Won't pick up the left lead

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Won't pick up the left lead

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    06-29-2010, 02:23 PM
Won't pick up the left lead

I resently starting worcking with this horse who is well broke but a little rusty or maybe a lot rusty ;P. I toke her throught the basics and she did great! So I srarted training her to run barrels, she seems to love it and is very good at it.
But randomly she got the bad habit of refusing to pick up the left lead. She's always been better on her right side but never gave me so much trouble to canter on her left. Plus when I lunge her she can pick up the left lead just fine. (She has no physical ingeries that I know of.)
I tryed everything I can think of, like bedding her head to the outside and asking at a corner, I even tryed asking her before a pole or asking when in a small circle. Nothing seems to be worcking. When she does finely get her left lead I prase her and let her know that that's what I was loocking for, she can even hold her left lead nicely. Its very frustrating to have to stop and resart over again. So if you have any suggestions I would love to hear about them !
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    06-29-2010, 03:44 PM
What about your leg position and your weight when you ask fro the canter?
    06-29-2010, 03:51 PM
Maybe try doing the pattern to the left first, that way your horse will only have to be on his left lead for one turn. At the stables I took lessons at we had a rectangular arena, so if a horse had a lead problem what we would do is trot them down the long end, then once we reached the corner we would turn them sharp to the left and kick immediately to make them go into the left lead.
    06-29-2010, 04:01 PM
It sounds physical. If she was doing it fine and now she will not, it sounds like something some where makes it far more comfortable to be on the right lead.

Physical could also include you always leaning to one side, etc.

Do you have a trainer/instructor that can watch you ride to help determine what is going on?
    06-29-2010, 04:03 PM
^^^ That could also be a very good cause of your horse not picking up the left lead!
    06-29-2010, 04:06 PM
Hey, I know I have a very bad habit of having more weight in one stirrup than the other. (Which obviously makes my hips not even, etc.)

I am sure there are others that have the same problem.
    06-29-2010, 04:15 PM
Super Moderator
I agree with Always... It sounds like it's probably a physical issue. I would blame it on balance if she were young, however being a more trained horse I would say it's either an old injury or she's weak on that side.

The easy way to get the lead is to pull her head to the outside when you ask for the canter, it will throw that leg to the front. That will get you the correct lead, but that isn't going to fix the underlying issue though, whatever it may be.
    06-29-2010, 04:40 PM
Thanks everyone. I found out from her previous owner that one of her back legs are bone on bone but she can't remember witch on it is, could that make a big difference in her cantering? It never seem to bother her before and on the lunge she can pick up her left lead fine. Like most of you said it maybe my position in the saddle.
    06-29-2010, 04:45 PM
Super Moderator
Yes. That will definitely effect her. Do you have her on some type of joint supplement?
    06-29-2010, 05:20 PM
I had an old (Well, not really old....about 10) gelding who had that same problem. He was a reiner, so I didn't understand why it was a problem. He would lunge fine, run aorund on his left lead, but th emoment you were on his back there was a problem. He had trouble spinning on the left pivot foot, too. We thought he was just being stubborn, becaue the gal we took him from worked consistently ont he right w/o any left work.

We later found out he had a left stifle injury that was causing him incredible pain on the left lead of the left pivot. However, it was nearly invisible to normal vet checks without the x-ray. The vet showed us the picture and it looked like a bone splinter sticking into him from the inside. The surgery would cost a very hefty amount to remove, so instead we retired him to a guided trail ride service who I informed full well that he is not to do anything on his left side.

Just a thought.

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