I can't take it anymore! (Flying lead changes)
Okay, be aware that whatever I hear here I may not use until this summer when I lease the horse, but I really want to know what to do now.
So "my" horse (I'm one of the only riders 90% of the time) has some serious lead issues. This past summer we did a TON of flying lead change work. We ended up having to ram her into the wall to force her to pick up the correct lead, then circle her so she didn't grab the bit and run then switch her lead back. She doesn't seem to have more muscles one side or the other, as she'll often switch her favored lead. Silly horse. But by the end of the summer she would switch leads about 90% of the time. Sometimes she would "fall" into the lead. She would appear to trip, and then suddenly the lead was correct. I think this was my fault, as I am starting to realize I lean forward into the change instead of staying the same or leaning back.
Anyway, the issue is becoming that she doesn't care if she's off balance. I think this stems from her past (6 years ago) polo experience, where they wouldn't try and change her lead, so she would be very off balance through turns. Today, my trainer told me to counter canter down the straight, then make a fairly tight circle while asking. She didn't change it, she just went faster and faster and faster... Then the trainer basically said "f*** it, she's DOING a flying lead change." So I had to ram her into the wall again.
Ramming her into the wall, unfortunately, seems to work. She learns eventually that the cue to change leads means change or BE HURT! She actually did hit her leg on a wall trying to keep the lead the same a while ago. But since we haven't done a flying lead change or any work on it in a long time, she seems to have lost that mentality.
Sorry for the novel. BASICALLY, how do I teach a horse that doesn't care if she's off balance to change her leads when I ask?
(I'm well aware that it may be a deeper training issue, or just me. I doubt the latter because other riders with more solid positions than I have the same issue. She's not in pain, she CAN do the change.)
"The wise man thinks he knows nothing.
The fool thinks he knows everything."