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post #1 of 13 Old 06-27-2009, 12:19 PM Thread Starter
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How did you teach your horse to...

How did you teach your horse to pick up his/her correct leads, and if they didn't what did you do to correct it.

I have a green horse that only got basic training and I would like to further it, I don't have a roundpen or riding ring so I will need to work on it in small circles. I do have alot of trails that I've been riding him on though.
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post #2 of 13 Old 06-27-2009, 12:20 PM Thread Starter
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He's four years old and I want to do Hunter/jumper with him, nothing big but hes so versatile that he can do it. Where do I start and what does he need to know?

I have all the time in the world so let me know!
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post #3 of 13 Old 06-27-2009, 04:09 PM
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Hmmm... let's see if I can remember back 5 years

When my guy was 4 and learning leads I always set him up in a shoulder-out before asking for the canter. He wasn't balanced enough to keep himself bent the correct way yet. So, shoulder-out and then ask for the canter. Most of the time he got the lead, since his head/neck was counter balanced to the outside (if that makes sense). He got lots of pats and "good boys" for that. But, if he didn't then I just brought him back to the trot right away, set him up and asked again.

My horse has always had minor balance issues at the canter, we're actually just now resolving them... so yours might not need the whole shoulder-out thing, but it's worth a try if all else fails.

Mom to 3 bays: Beau, Daisy & Cavalina
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post #4 of 13 Old 06-27-2009, 04:56 PM
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I would leg yeild to the corner and then ask for the lead. For the weaker side, I used shoulder-in to build up strength on the weaker hind leg.
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post #5 of 13 Old 06-27-2009, 09:55 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks everyone!
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post #6 of 13 Old 06-27-2009, 10:00 PM
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When I got my warmblood he could not canter worth a crap. Not even when I would play with him at Liberty in a round pen. I never saw him canter out in the pasture. When he would canter, he would always cross fire. Turns out he had some big chiropractic issues going on, so after a couple adjustments he was much better.

I basically started on-line first, asking him to canter so I could identify his weakness, be it unconfidence or unbalance. For him, it was a combination of both. I worked out the confidence issues first and then introduced him to Karen Rohlf's ground exercise called "finding the sweet spot." I HIGHLY recommend it!! I started at the walk, then progressed to the trot, then eventually the canter. I also worked him on hills to build balance and strength and when riding I was very patient and used a figure-8 pattern to set him up for his leads. I also asked him to find this "sweet spot" while riding as well.

His canter is now LOVELY! It's so nice and smooth and balanced. That's what has worked for me.
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post #7 of 13 Old 06-27-2009, 10:14 PM
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For starting leads I believe that you first have to teach your horse to move off the leg. In doing so, you'll be able to move the shoulders, hips, and ribcage.
A lead departure starts in the hind end. Keep the shoulder out, hip in, and nose tipped in. NEVER pull the horse's head away from the lead. It encourages the horse to drop his shoulder...leading to falling on his forehand...and then losing his sense of collection.
Once a horse knows how to move off the leg, all you need to do is slide your heel slightly back to move the hip in. If the horse is stiff in the forhand, I'll add inside leg up by the girth to put a nice break in the ribcage and shoulders.
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post #8 of 13 Old 06-28-2009, 12:00 AM Thread Starter
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All this will really help me. Thanks
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post #9 of 13 Old 06-28-2009, 10:29 PM
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I'm not sure if this will be helpful but I once had to retrain an older horse that had been cantering on his left lead both directions most every time for about 12 years.

I started out having my instructor tell me when he was on the wrong lead because I couldn't feel it yet and then I'd have him stop and we'd try again and again and again until he took up the correct lead. At first when he got the correct lead I'd have him canter for longer but we eventually realized that that was kinda backfiring and causing him to pick up the incorrect lead more and more.

We figured out that his perfect reward for cantering on the correct lead was to stop and be given a carrot piece(just taking a break is probably fine in most cases but this horse was a cranky old man who needed a little extra motivation to even want to canter without bucking, haha). When he'd canter on the wrong lead I'd make him canter for 2-3 circles of the arena but when he'd canter on the correct lead he'd get to stop after 2 or 3 strides and eat a carrot piece. He caught on pretty quickly and through that I inadvertently taught him how to canter immediately from a walk. It's pretty tight when you're riding a horse that can canter from a walk, it's so much comfier than having to transition through the trot. Haha

Good luck! =)

Fabio - 13 year old Arabian/Lipizzan gelding

Rest peacefully, Lacey.
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post #10 of 13 Old 06-28-2009, 11:22 PM Thread Starter
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I will have to try that! Anything with food involved Guns will give it his all xD
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