I can't take it anymore! (Flying lead changes)
 
 

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I can't take it anymore! (Flying lead changes)

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  • Horse no longer does flying lead changes
  • Horse supposdly got lead changes when we leased but not anymore

 
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    12-04-2010, 08:18 PM
  #1
Weanling
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.)
     
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    12-04-2010, 08:29 PM
  #2
Showing
Vet check first and foremost. She may have an old injury from polo where it hurts to be on one lead. Not saying she can't because she obviously has, but it might hurt.

Second. Do you lunge her? When you canter her on her least-favored direction, does she pick up the inside lead, or go into the outside lead?

My advice is to do lots of circles. Spiral in and out at the canter, and eventually it will get so tight she might be forced to switch leads to stay balanced. Don't let her trot, MAKE her canter until you know it's too strenuous to canter anymore. It sounds like maybe she doesn't care about this anymore though, so you might have a lot more training to work on!

As for your trainer running her into walls....that may be the only way but it doesn't seem logical to me
     
    12-04-2010, 08:34 PM
  #3
Weanling
Not running her into walls and making her stop, sorry. Just sort of aiming for a spot past the wall then at the last minute turning, forcing her to pick it up.

I don't lunge her because I'm not good at lunging and I don't want to mess it up, honestly.

I'm almost 100% sure she's not injured. Over the summer her favorite lead was the left. Now its the right. Before the summer it was left... She has no physical reason not to pick it up, she just throws a fit and doesn't.

Thanks for the advice!
     
    12-06-2010, 03:42 PM
  #4
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by equiniphile    
Vet check first and foremost. She may have an old injury from polo where it hurts to be on one lead. Not saying she can't because she obviously has, but it might hurt.

Second. Do you lunge her? When you canter her on her least-favored direction, does she pick up the inside lead, or go into the outside lead?

My advice is to do lots of circles. Spiral in and out at the canter, and eventually it will get so tight she might be forced to switch leads to stay balanced. Don't let her trot, MAKE her canter until you know it's too strenuous to canter anymore. It sounds like maybe she doesn't care about this anymore though, so you might have a lot more training to work on!

As for your trainer running her into walls....that may be the only way but it doesn't seem logical to me
if you canter her in a small circle like equiniphile said will she switch leads? What I did with my paint was I would always ask for the canter in a corner so he was already bent in that direction and picking up the correct lead was natural. If you "run her into the wall" and that makes her pick up correct lead that is a ballance issue. She becomes so off balance she is forced to ether fall or pick up her lead so like equiniphile said do circles and spiral out untill you can canter her around the ring. This all wont happen in one day im sure it will probably take a few weeks. Keep us posted!!
     
    12-06-2010, 03:58 PM
  #5
Green Broke
That technique, whilst producing a lead change as such, will not produce a flying lead change. Sure most horses will switch out their leads when overbalanced dramatically in this way but there is a great deal more to a flying lead change than simply changing canter leads without stopping. This maneuvre is unbalanced and heavy on the forehand, quite the opposite to what you want to see in a flying change.

I would practice simple changes I.e. Figure of eights cantering in both directions, changing leads in the middle from a trot, first do 5 steps at a trot, then 3, then 1. Make sure that she picks up each lead correctly first and foremost. Then practice walk-canter and canter-walk transitions on both leads without allowing her to lean on the forehand and 'fall' into the correct lead. Then I would work on a flying change once she is balanced and responsive. Sure it will take longer but your lead changes will be nice and crisp and no need to run her into the fences!
     
    12-06-2010, 04:27 PM
  #6
Foal
Yes, certainly do a vet check first, and I agree with sarahver as far as training the flying change. Also, if your mare is off-balanced, typically that would suggest she may be a tad weak hind end. I would advise working on poles, hills, transitions etc to try to strengthen her hind end. Once she is a little stronger, work on using those muscles doing circles, figure eights, sepentines etc. As as last suggestion, make sure that you yourself are also in balance.
     
    12-06-2010, 04:31 PM
  #7
Banned
Quote:
Originally Posted by kpptt2001    
Yes, certainly do a vet check first, and I agree with sarahver as far as training the flying change. Also, if your mare is off-balanced, typically that would suggest she may be a tad weak hind end. I would advise working on poles, hills, transitions etc to try to strengthen her hind end. Once she is a little stronger, work on using those muscles doing circles, figure eights, sepentines etc. As as last suggestion, make sure that you yourself are also in balance.
This.....
     
    12-06-2010, 05:28 PM
  #8
Weanling
Quote:
Originally Posted by sarahver    
That technique, whilst producing a lead change as such, will not produce a flying lead change. Sure most horses will switch out their leads when overbalanced dramatically in this way but there is a great deal more to a flying lead change than simply changing canter leads without stopping. This maneuvre is unbalanced and heavy on the forehand, quite the opposite to what you want to see in a flying change.

I would practice simple changes I.e. Figure of eights cantering in both directions, changing leads in the middle from a trot, first do 5 steps at a trot, then 3, then 1. Make sure that she picks up each lead correctly first and foremost. Then practice walk-canter and canter-walk transitions on both leads without allowing her to lean on the forehand and 'fall' into the correct lead. Then I would work on a flying change once she is balanced and responsive. Sure it will take longer but your lead changes will be nice and crisp and no need to run her into the fences!
The weird thing is that she CAN do all the things you just said, she just won't do a flying every time I ask. She can do walk to canter and counter canter very easily.

If I bring her into a small circle on the wrong lead she will not change it even if I ask. The reason for my issue is THAT. She doesn't care if she's off balance at all.

I think she may lack the muscling to make the change easy, as you said. I'm no longer allowed to use the hills on the property (someone fell off going up and broke their pelvis) so this summer I will do LOTS of pole and transition work to make the change easy for her. Maybe then she'll think its easier than just running like a maniac.

I'm also very afraid I'm cuing her wrong, but we're working on that now.
     
    12-06-2010, 06:32 PM
  #9
Weanling
Your problem sounds very similar to the one I had with my mare. She also was a polocrosse horse where they did not care which lead she was on as long as she was fast and obedient. So she was able to just go along on her preferred lead all the time. When I first got her I actually had the chiropractor out before I bought her and it turns out that her right hip was out and that was causing her issues with picking up the left lead as it was uncomfortable for her to put her full weight on the right hind leg. He adjusted her and for a while she was good but then she stopped getting the lead again, so had the chiropractor out again, all in all I had him out 3 times over a 8 month period and now it has been about a year since he has been. The reason her hip kept going out every couple of months was because it took that long to build up the correct muscles on that side for her to be able to maintain it, each time he adjusted her it was not as bad as the time before.

Once that issue was all sorted there was still some training issues to sort through. I also needed to become more competant at asking for the canter. We tried all sorts of things like the small circles and things others have mentioned, but what worked best for me (every horse is different) is actually going out into a paddock and giving her more room to move out and find her balance, we did 40-60metre circles, if she picked up the wrong lead I immediately brought her back and asked again, always making sure she was well flexed in, if after several attempts she still wouldn't get it I would make the circle smaller until she did and then immediately go out into a very large circle, eventually as her strength developed she got better at getting the lead, it went from having to ask her 10 times to get it, to 6, then 4, then twice and now she gets it 99% of the time and it's actually becoming her smoother side because I've done so much work on it lol.

Lena's chiropractic issues weren't very outwardly obvious, not pain, just discomfort, and on the lunge she would still pick up the lead but her right hind leg wouldn't stretch as far forward as it should, same with riding. She would also sometimes trip into the lead like your horse.
     
    12-06-2010, 08:17 PM
  #10
Weanling
Quote:
Originally Posted by boxer    
Your problem sounds very similar to the one I had with my mare. She also was a polocrosse horse where they did not care which lead she was on as long as she was fast and obedient. So she was able to just go along on her preferred lead all the time. When I first got her I actually had the chiropractor out before I bought her and it turns out that her right hip was out and that was causing her issues with picking up the left lead as it was uncomfortable for her to put her full weight on the right hind leg. He adjusted her and for a while she was good but then she stopped getting the lead again, so had the chiropractor out again, all in all I had him out 3 times over a 8 month period and now it has been about a year since he has been. The reason her hip kept going out every couple of months was because it took that long to build up the correct muscles on that side for her to be able to maintain it, each time he adjusted her it was not as bad as the time before.

Once that issue was all sorted there was still some training issues to sort through. I also needed to become more competant at asking for the canter. We tried all sorts of things like the small circles and things others have mentioned, but what worked best for me (every horse is different) is actually going out into a paddock and giving her more room to move out and find her balance, we did 40-60metre circles, if she picked up the wrong lead I immediately brought her back and asked again, always making sure she was well flexed in, if after several attempts she still wouldn't get it I would make the circle smaller until she did and then immediately go out into a very large circle, eventually as her strength developed she got better at getting the lead, it went from having to ask her 10 times to get it, to 6, then 4, then twice and now she gets it 99% of the time and it's actually becoming her smoother side because I've done so much work on it lol.

Lena's chiropractic issues weren't very outwardly obvious, not pain, just discomfort, and on the lunge she would still pick up the lead but her right hind leg wouldn't stretch as far forward as it should, same with riding. She would also sometimes trip into the lead like your horse.
That does sound like her, but she doesn't really have a favored side. Both sides are almost equally balanced and muscled.
     

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