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Cheyennes mom 12-31-2012 04:19 AM

Flying Lead Changes
Hello :)

So my new boy Maverick (I've had him since September 2012 but rode him occasionally before that) is 6 years old and still quite inexperienced. However, we've been getting along GREAT! He's a SUPER fast learner and although he HATES pressure, he loves to learn as much as he can! We trust each other a LOT already and I've been working with him a lot!

I decided that I'd like him to learn flies. I've never taught a horse how to do flies before but I've seen it taught and I've done them before so I know how to do it, but I need ideas.

His fly training started today. I started by laying a pole on the ground in the middle of the arena. I'd be cantering on the right lead and then cut across the diagonal and when I hit the pole I'd do a simple change into the left lead and go the opposite direction (like a figure 8). After a few times, he caught onto this really quickly.

Next I tried the same thing, but before I did my simple change, I cued him for a lead change. Course this confused him like crazy, but he obediently moved his hind in and flexed the way I wanted him to, he just missed the change. So I brought him down to a trot and simply switched him like I did before.

After that, I got bored and decided to do the same thing with the figure eight but not to bring him to the trot but to keep asking for the change. I wasn't expecting him to do anything, I wasn't really sure what he'd do but I figured it was worth a shot. So that's what I did and he ended up catching on when we turned at the end of the figure eight. He didn't do a flying lead change, but he figured out that he was supposed to change his lead so he went into a trot for a few steps and switched to the lead I was asking for. So I forgot about the poles and just got him to switch by turning him and whenever I turned him I'd cue him at the same time and he'd change. Still not a fly, but a bit more than a simple change like when we had started.

By the end of the session (I was out there for about an hour and a half or so) Maverick could change his lead by taking one trot stride in between. Still only on a turn, but it was better than nothing!

Just want to know what you think of this? Do you think he'll catch on? I don't expect it over night, and I have all the time in the world. What are some other excersizes that you reccomend for me to teach him? I considered setting up a VERY small jump (Maverick is a phenominal little jumper) and getting him to switch over the jump, but I'm not sure that there'd be much of a point to that. I don't know if it'd work.

Anyway, no harsh critiques please, just looking for ideas. Thanks so much!!

Oxer 01-03-2013 12:55 AM

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My horse is the kind of horse that learns pretty quick as well... however he gets frustrated quickly and gets super upset when he thinks i'm frustrated with him. So in teaching him flying changes i had to reeeeelax and make it no big thing. He does them naturally while at liberty, so i know they're in there somewhere!
After a couple weeks of "knock down, drag out" fights over his changes, I finally said: "okay... i'm just going to do simple changes FOREVER until he figures it out."
When we're jumping around on course, he 99.9% of the time will grab the correct lead. So after months,and months, and months of flatting and just allowing him to trot a couple steps and then grab the lead, he finally started to do flying changes on his own. As long as i'm balanced across the diagonal, ask for the change as i normally would, and make it a non-issue... suddenly, the flying changes appear!

You haven't been with your horse for very long. So be patient. They will come!

Phly 01-03-2013 01:03 AM

Some horses just naturally do flying lead changes. Both my wife's and daughters do. My gelding can't pick up a lead to save his rump!!!! So id say youre making progress.
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Freemare 01-03-2013 09:33 AM

You dont need the pole. I have found when training horses for the flying lead change I never use the pole as it can make things harder. What you do is have the figure down, but when you come in the middle. Brake to a trot. Then pick up the other lead. You will have to do HUNDREDS of theses things. After a awhile the horse will learn, so start making the brake down to the trot even faster with one or two steps and then into the new lead. Soon he will learn and you will be doing flying changes.

Cheyennes mom 01-03-2013 12:31 PM

Thanks for the tips everyone!

PassageLove 01-07-2013 07:49 PM

Just always make sure you're using your commands clearly, I mainly ride dressage, so learning this when I was younger was really controlled. Don't overteach him, you don't want him doing them every second because he knows he'll get a pat. :) that's especially important if he's clever, which he sounds like he is. Make sure you mix up your lessons.

Cheyennes mom 01-08-2013 02:14 AM

^^Thanks for that, he is VERY smart and does like to take advantage sometimes :) He's good to listen though so I think he'll be alright as long as I don't ride him till he's exhausted that's when he starts doing dumb stuff like that :p

WE'VE HAD ONE PERFECT CHANGE!! We had a VERY close one yesterday and we've had many 'almost' changes where he's taken one trot step in between...but so far he's doing really well, I'm very proud of my boy :)

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