Left lead?

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Left lead?

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  • Which lead is the left lead on a horse
  • How do i get my off the track thoroughbred to pick up the left lead

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    05-02-2010, 09:45 PM
Left lead?

I just got a new horse. She's a 5 year old pretty thoroughbred mare, an ex-racer. She's really good other than the fact that she won't pick up her left lead while I'm riding her. On the lunge line, she picks it up fine. I don't think it's her saddle because she won't pick it up when I'm riding bareback either. I just want suggestions on asking her for it :) she picks it up sometimes but not as much as I would like.

Also, I'm trying to get her to be more responsive. I want her to get round and on the bit and elastic. She's still hard to stop sometimes after we go over a little jump (nothing big, we're working on flatwork mostly). I'm hoping to make a hunter out of her so ANY tips at all for getting her slow and steady would be great!

Thanks you guys!
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    05-02-2010, 09:48 PM
Green Broke
Ask to canter at a corner.
That's pretty much all I can suggest.
Had the same problem with my boy.
    05-02-2010, 10:15 PM
Left lead? Are you sure? Usually OTTBs resist picking up their right lead, and prefer the left, since they travel to the left on the track.

Check your own balance, make sure your sitting even and square, and that you're not dropping your shoulder as you ask for the canter.

The best solution, IMO, is to teach her to move off of your inside leg in both directions. Once she does that reliably, ask her to move off your inside leg toward the rail 1 - 2 strides before you ask for the canter. This sets her up perfectly for the inside lead.
    05-03-2010, 07:29 PM
RedTree: I've tried that and she still picks up the right lead. IDK what her problem is, lol.

Maura: I'm positive it's her left lead and that's why I thought it was so weird. I think I might possibly be dropping my shoulder, so I'll work on that. :)
I am trying to get her to move off my leg, but all she does is speed up. When I block her with my hands and squeeze her into the contact, she throws her head in the air and shakes it around. It's really annoying. I'm going to try to get a trainer to come out and help me once or twice a month during the summer to get some outside help. Does it just take time for her to get used to the contact?
    05-03-2010, 08:05 PM
A trainer is a great idea, horses of the track have some unique issues and a knowledable person on the ground is a huge help in working through them.

I wouldn't be trying to ride her on contact now, because she doesn't really understand contact; she just understands leaning into the bridle and going.

You can try working with her from the ground to give her the idea that one leg at the girth means move over while both legs mean go forward.

If you've been asking for the canter sitting in the saddle, try asking like an exercise rider. Trot in two point and kiss to her until she canters; if you do this going into a corner you may very well be successful. Race horses aren't usually ridden with weight in the saddle, so even the slightest imbalance or crookedness in your seat, that wouldn't bother a more educated horse, could block that lead at the canter. Another thing to try is a tap her on the outside shoulder with your stick as you ask; this is frequently the way exercise riders ask for leads or for lead changes.

Let us know how it goes.
    05-04-2010, 03:35 PM
You could try lunging, and after a circle on the left lead, mount up immediately and have someone lunge you, and if she takes the lead, don't go too long, just get the lead, and reward her. If she goes wrong, get off and get the lead on the lunge again. It's just a trick at this point, but something to start with. I did this with my horse, and took a lot of anxiety away. (Looking for a reward she worried less about the lead. It felt awkward to her, but I made it "worth her while.")
    05-07-2010, 03:02 PM
Great tips Maura! I'll def try a lot of those tips and see how she does. She picked up her left lead the other day (YAY) and I ws in my two-point so that should work.

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