HELP with getting right lead?!
i'm at my wits end! i cannot seem to get my mare to take her right lead! i can put her in the round pen and she'll take it then, but i don't want to have her do too much loping in there, because i feel it will be hard on her joints down the road.
she always uses her left lead, and then when i try to turn her to the right, or she stops, she does a real quick flying lead change to her right and stops there. she's always done that, and i'm not sure why!
but please please please help me with her right lead! i have a small round pen, and a big corral, but its not flat and is mainly used to pen the horses. other than that its just open range full of hills.
there's an indoor arean down the road, and they let us ride in there, but my mare refuses to lope in it, when asked she started bucking. after she was reprimanded i put her in their round pen and i had her go walk, trot ,walk, canter, trot, canter.
but haven't tried inside since.
i ride her in calvary and parade, which is at a trot and walk. but i really need to get her ready for drill because we are WAY low on people.
but she won't take her right lead.
Subbing ... same issue with one of trainers horses. Canters o. The right lead fine in the field... but never ubdersaddle?
As far as i can tell she will take her right lead if she needs to in the field, but most of the time she prefers her left.
she was just checked over by a chiro and he had to put her right hip back and on of her ribs. he said she probably had shivered it tight over the winter. but he gave her a clean bill of health.
i'm thinking of having him come and check her again, because my sis want him to check her gelding, and i might as well have him check this mare and my other mare. he charges a flat fee for eveything, no matter how many horses. but he lives up in Colorado, so getting an appointment is difficult.
If she has a favored lead, she's going to do everything possible to set both herself and you up to allow her to take that preferred lead. You must by hyper-aware and diligent on straightness -- both with your mare and with you. Make sure that you have her straight and between your aids, and that she is not bulging her shoulder out, before you even consider asking for a right lead canter. Also make sure that your own body (and specifically your hips/seat bones) is asking for the right lead.
do you have any specific tips to making extra sure that both myself and the horse are getting set up for the right lead? i don't have too many resources to go with, and the lady that lets me use her arena is actually in the same boat with her dun. no right leads
I'm super crooked, and my mare and I both have the same dominant side, so I have definitely been down this road.
The first thing to pay attention to is yourself. Where are your seat bones when you're cuing for the right lead canter? Where is your belly button pointing? Is your weight evenly distributed between both seat bones and in both stirrups? Often, we feel like we are straight and centered, when in reality we are crooked -- either from or own conformational flaws, or from a horse's movement putting us in a certain spot (e.g. my mare had a hock injury, and as we were bringing her back into work, I realized that she was pushing me over to the other side so that her injured leg would not have to bear as much load). Think about pulling your outside seat bone back ever so slightly and aiming your belly button at the horse's left ear. (In practical application, you will almost certainly not end up actually twisted toward the outside; this visualization tends to just pull people closer to straight, as the natural tendency for most people is to get crooked to the inside.)
In terms of getting and keeping your mare straight in order to get the correct lead, I think that nine times out of ten a horse resorts to bulging the outside shoulder out as an evasion to picking up the weaker lead. Spend some time really feeling what she does with her body when you ask for that right lead, paying special attention to what happens with her shoulders.
One thing you might try is trotting across the diagonal and then asking for the canter right when you get to the wall. A simple exercise, but it helps take away the opportunity for her to throw that shoulder at you. Timing is crucial, so make sure that you're asking before she has actually made it back to the wall. Once she's on the wall, you've lost your advantage. Another, slightly more difficult exercise that I rather like (but only for horses who are fit enough, as it demands considerable hind end strength) involves trotting across the diagonal to X (so right in the middle) and then turning back toward the wall that you've just left in a 10-meter half-circle, cuing for the canter as soon as you begin your half circle back to the wall. In this exercise, it is of vital importance that you do not try to pull her around the half-circle with your inside rein, as you will cause her to get overbent and essentially force her onto the wrong lead. That being said, if you turn off your outside aids correctly, the somewhat tight turn and the wall right in front of her face will encourage her to step into a nice depart for you on the correct lead. I have found that, with this exercise, even the most crooked, one-sided horses always take the correct lead absent rider error (i.e. trying to pull them around that turn).
Lead problems are almost always about a 'hole' in the foundation somewhere. Years ago, I worked on forcing a horse into a lead and, sure enough, I always made it work and with time, got the horse to get more comfortable in it and I cannot think of one that did not get OK.
As I got better in my quest to learn how to teach collected flying lead changes on a straight line, (as opposed to 'cowboy or directional lead changes or worse yet, changing over a pole), all of my lead problems were gone. This includes horses like yours where a horse has developed a 'dislike' or absolute refusal to take a certain lead. It seems that as I got better with controlling a horse's shoulders, ribs and hips, magically, all of the lead problems went out the door.
I also found that teaching lead departures that originate with the horse 'pushing off' into a requested lead with his hind end not only look better, they are more balanced and stop horses from 'hopping' up in front on a lead departure. Teaching this along with teaching a horse to depart on a straight line worked wonders for all of the 'one-leaded' horses that I have worked with in recent years.
You absolutely DO NOT need an arena. As a matter of fact, I prefer to teach this kind of body control when i am not in as arena. You don't have a curved arena wall making you turn when you have not gotten the body position you want.
The process of getting this much 'body control' goes something like this:
The horse is 'pushed' up into the bridle. This is a 'collected' maneuver. It requires 'contact' or a very high degree of 'self-carriage'.
You ask a horse to keep his nose slightly to the right.
Your inside (right leg) keeps the horse traveling in a straight line so that it cannot 'follow its nose' by turning to the right.
Your outside leg (left leg) asks the horse to bring his hind quarters slightly toward the inside (right).
The proper response to this particular combinations of aids is a very difficult maneuver. It is how a proper 'half pass' is accomplished and is a major step in getting a collected lead change. I have never seen a horse that had been taught to bring its hind end toward the inside at the same time its nose was also brought to the inside that did not pick up the correct lead at least 99 times out of a hundred.
this brought up a red flag for me. half the time i mount from the right side because i have a weird hip. my right hip. it doesn't hurt, but occasionally if i have to bring one of my legs up to say slip off/on spurs or fix my pants leg, more often then not, my hips end up locking up. i think its called snapping hip. i can be laying flat on the ground, lift up my right leg and put it back down and my hip kinda feels like it pops out and back into place.
maybe thats what started this because i got her broke and have been training her. and she's gotten this from me
I would be willing to bet that your hip affects your usage of your seat more than you realize, and that it is at least a significant contributing factor to your mare's issues with picking up the right lead. Our own physical issues and limitations often end up transferring to our horses. That you have been working with an equine chiropractor is a great start, but of course, if you do not fix that "stickiness" in your hip, you will just keep creating the same issues for the chiropractor to solve over and over again. The equine chiropractor that I use was able to guess my own physical issues (scoliosis, leading to a pelvis that is crooked both latitudinally and longitudinally) just by assessing my horse.
All is not lost, of course. Learning some stretches and strengthening exercises to address whatever the issue is in your hip (and then actually doing those exercises, of course!) will help. But the single most useful tool in solving a rider straightness problem is having a knowledgeable set of eyes on the ground who can tell you when you actually are straight (because straight will feel quite crooked if you have been riding crooked for a long time). Lessons on a lunge line are absolutely ideal for learning better feel of what your body is doing and ultimately learning a "new" straight. I still go back to the occasional lesson on the lunge line when I can tell that I have reverted to bad habits and am a firm believer that they're not just for beginner riders.
And of course I cannot promise that addressing your hip issue will completely resolve your mare's lead problems. There may well be additional contributing factors to that problem that will also need to be addressed. But a rider addressing her own straightness and balance is never a wasted effort, and learning better body control and awareness will only make you a better rider in the long run.
okay everybody, tonight after practice i worked on getting her right lead. because its a big open arena, which is a little better to work with than...... roling hill and so on. so i couldn't get her to take it, i would go away from my sis and her gelding and turn her to the right and get her to lope towards them. so after a while i asked my sis to get on her to see if my hip was doing something. she got her to go into the lope. she said my horse bulges her shoulder (i forgot to look for that i was so focused on keeping my seat correct) and so she just bumped her shoulder back in as she started to ask for the turn then straight to the lope.
i think its really because this mare is great on her left for most anything, lead, side passes so on. but her right side its like a whole other horse. she side passes great on both sides now, and hopefully she'll get better on her right lead. she does great with stuff, her right just needs some extra attention and TLC when it comes to training!
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