My OTTB has been giving me more and more trouble with the right lead. When I ask he always feels like he's going to step into it fine and then quickly switches onto his left lead. My first thought was pain or stifle issues but my vet came out and found nothing wrong with him. So I keep practicing bending and ask once I feel his ribcage move off of my inside leg and his weight shifted onto his outside leg and once and a while he will pick it up (when I get lucky, haha :P) but not every time. He recently has been throwing temper tantrums when I attempt to do this now so my trainer and I decided to try something new, we tried to get him to pick it up after a jump and so far its working great but I don't feel this is the best and is defiantly not the only way I want him to learn. Is there any other exercises or things I can do to try and help him pick up his right lead. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. :)
Here you go!
I agree with the above, and will repeat what I tend to say for all similar situations like this. Trot, trot, and more trot. And then when you think you are done, trot some more. Better canter comes from better trot, not from working more at the canter. Trot builds muscles and balance while cantering burns calories, so by focusing more on the trot, you will actually be setting your horse up for a better canter.
Limit canter to just a few strides max per ride, and focus on trot sets. A great exercise is to change diagonal every few strides (on the straight) and see if the horse stays balanced and even. If they lose rein contact, pop their head up, or something like that when you change diagonal, it indicates a weakness. When your horse can tolerate your change in diagonal every 3-4 strides with no change in their way of going, that's a pretty good indication that you have a balanced horse that is moving through their topline. Be sure to have a soft, correct contact on the bit because if the horse is leaning, than this exercise is useless. But done correctly, this is a great indication of fitness and conditioning and when your horse can move up to regular canter work, as well as starting OF.
I think she looks like she is well on her way, and agree with the other reply.
For muscling, trot trot and more trot. And when you think you are done, trot some more. Build up in increments so your horse has time to condition (start with just 10 - 15 min depending on how fit she is now) and then added 2-4 minutes per workout every other to every third workout. And stop cantering. For a few reasons.
1) canter burns more calories than it builds muscle, while trotting builds more muscle while burning less calories when compared to the canter
2) horses develop a better canter by doing better trot, not by cantering more, so by taking a break from cantering, when you come back to it, you will be amazed with the improvement
3) lots of bending and changing direction and working on a light rein contact will do wonders for also helping her balance and relax and again help her canter in the long run
4) all that trot work will build amazing topline and muscling
Pictures to prove it:
Sky, aged 4, just off the track going through "letdown"
Sky, age 7, after a few years of remuscling (notice neck still very thick/upside down):
Sky, age 11, schooling at a show:
Sky, age 14 (this year) widest he has ever been - at a hunter pace/horse park:
Its likely to be a muscular weakness in his rear left leg as this is the leg he has to use to step under himself to push into canter with the right leg leading.(Think through the footfalls in canter- outside rear, inside rear and outside fore, inside fore) He thinks 'you want canter, canter is easier for me on this leg thank-you-very-much' and goes onto the left lead
Jumping actually sorted it out for Alli. We did pessoa work on the lunge just doing lots of trotting and trot-canter transitions on both reins to build muscle. She got the hang of this on the lunge but couldn't apply it to ridden work untill we did jumping and she realised going on the correct leg ment better balance. She corrected herself within about 3 weeks with 4 sessions a week, she's pretty much sorted now!
It's probably muscle weakness and balance issues. I agree with the person who suggested trotting. Forget about the canter. (I know, what I horrible thought, right?! But you'll live. I promise.) Trot trot trot. Trotting works both sides of the horse evenly. Once he is stretched out and muscled up evenly on both sides he'll have no trouble picking up the right lead. Having you constantly fussing about it just makes him tense and annoyed, which (obviously) isn't helping your situation. Give him a few weeks off of cantering (neither leads!) and focus on a good trot, and then try the canter. You ought to try it on the lunge line first (or better yet: free lungeing), since you upset his center of gravity and it's hard enough for him to get the lead anyway.