Flying Lead Changes
So my new boy Maverick (I've had him since September 2012 but rode him occasionally before that) is 6 years old and still quite inexperienced. However, we've been getting along GREAT! He's a SUPER fast learner and although he HATES pressure, he loves to learn as much as he can! We trust each other a LOT already and I've been working with him a lot!
I decided that I'd like him to learn flies. I've never taught a horse how to do flies before but I've seen it taught and I've done them before so I know how to do it, but I need ideas.
His fly training started today. I started by laying a pole on the ground in the middle of the arena. I'd be cantering on the right lead and then cut across the diagonal and when I hit the pole I'd do a simple change into the left lead and go the opposite direction (like a figure 8). After a few times, he caught onto this really quickly.
Next I tried the same thing, but before I did my simple change, I cued him for a lead change. Course this confused him like crazy, but he obediently moved his hind in and flexed the way I wanted him to, he just missed the change. So I brought him down to a trot and simply switched him like I did before.
After that, I got bored and decided to do the same thing with the figure eight but not to bring him to the trot but to keep asking for the change. I wasn't expecting him to do anything, I wasn't really sure what he'd do but I figured it was worth a shot. So that's what I did and he ended up catching on when we turned at the end of the figure eight. He didn't do a flying lead change, but he figured out that he was supposed to change his lead so he went into a trot for a few steps and switched to the lead I was asking for. So I forgot about the poles and just got him to switch by turning him and whenever I turned him I'd cue him at the same time and he'd change. Still not a fly, but a bit more than a simple change like when we had started.
By the end of the session (I was out there for about an hour and a half or so) Maverick could change his lead by taking one trot stride in between. Still only on a turn, but it was better than nothing!
Just want to know what you think of this? Do you think he'll catch on? I don't expect it over night, and I have all the time in the world. What are some other excersizes that you reccomend for me to teach him? I considered setting up a VERY small jump (Maverick is a phenominal little jumper) and getting him to switch over the jump, but I'm not sure that there'd be much of a point to that. I don't know if it'd work.
Anyway, no harsh critiques please, just looking for ideas. Thanks so much!!