Training a Horse to Perform Flying Lead Changes
The most recent horse I've been working with is a 10 year old, Quarter Horse gelding that's approximately 16.3. Almost every time he goes over a jump, he lands with the correct lead in his front legs and the incorrect lead in his hind legs. No matter what direction you're going, 99.9% of the time, he will not land in the correct lead in his hind legs.
Also, he does not perform flying lead changes. His owner has continually said, "I'll start teaching him how to do a flying lead change tomorrow." And then tomorrow becomes the next day, and then the day after that. She then decided to give me the task of training him. She expects him to do a flying lead change when asked by the end of the summer. Any suggestions?
Start with a bunch of simple lead changes. At a canter, cut across the arena and do a simple change. Every time you do it try doing as few trot steps as possible. Practice that over and over, and eventually you can get it with one trot step. After you have that down, go ahead and ask for the change. It's all about practice:)
How responsive is your horse to your leg? Can you two track? I would start with getting him more responsive to your leg to where you can really bend him around your outside leg. Also, try giving yourself a visual point like a cone or a bucket in the middle of the ring where you practice doing simple lead changes where you stop and change leads and move on to trotting into them like the above poster mentioned.
The landing on different leads would concern me. I would get him checked out by a chiro/massage therapist...he may need both chiro and massage, or just massage with the right therapist...it's not normal for a horse to land on two different leads unless there is a physical problem causing it.
As far as teaching flying changes...I would work on travers first, ensuring you can move his hindquarters over at will, then I would start with simple changes like previously suggested, and making sure he's really straight throughout the change. Slowly start decreasing the amount of strides between changes while focusing on keeping him straight before asking him to move the hindquarters over.
Sometimes the addition of a pole to canter over while asking for the change can help...
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