lead works for all dressage figures too, except the darn 2nd level serpentine with a loop in counter canter
    11-15-2010, 12:15 PM
Green Broke
Thanks ricci. That makes sense.

We usually practise a lead change once each direction in lessons...sometimes a few more times for those that didnt get a "clean" change, or for the kids who did something wrong and didnt get it.

Maura...this also makes sense. I normally try to change the bend before we get to the wall so that we have a more balanced canter going into the corner. Thank you. Bart and I have a few problems with counter canter. Luckily, we are not asked to do it often!
    11-15-2010, 06:18 PM
I avoid changes on the diagonal like the plague. The only ting it does is gets the horse all anticipatey and then you get a tense, jumpy change.

I do most of my changes (on a schooled horse) on the short side from counter canter, on the long side from counter canter or vice versa from true canter to counter canter.
I only do a change on the diagonal if I'm running through a test and it is asked for (although I'll often continue in counter canter if the horse is anticipating only when practicing).

Good luck!
    11-15-2010, 06:21 PM
Green Broke
Thank you anebel. It is true that they do start to anticipate it.
    11-16-2010, 07:51 PM
There really is no "wrong" place to ask. He should change wherever you ask him! In a show, I usually wait for the corners just to make sure he gets it. But in general, it really is probably better to practice them from anywhere so this way your horse will be able to get them even if its in a difficult area (like one time there was a single inside jump with 2 strides to the fence afterwards! You had to set up quickly to get the change) If you've practiced the lead changes from anywhere, your horse should always know what you're asking for!

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