Canter Cues? Picking up the left lead - The Horse Forum

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post #1 of 11 Old 11-09-2011, 12:50 PM Thread Starter
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Smile Canter Cues? Picking up the left lead

Hi Everyone!

I recently bought my favorite polo pony from my college team after graduating. I had played on the team for about 3 years and Spot (original I know, but she has a big white spot on the top of her butt =P ) was the best pony I'd ever played on.

Now that's she semi retired from polo I've been working on general riding with her. No more double bridle with standing martingale! She's fine going out in a simple snaffle. However, since polo is a very right lead sport I'm having problems with her picking up her left. I don't think she knows actual canter cues. Give a squeeze and she canters right off...but always on the right lead.

I've been working on circles of varying sizes as well as figure 8s to help her balance.

Anyone have any tips for me to teach her to pick up her left lead, and/or cues to help her with it?

Thanks!
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post #2 of 11 Old 11-09-2011, 12:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Peonyckw View Post
Anyone have any tips for me to teach her to pick up her left lead, and/or cues to help her with it?

Thanks!
Answer can depend on what discipline you plan on and what aids you currently use.
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post #3 of 11 Old 11-09-2011, 01:09 PM Thread Starter
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I currently use her as a trail horse, but I'd like to do some basic dressage with her. However, after playing polo for about 6-7 years we'll see how we do with that. =P

Right now, I'm using a bit of outside leg and letting her head drift slightly to the outside. I'm also asking her right before going into a corner. However, she keeps on picking up her right lead. She'll do a flying lead if I circle her, but once out she out of the circle she'll go back to her right.
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post #4 of 11 Old 11-09-2011, 01:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Peonyckw View Post
I currently use her as a trail horse, but I'd like to do some basic dressage with her. However, after playing polo for about 6-7 years we'll see how we do with that. =P

Right now, I'm using a bit of outside leg and letting her head drift slightly to the outside. I'm also asking her right before going into a corner. However, she keeps on picking up her right lead. She'll do a flying lead if I circle her, but once out she out of the circle she'll go back to her right.
Applying aids from walk to trot to canter.
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post #5 of 11 Old 11-09-2011, 03:20 PM
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It could be possible, since she is dropping off that lead, that the muscle development on her off side isn't quite up to par. Yes, she may be fit, but since she mainly used her right lead, her left muscles wont be the same as the right.

It is impossible for a man to learn what he thinks he already knows. --Epictetus
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post #6 of 11 Old 11-09-2011, 03:26 PM
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if you let her nose drift to the outside they will typically pick up the outside lead, you want to have them w their nose tilted to the inside to pick up the inside lead

"The horse you get off is not the same as the horse you got on; it is your job as a rider to ensure that as often as possible the change is for the better."
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post #7 of 11 Old 11-09-2011, 10:08 PM
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I have often tipped the horse's nose to the outside for an inside lead. Horses running loose do the same thing. As you ride the walk see if you can tell when her outside hind hoof strikes the ground. Get someone to help you until you can feel it every stride. As the hind is beginning to leave the ground that is the time to apply seat and leg. You are working with the motion of that leg. If your timing is fairly good the horse should strike of on that hoof and on the left lead. She likely won't hold it because of imbalanced muscling and muscle memory. I'd also try tighter circles to try to hold her onto that lead, even if for only a few strides. Always give her a little break for each successful try.
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post #8 of 11 Old 11-09-2011, 10:25 PM
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I have often tipped the horse's nose to the outside for an inside lead............As the hind is beginning to leave the ground that is the time to apply seat and leg..

Can't agree with this.
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post #9 of 11 Old 11-10-2011, 12:05 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the responses!

@Velvets: I was thinking the same thing, so we'll continue doing more left work. =)

@Saddlebags: I'll give it a shot! I'll have someone help me out with the timing.
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post #10 of 11 Old 11-10-2011, 12:09 PM
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if your asking from a trot which is a two beat gait and you want to pick up the left lead start trotting in a circle to the left insure that you have flexion to the inside and ask for the canter when the horses front right leg/shoulder is coming forward

"The horse you get off is not the same as the horse you got on; it is your job as a rider to ensure that as often as possible the change is for the better."
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