A friend of mine is having a problem with one of their horses and is looking for some advice. First some info on the horse...
He is a four year old gelding. He has been bred to be a barrel/roping horse and has great potential, but obviously he is still being worked on the basic foundations of riding. He has been ridden consistently and is coming along really nice. The problem is, he has an issue with cross-firing. For example, when he is worked in the round pen, if I ask him to canter he will canter around nice and slow and correct. Then, if I ask him to speed up into a quick canter, he will switch his hind lead so he is cross-firing. He won't switch back until he has done three or four circles at a slower pace.
The same thing happens when I ask him to turn in the round pen. He can be cantering along fine and dandy and I'll ask for the turn and when he comes out of it he'll be correct in front but not behind. And, if I ask him to turn again while he is cross-firing, he'll switch his back lead again so he is still cross-firing. He does the same thing while being ridden.
He has been checked out and it isn't pain related. His saddle fits. Is he just unbalanced? What are some exercises that we could do to help him with this?