Left Lead Problems
 
 

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Left Lead Problems

This is a discussion on Left Lead Problems within the Horse Training forums, part of the Training Horses category
  • Horse won't lope on left lead
  • Trouble with left lead and my horse

 
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    02-08-2011, 02:31 PM
  #1
Foal
Left Lead Problems

Hello Everyone,

I've had my horse since she was 2 1/2 (she is 8 now) and when I got her she had been kept in a small pen and wasn't really sure about running. When I brought her home she would canter around but it wouldn't be very graceful and it took some encouragement for her to speed up in the saddle. At the time I wasn't really concerned about lead changes (I was learning too) and over the years I have taught her a lot but to my knowledge she has never picked up her left lead and cantered in it for an extended period. I've tried everything I can think of...lunging, jumping out of a corner, circling until she changes, trotting down a fence & turning into it as I ask for a lope but nothing seems to work. She will pick it up sometimes but mostly just in the front or back. Or if she does she will immediately drop back down to a trot or change back to the right. I have no reason to believe that this is a physical problem but more of a mental block.


Thanks For The Ideas

PS - I'm not blaming my horse for this issue and I don't think it is poor riding on my part but I'm trying to help her overcome this block.
     
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    02-10-2011, 02:06 AM
  #2
Foal
I've had a similar problem with my horse for years! (Except it was his right lead.) I've owned him for more than four years and last summer was the first time he ever cantered on his right lead under saddle for more than a couple strides. I think it was hard for him to understand what I wanted (because he'd never been asked for a specific lead before and I think he just always chose his left lead because it's his better side).

I hate to say it, but it's probably going to take a lot of diligent work - it was incredibly frustrating for me for a very long time, because I did a lot of the things you listed and none of them worked.

Don't give up! You guys will get it eventually! I sort of took a break from worrying about leads for a while and started to do simple dressage exercises with my horse and I think that really helped. Once I got him to use his body more effectively, the leads kind of came naturally. And once he got it, he progressed really fast and it was totally worth all the work I've put into it!
     
    02-10-2011, 11:23 AM
  #3
Weanling
Since he never canters on his left lead it is probably much more difficult for him now. All his muscles are built up on his right lead, but not his left. It's going to take a lot of work to get him to build up the strength to canter for a extended period of time on his left lead. Start circling him in a medium or large circle at the trot and ask for the canter. More than likely he will pick up his right lead. Make him canter the circle a few times on the wrong lead. It will be uncomfortable for him and soon he will want to pick up the correct lead. As soon as he does praise him. Only let him canter one time around in the circle and then let him walk on a loose rein. It will take awhile but he should pick up on it eventually!
     
    02-10-2011, 11:54 AM
  #4
Foal
Yes, building up the correct muscles will definitely be important, and doing circling exercises is one way to do that. But also make sure that she's bent correctly - if you let her circle to the left with a right bend, she won't be using the proper muscles. Do a lot of figure 8's where you pay very close attention to bending her correctly around each circle. Really make sure you have her moving off your inside leg to keep the correct bend throughout the entire circle.

As for circling until she's uncomfortable enough to change leads - I tried that with my horse and it doesn't work because he's so used to cantering on his left lead that he can (and will) canter small circles to the right on the wrong lead indefinitely.

PaintLover makes an important point: don't overdo it. As soon as you get the lead you're looking for, let her canter on it a little then praise her like crazy. You can build up slowly until she can canter full laps around the arena.

Another thing you might want to look into if you can afford it is having an equine masseuse/chiropractor look at her. If she has something out of line or her muscles are really tight, having some massage therapy or a realignment could do wonders.

(PS - Can you post a video? It'd be really helpful!)
     
    02-10-2011, 01:07 PM
  #5
Foal
Thanks

Thanks for all the help guys. I'm afraid that I won't be able to post a video right away. Sorry. I have cantered her in circles to the left on the right lead until she tires and changes but she either drops back down to a trot, or changes in the front and not in the back. When I lunge her she will change (sometimes) when I encourage her to speed up but then she will speed up even more and in a few strides she will try to pull out of the circle and when she can’t she drops back to a trot. I don’t know what to do…except keep trying. Any more ideas.
I would appreciate all that I can get that way I can try several things and see what works. Thanks Again.
     
    02-10-2011, 01:38 PM
  #6
Foal
Detailed Description

Hello Again,

Could any of you guys give me a detailed description of how you would teach a youngster to pick up the correct leads. Maybe if I start all over I will be able to help her. What do we need to work on first? How should I have her body as we travel? I know some of the things to answer my question will be very basic and elementary but please list them anyways. Kinda like a checklist or something so I can make sure we are getting everything right.

Thanks Again!!!

PS: If you have several ways to train a horse how to pick up the correct lead list them too, or if you know of some free information on the web please let me know.
     
    02-10-2011, 02:39 PM
  #7
Foal
Maybe you could start by telling us exactly how you work with your horse normally ...? It would help to know your riding level and what you already do with her. Oh, and what style of riding do you do?
     
    02-10-2011, 02:50 PM
  #8
Weanling
Quote:
Originally Posted by IvySteele    
Hello Again,

Could any of you guys give me a detailed description of how you would teach a youngster to pick up the correct leads. Maybe if I start all over I will be able to help her. What do we need to work on first? How should I have her body as we travel? I know some of the things to answer my question will be very basic and elementary but please list them anyways. Kinda like a checklist or something so I can make sure we are getting everything right.

Thanks Again!!!

PS: If you have several ways to train a horse how to pick up the correct lead list them too, or if you know of some free information on the web please let me know.

Did you get my message?
     
    02-10-2011, 03:13 PM
  #9
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by swmorsync    
Maybe you could start by telling us exactly how you work with your horse normally ...? It would help to know your riding level and what you already do with her. Oh, and what style of riding do you do?
I'm an experience rider.
Ok, I ride my horse bareback and we do a variety of things. I haven't trained her for a specific event or style because I wanted a very versatile horse. Over the years, if I saw a move or something I liked I tried to teach it to her. Most of what I do is Western but I have taught her a few English style moves. Normally I will lunge her, make sure I can move different parts of her body, back up, side pass, go through our gaits, and do some pleasure riding with a jump or two (plus maybe a trick.)

Hope that helps.
     
    02-10-2011, 03:16 PM
  #10
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by SissyGoBob    
did you get my message?
I did but since I'm a newcomer to this place I couldn't send you a message to thank you. So, thanks.

PS If you can think of anything else that might help please let me know.
     

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