How to get a smoother lead change?

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How to get a smoother lead change?

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    08-13-2010, 09:39 PM
How to get a smoother lead change?

So I've just started cantering serpentines on one of the mares I ride. She is greatly balanced at the trot, but not so much at the canter. For a while I was just cantering circles, but I LOVE serpentines as an excersize so I figured I'd do them at a canter.

The mare has an automatic lead change, mostly they're flying, sometimes she will break into a trot then canter again, picking up the correct lead. The problem is that when does a flying change, I almost always lose my stirrups or at least some balance. She throws her head up a bit, and really jumps into the change.

I know it's very common with horses not accustomed to flying changes, but my question is how can I make them smoother?

For now, it's back to circles ;)
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    08-15-2010, 06:38 PM
    08-15-2010, 07:22 PM
I would suggest lots of work on flying changes. If she has them, then start directly cueing for them. Circle figure 8's or across the diagonal are good places to ask. Start with canter out of the corner, trotting at x, change the bend, and cue for a lead change. (inside rein outside leg, im sure you know) if she cannot get it right at x, try in the corner. I would do simple changes a few times until she anticipates the lead change, and then try right from the canter, making sure to change the bend. She needs to understand that inside and outside leg and rein are changing, therefore direction is changing, therefore lead is changing. Eventually they should smooth out with practice. Playing around with the speed before the lead change could help too. Collecting her and engaging her whole body before hand could really help..she has to work to change, rather than jumping into it.
Let me know if this helps!
    08-15-2010, 08:13 PM
Are you letting her pick her spot and change when she wants to, or are you cueing her to change?
    08-16-2010, 12:16 PM
I did not cue her to change, she did it herself on a figure 8, which totally surprised me. I haven't done any since because I haven't had time...

I did cue her to change once on the diagonal before this happened, she did well but sped up a little.

    08-16-2010, 03:05 PM
Best thing to do is do not drill them into her.. work on like mayb two and then go to something else you don't want her anticipating. Before you start working on the flying lead changes do lots of transitions and get her really working off her hind end and then when ur actually working on the flying lead changes do some half halts to get her to sit on her haunches more before you cue her to change leads.
    08-17-2010, 12:48 PM
Last night I did circles one way until it was nice and even and she wasn't trying to pop out of it. Then, I would head towards the center and cue a lead change then begin circling at the opposite end of the arena in the opposite direction & repeat. It seemed to work OK, but I guess I'll just have to keep practicing :)


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