Training a horse to change Leads
I'm going to be workin with my gelding on a versatile ranch horse team and I need to show him how to change leads.. Any ideas in how to introduce this to him and how to que him and make it easy for him to understand what I want?
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Wen u ask for the transion from trot to canter you cue that by moving your outside leg back a little bit and aplying pressure. This tells the horse to step up with that outside hind leg into the canter. So naturaly you have to get him used to this cue. As soon as u apply the pressure he canters on the correct lead in both directions. do this in a circle it will be easier for him to pick up the lead. Then after he is comfortable with this ask in a straight line. Wichever lead u want ask with the oppoiste leg. If a horse canters on a left lead its their right hind leg that steps up and is the first step into a left lead canter. So left leg mean right lead canter. Right leg means left lead canter. Soon u can canter a straight line and pick and any lead u want and wen u cue he will change leads. Try working over a ground pole doing a figure 8. Ass u pass over the ground pole shift your weight to the inside and give the cue and he should change leads. If not do a simple change and each time make it shorter until u drop to trot then cue rite away. After that u can ask for the flying change
Sonnygrl that is a really great description of what to do, IMO
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Before you can get good lead departures and waaay before you even think about flying changes, you need to know what lead you are in on the very first stride the horse takes. Once you get good at this, you can feel what lead a horse is going to take before they take it. Until you can tell on the very first stride, you cannot get a horse really solid on lead departures. The way you get a horse solid on lope departures is to interrupt the horse mid-stride any time it attempts to take the wrong lead. When you get it in the correct position to take the correct lead and it does take the correct lead, then you let it continue on without stopping it. This is how you get a horse solid on leads. But, the same is true if you let them continue on in the wrong lead while you are figuring out what lead your on. By the time a horse has gone 2 or 3 strides in the wrong lead, he thinks he has done it right.
For now, you need to concentrate totally on learning to 'feel' what lead your in until you can tell on that first stride.
There are several ways to tell what lead your in. Look down at your horse's shoulders. The lead he is in will make that shoulder look like it is farther forward than the other one.
Your foot will be farther forward on whatever lead you are in. If your horse is on the left lead, no matter what you do, your left foot will stay slightly more forward than your right foot.
The horse's leading front foot will be the last to strike the ground in the 1-2-3 beats of the lope. Concentrate on what foot is striking the ground and pretty soon you will know exactly what foot is getting ready to hit the ground.
In the beginning, you can lean over and double-check by actually watching that leading front foot hit the ground. You should not have to do this for very long. It is sure not a good idea to depend on this because the horse is going to travel too many strides in the wrong lead if that is the one the horse took.
thank you, that made sense with the shoulder/foot being the furthest forward. now that i think about it i can see it in my head. now ill just have to see about trying to learn it without looking and all that. thank you again
You also might try teaching your horse to respond to leg pressures before really getting into teaching him leads. He needs to know that when you give him a heel or pressure with a calf that it means to move away from the pressure and not "go." That way, when you give him that outside leg, he knows to move his rear quarters away from the leg. Otherwise he will likely think you're asking for more speed. There are some threads on leg pressures and cues.
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