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Flying lead changes (or just lead changes)

This is a discussion on Flying lead changes (or just lead changes) within the Horse Training forums, part of the Training Horses category
  • Horse takes off after flying lead
  • Flying lead changes, getting the hind lead first

 
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    05-08-2008, 05:48 PM
  #21
Yearling
Okay, here is a copy of a resonse I typed about leads at the canter in a thread under the general riding forum.

Once your horse moves forward well with balance, straightness, and rhythm, give the hips in exercise a shot. It is very helpful in them understanding leads, and an easy transition to lead changes and flying lead changes:

Quote:
Okay, teaching hips in will help your horse learn to move her hip over when you cue her. Teaching her to move her hip over when you cue her will help her pick up her leads properly. When you ask for a canter depart, you will first use hips in to set her up, and then ask her to depart. In time, she will quickly adjust and take off with the correct lead with just your leg position. When her hip is in the correct position in the first place, she will lead with the correct leg in the back, which will drive the front into the correct position naturally.

Begin asking for hips in by bending her to the curve of a circle. When her head is soft and flexed in, pick up the outside rein (but not enought to bend to the outside - you just want the touch of outside to be associated with the hip going in). After making contact with the outside rein, keep you inside leg on the girth and slide your outside leg back behind the girth. Next add pressure with the outside leg to say "get that hip over" (it will help to play porcupine game with that area first from the ground so that she will want to easily move from your leg pressure). Next, if she does not make any attempt at moving her hip over, drive with both the outside and inside leg at the same time, and keep contact with the bit (with head still slightly inside). Drive until the hip moves over, even a little. Her head should stay soft and responsive, and in a desirable position...keeping contact while driving will help that.

When she does hips in at first she will want to stop. That is okay, just encourage her to walk back out. Eventually you can do it at the trot, and again she will slow, but again encourage her to trot back out. When she gets it down, use hips in to pick up the correct lead...bend head into direction of lead slightly, ask for hip to come in, ask for canter depart, hold leg position for additional support while cantering if necessary (at first....eventually she should be able to balance herself).

Here is what hips in looks like at the walk...sorry for image quality
http://s242.photobucket.com/albums/f...08Training.flv

At some points he is four tracking, which is a little extreme, three tracking would still get the idea of "move your hip over" okay too...but he is still learning. In the first part where we are walking away, I was actually cueing him to move his hips to the left, but as you can see, he went the opposite direction at first....I kept persisting, and he fixed it though. Teaching it is helpful, but you have to be very exact with your cues...there is some confusion in communication early on, but it makes a world of difference. When I was first really teaching it, he would try to give me extreme hips in when I was asking for a canter depart....oops...you just have to cue very precisely (canter depart for him is hips in position with actual drive from the inside leg, but he would just think I wanted his hip in farther
     
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    05-08-2008, 06:05 PM
  #22
Weanling
Geeze. My horse hasn't been worked in a while and I've never really gotten in to all the stuff like how to feel if your horse has balance or impulsion or anything. Maybe my horse will just be a pleasure horse that I jump on sometimes, but not competitively. I don't have anyone that can train me anyways.
     
    05-08-2008, 09:55 PM
  #23
Foal
Ohoh, I hope I have understood everything that was written before. I didn't read something about counter/false canter. Before schooling a horse in flying lead changes, it's imho essential that it does a correct counter canter. You horse need to know the hints of cause a simple change by bringing it back to walk, a horse length, and strike off at the canter on the other hand. And you should be strengthen the horses muscles by train it in the sideways like travers and shoulder in. The horse needs the sideways schooled skills like balance, strength, and coordination. If these points are fullfilled you can begin with flying lead changes.
Never teach them by changing direction. It's so much harder for the horse and it's not helpful for the correct course of movement. You will definitely loose the lightness and the elegance by training it that way and it will be hard to get it back.
I try to describe my method of schooling a horse in flying lead changes.
Like I said, the horse have to be well trained in counter-canter. And of cause the horse have to be collected and balanced. When doing flying changes, you need the length and the highness of the collected forcanter. A flat canter is impedimental, the horse hasn't enought time to change while galopping.
I you horse is ready to start with the flying thing, you have to strike off at counter canter on a streight line without changing the directions. And then you get it. Teach to strike off in counter-canter from any pace. A flying lead change is nothing else like to strike correctly at the canter from the canter. (I really like this definition, that makes it really easy)
You can also teach the flying lead changes by the simple changes. Simple Changes are Change the lead without trott as we train them in germany. This is also a good way to train the horse in the hint for the different leads. That is also necessary, the horse have to be know which leg is for wich lead. Canter, bring the horse back to walk, and then strike off at the canter again, but on the other hand. Then just shorten the walk beetween the canter and you will get near a flying changes.

I like to teach the flying changes on a strategic favorable point. Straighten the horse on a long side of the manège, by canter a half round in the counter canter and change lead on the beginning of the next long side for example. On this point, you'll get your horse on the hind legs and on the aids (I hope so). Don't ask for much "readjustment" (I know this is the wrong word, but I don't know another for it), just as it's comfortable for the horse. It has to like the spirit of the flying lead changes, it has to do it willingly. You have to find out how much tension your horse needs. If your horse is familiar with the travers, this is a fantastic way: Doing travers to the left, strike off at the canter, bring it back to trott, travers to the right, strike off at the canter, and everytime with the other leg. Your horse will also be acquanted with the aids of the canter on both hands. But this is a really hard way which assumed many know how.

I don't like teaching the flying changes by changing directions and I don't like the way over the pole. The horses takes to learn wrong movements in this way, like bringing the hind legs up while changing or changes off-set with the forehand and the hind legs. The won't doing it by using his hind and back muscles.

I hope that this helps you and I really wanted to hear from your experiences.

Sady
     
    05-09-2008, 10:29 AM
  #24
Showing
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sady
Ohoh, I hope I have understood everything that was written before. I didn't read something about counter/false canter. Before schooling a horse in flying lead changes, it's imho essential that it does a correct counter canter. You horse need to know the hints of cause a simple change by bringing it back to walk, a horse length, and strike off at the canter on the other hand. And you should be strengthen the horses muscles by train it in the sideways like travers and shoulder in. The horse needs the sideways schooled skills like balance, strength, and coordination. If these points are fullfilled you can begin with flying lead changes.
Never teach them by changing direction. It's so much harder for the horse and it's not helpful for the correct course of movement. You will definitely loose the lightness and the elegance by training it that way and it will be hard to get it back.
I try to describe my method of schooling a horse in flying lead changes.
Like I said, the horse have to be well trained in counter-canter. And of cause the horse have to be collected and balanced. When doing flying changes, you need the length and the highness of the collected forcanter. A flat canter is impedimental, the horse hasn't enought time to change while galopping.
I you horse is ready to start with the flying thing, you have to strike off at counter canter on a streight line without changing the directions. And then you get it. Teach to strike off in counter-canter from any pace. A flying lead change is nothing else like to strike correctly at the canter from the canter. (I really like this definition, that makes it really easy)
You can also teach the flying lead changes by the simple changes. Simple Changes are Change the lead without trott as we train them in germany. This is also a good way to train the horse in the hint for the different leads. That is also necessary, the horse have to be know which leg is for wich lead. Canter, bring the horse back to walk, and then strike off at the canter again, but on the other hand. Then just shorten the walk beetween the canter and you will get near a flying changes.

I like to teach the flying changes on a strategic favorable point. Straighten the horse on a long side of the manège, by canter a half round in the counter canter and change lead on the beginning of the next long side for example. On this point, you'll get your horse on the hind legs and on the aids (I hope so). Don't ask for much "readjustment" (I know this is the wrong word, but I don't know another for it), just as it's comfortable for the horse. It has to like the spirit of the flying lead changes, it has to do it willingly. You have to find out how much tension your horse needs. If your horse is familiar with the travers, this is a fantastic way: Doing travers to the left, strike off at the canter, bring it back to trott, travers to the right, strike off at the canter, and everytime with the other leg. Your horse will also be acquanted with the aids of the canter on both hands. But this is a really hard way which assumed many know how.

I don't like teaching the flying changes by changing directions and I don't like the way over the pole. The horses takes to learn wrong movements in this way, like bringing the hind legs up while changing or changes off-set with the forehand and the hind legs. The won't doing it by using his hind and back muscles.

I hope that this helps you and I really wanted to hear from your experiences.

Sady
I really like this response - very clear and concise.
"A flying lead change is nothing else like to strike correctly at the canter from the canter. " is brilliant!
I watched a demo by Anky can Grunsven (sp?) and I know we all have opinions on her riding, but it was what she said that was brilliant: "I'm blonde so I really have to dumb things down for myself. If I want the horse to do a shoulder-in, all I do is ask the hindquarter to stay on the wall and bring the front end in!" and.. when you really think about it, that's all it is. I know you're not asking about shoulder-ins, but this is applicable here as well. Sometimes we confuse ourselves with the technical mumbo-jumbo and forget that it's fairly simple; horses do it out in the paddock naturally :)
     
    05-11-2008, 01:22 AM
  #25
Weanling
Here's an old video of a western riding class I competed in. This class is judged on the quality of the lead changes, and if they change leads exactly in the middle between the cones. There are some other things that go into it, but that's the main thing.

The main problem my horse had in this arena was the very tight space we had to work with (very small arena). Because of this, for my English horse I really had to work to make sure he was driving enough under himself to be able to change, with mixed results. It would have been easier if we had more space and could have had more forward impulsion.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0lG_xAZgvew I'll try to talk you through the lead changes and say what mistakes were made, and what could have been done to correct it. Hopefully this will help you see what some of the problems are that you may encounter.

1st lead change - hard to see, but no obvious problem

2 - he was leaning on my right leg and refusing to get off of it. That's why it was so late. When this happens, (and it WILL happen with a green horse), you have to know how you are going to escalate your aids to get them OFF you're leg. For me, I start with my calf, then add spur, then pop them with my leg. If you have a crop, you might use it right at your heel. Whatever your method, know how you are going to do it. After I added my spur, the lead change itself was actually pretty nice.

3 and 4 - on these changes, he needed a little more forward impulsion (4 more than 3). You can see this by how he popped his front end up in the air, and seemed to get a bit stuck. So I needed to have him working off his hind end more and driving through - basically impulsion.

5 - on this change, you can see very easily how he does not stay straight; right as he changes, he drops that right shoulder out. I needed to block that with my reins, kind of an indirect rein on the right. Also could help correct by driving more with my left leg.

6 - this is one is pretty nice. He stays straight, flat over the topline, and forward

7 - he might have dropped his shoulder some, and also looked like he needed more impulsion

8 - pretty nice with no major problems.

But you can see how easily this horse guides and responds to cues, which is needed to get a nice change.

If you look at this video, right after the first jump (the x-bar), is a very very nice lead change. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FiDKUnFsDkQ&feature=user You can see how easily he gets off my leg, stays flat, and both his front and hind leads change together. The main distance between this one and the other video is that he is moving forward. It makes a big difference with the horses, and makes it a lot easier for them, esp when they are learning.

One other thing to notice - I move him over BEFORE I ask the change (for a right to left, I move him over to the right and then change to left). However, it is almost impossible to see. With a horse that is learning, you would move them over more than this - but it is still not a big move; remember, it's just enough to get that weight shift.

I hope this helps. Let me know if you have any questions.
     

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