Helpp getting my OTTB to pick up the right lead? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 12-01-2012, 09:07 PM Thread Starter
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Helpp getting my OTTB to pick up the right lead?

So my OTTB has a hard time picking up his right lead.( I know shocker right!) I know they never go right when raceing and have no reson to pick up the right lead.He is 7 and has only been off the track for 5 months.He is a very quit but likes to counter bend to the right (Not that big of a deal can be fixed with a little work) and not pick up the right lead.Other than that he is pretty good.My other horse picks up the right leads if i bend him and ask with my inside leg.He has spoiled me i know.Lol.Also He is a bit pushy on the ground.He is not bad just need i bit of ground work.I know ground manner dose not make the horse run any faster so as long as they can get them out and on the track with no deaths it's ok Any ideas? Plz not rude comments.I am a new at onwing a OTTB so i thought i would ask y'all who may have onwed or worked with one for a lilttle help .I have worked with a couple OTTB but they we not as fresh of the track so they had been worked with some.Yes he has not raced in 5 mounths but he also has not be rode more the a couple time,nor has he been worked with about ground manners.

Thank you for any help!
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post #2 of 6 Old 12-01-2012, 10:03 PM
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Does he pick up the right lead when you lunge? It wouldn't be a bad thing to try out.

My filly had a hard time picking up the left lead and now she takes it like a champ.

What I did was work on getting her soft on the left side (however for you I would do the right side). Do circles and get her flexing and bending his head to the right. When he is soft and supple on the right side start asking for the canter.

Stop immediately when he picks up the wrong lead, do a circle to the right until you feel that hes soft, etc., and for the right lead again.

Hope that helps!

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post #3 of 6 Old 12-01-2012, 10:05 PM
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Racehorses actually do use both leads, on the stretches they usually switch (depending on the length of the race) to rest the left side. But, it is still quite common for it to be tough to get them to pick up the right sometimes.
Firstly you need to make sure your horse is balanced and collected and understands your cues. Can he pick up the right lead on the lunge? Or free lunging? If so, just keep trying when you're coming out of a turn/corner of the arena, that should help. Make sure you sit up, half halt, and really use your left leg to displace the hindquarters. Also, make sure the horse is up off his forehand enough to canter in the first place.
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post #4 of 6 Old 12-01-2012, 10:05 PM
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I read something from a racetrack trainer that the fact that they never go to the right is false. Apparently they change leads from the left to the right on the straightaways-it may just be your horse :)

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post #5 of 6 Old 12-02-2012, 08:33 AM
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Race horses are sometimes a little more supple to the left but not always.

Race horses gallop and run approximately 1/2 of the time in the right lead -- always.

It is a totally false concept that they only go in their left lead. They are taught to change to the right lead (if they do not do it on their own) at the head of the stretch and the head of the back-stretch. If a horse does not change leads, it places so much stress on his left front leg that he will break down. When race horses fail to change to the left lead going into the turn or to the right lead coming out of a turn, the jockey or exercise rider will either pull him up or will at least tell the trainer when he gets back because it is frequently the first indication that a horse is sore in the leg on the lead he does not change to.

I used to retrain a lot of OTTBs and OTTQHs and never had lead problems if they were sound. I started out by doing a lot of suppleing exercises.

The first exercises I did were 'leg yielding' exercises. If you have not done these before, you need to have 'eyes on the ground' to tell you if you are getting bend throughout the horse's entire body and not just a bent neck while the horse just move over. The horse has to bend through his whole body. If you do this in a ring, try to keep the horse parallel to the rail as you 'push' him over. If I was riding in a ring, I did 'half circle and leg yield to two track back to the rail' exercises. You always want to leg yield away from the gate or barn or other horses. [This, by the way, is the first thing I teach a green colt -- as soon as I get good forward movement -- like the 3rd or 4th ride.]

It is very important to supple ex-race horses because they are really bad about dropping a right shoulder when going to the right. They are very 'good' at making a rider use the left rein to keep them from 'falling into' a right circle or using the right rein when going to the left.

If your inside leg cannot keep your horse from falling into a circle, he is not 'centered' enough to expect correct lead departures.

The opposite is also true. If he is stiff and you have to pull on the right rein to get a right circle, he is still not centered. If you have to 'pull' a horse into a circle, he will almost always take the outside lead because when he pulls on you, he is putting his weight into his outside shoulder. This is also true on the longe line. Any horse that is pulling hard on the line will almost always take the outside lead because that is where his weight and energy is going.

If you get this horse to leg yield both direction and he stays centered but still does not pick up one lead, then you need more hip control.

One way or the other, they ALWAYS TELL YOU when they are ready to pick up leads correctly. When you ask them prematurely, you risk them making a 'thing' about a lead and making up their minds that they WON'T take a certain lead. Then, you have to do a LOT more suppleing, obedience and centering exercises like you have to do on any other horse that is spoiled on leads.

ps. I though I would also mention that when re-training horses off the track, I always taught and used a 'one rein stop' a lot. I used one rein instead of both until they were ready to stop by barely picking up both reins. I NEVER tried to force or 'pull' a horse into a stop with both reins until he was willingly stopping. When I teach a one rein stop, I DO NOT let a horse disengage its hind end as part of a stop. I do not want a horse 'throwing' its butt out. I just it them to 'give me its heads' and STOP.

Hope this helps.

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post #6 of 6 Old 12-02-2012, 05:53 PM
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Have you ruled out physical reasons for him not wanting to do this? Racehorses tend to have sacroiliac & other problems - especially as he raced for so long - which could mean he is not able to do as you ask. Other possible issues could be saddle fit, rider balance, teeth/neck issues, feet, etc.
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