How do you know horse is on correct lead? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 15 Old 06-06-2010, 04:19 PM Thread Starter
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How do you know horse is on correct lead?

I've been having this problem lately: my qh canter is so short strided when she picks it up from walk that it's nearly impossible for me to tell if she's on correct lead. Even when I look down on her shoulders - still... I mean if we are turning I can tell, but on straight line it's really hard (unless I push her into bigger canter). I used help on ground today (my mom), who was keeping eye on her, but such help is not alway around unfortunately. BTW, I have no problem to tell when I ride my paint (she has big forward canter).
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post #2 of 15 Old 06-07-2010, 12:45 AM
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I used to be able to feel in my hips when the horse was on the right or left lead, but unfortunately that talent has escaped me. I always have to look at the shoulders now.

You could try getting her to extend into a bigger canter. I did that with Jester a lot.

Pssh.I didn't pick up the wrong lead
It's called a counter canter...
...A very advanced maneuver.
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post #3 of 15 Old 06-07-2010, 01:53 AM
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I have the same problem. I have a theory, but don't know if it is correct. If I feel my body jarred a particular direction, say to the left for instance, I assume I am on the left lead. Does anyone know if this is correct? Like you can feel your body "going" either to the left or the right as you canter?

I only have access to trails, no arena, so I have never really been able to practice my leads. Luckily, I have never had a problem out on the trail due to not knowing my leads, but I think this is due to the fact I have a really good horse that knows his leads (I can feel him switch if we canter figure-eights) and not that I have much of a clue as to identifying which lead I am on when when I am riding. Sigh!
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post #4 of 15 Old 06-07-2010, 07:34 AM
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Originally Posted by kitten_Val View Post
I used help on ground today (my mom), who was keeping eye on her, but such help is not alway around unfortunately.
Sorry, no real help, but with some horses like this, I've found that having help on the ground is the quickest way to pick up the association of the 'feel' and the lead.

On the sixth day, God created the Quarter Horse.
On the seventh day, he Painted the good ones.
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post #5 of 15 Old 06-07-2010, 07:42 AM
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TRy just lower your eyes to tell which she is leading on.
If you can tell when you push her canter on is there a possibility she is just being lazy and not really cantering at all id keep asking for that big canter they look nicer then shuffles anywaay

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post #6 of 15 Old 06-07-2010, 08:48 AM
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You should be able to feel with your body ,if its the wrong lead it should feel harder to sit to .
A great thing I would suggest to be able to learn to feel with your body is get a friend to lunge you and you ask for the canter and then she can tell you if its the right or wrong lead then sit to that lead for awhile and feel it out . Eventually you'll be able to feel your leads. You can also take a quick glance down but I always found that hard so I just learnt to feel for the lead .

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post #7 of 15 Old 06-07-2010, 10:07 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you, All! I think I'll use the "ground helper" for while to be sure. BTW, she's so smooth on canter that either lead feels about the same.

MaggiStar, she does canter. :) But it's just very short.
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post #8 of 15 Old 06-07-2010, 03:21 PM
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One of the most important things someone had taught me was how to feel my horse's hind legs. The more advanced you ride, the more important it will be to be very aware (and able to influence) where your horse's hind legs are: stepping forward, crossing underneath himself, about the lift off the ground, etc. It's easiest to feel what his legs are doing at the walk (feel them swing front and back), and then eventually at the trot (much harder! takes a bit of time and practice). At the canter your horse's first step of a canter stride is outside hind, followed by the inside hind (and outside front). If you can tell which leg is stepping when, you can feel if he's on the correct lead regardless of how smooth she is.
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post #9 of 15 Old 07-10-2010, 02:03 PM
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My horse is a small Quarab, therefore he has very short strides as well. I have my trainer, mom, and friends always ask me what lead im on. I concentrate on the way my hips are moving, they should be moving toward the inside. Sometimes I'm right and sometimes im not, but I'm getting better at it. Don't have someone tell you your lead because then you'll learn to depend on someone else knowing for you. Just do what i do and start to get more familier with her canter

"Riding is not Equitation... The moment you believe it is, is the moment you quit riding."
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post #10 of 15 Old 07-10-2010, 10:13 PM
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I was having the same problem, I could never tell if my horse was on the right
lead by looking at her shoulder so one of my friends said watch your leg/foot and most of the time that leg will go father forward and move more than the other when your on that lead. It helped me a lot! hopefully you can understand it. It's kinda hard to explain lol. BTW I ride western!

The hardest thing about riding is the ground! :)
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