My horse cannot pick up his left lead.
Bought him as a 4 y/o [he's a Highland Pony gelding and he's 6 y/o now] in May last year and were told he couldn't canter on a circle but had no other problems. Long story short - had actually bought an extremely green, maniac of a pony who though had been broken in well by professionals, his training and schooling had not been kept going with his owner and his problemwith left lead canter never sorted. We doubted he had been cantered in a school at all. I had a lot of problems with him, one of them included bucking, something he liked to do going into a canter transition. I was told NOT to worry about leads and to concetrate on getting him to canter without bucking and srtaight off a cue.
We have that now, but because the lead issue has not been sorted, he has no idea that what he is doing is wrong.
I have an insctructor who i've been working with. He picks it up over jumps, so we've been doing it over poles and jumps with much success.
But I have several problems.
1. I cannot tell which lead he is on. It is not obvious at all on him, he's pretty unbalanced and his conformation makes it incredibly difficult to tell which lead he is on. I have no idea what to do about this, I have to have someone on the ground with me to tell me when he's on the correct lead [and even then it's difficult to tell] What can I do to sort this as this is holding me back quite a bit?
2. On the flat I have managed to get him topick it up a handful of times by doing walk/canter and turning his head a little to the outside under an instructors supervision. The problem is however, he picks up his left lead in his hind end but doesn't pick it up in his front end.
3. I've been working on shoulder in excersises to help with opening up his shoulder. I struggle with this though, it's something he's never done before. Can someone give me some good tips, maybe a detailed description of what exactly I have to do and how to feel for it.
Sorry for such a long ramble. It's been a problem for such a long while. He has no idea what he's doing is wrong and sometimes I feel like I'm holding him back though have had others sit on him and they too are unable to get him to pick it up. He does it over jumps but just not on the flat, I'm not sure how to progress.
Thanks in advance for the help, I'm getting really rather down by it all. It's holding us back so much :/