Trouble with Lead Changes
Tony likes to stick her nose out and speed up for a flying lead change. I plan to go to some clinics in March but I thought Id ask here and see if anyone has some ideas until then. I do a lot of stretching with her, we walk in a straight in and ask her to bring her nose to each side. Same with the hind end. We do reverse arcs and such. I make sure to do lots of switching directions. I try to keep a light hand on her mouth
I'll her looked at by a chiropractor make sure nothing is out and get her teeth checked. Other than that I dont have any more ideas
How are you setting up and cueing for the change? Do you always change leads in the center of the arena like you would for a show?
Yes normally I ask in the middle of the arena. In the last 2 strides I start putting leg pressure so she knows Im going to ask for it. The last stride as Im getting to the center I put pressure with my calf and sometimes a tap with my spir or heal. Ive tried with and without spirs, no difference. I usually lift up on the reins a bit bc she wants to rush the change and go faster.
What is really helpful is to have a groundsperson knowledgeable, instructing and watching you. Helped my changes immensely.
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Sounds like she's dropping her shoulder and blowing through the change.
Are you doing your reverse arcs and stuff at a lope or just a trot? Do you always change in the middle? Do you ever counter-canter them?
Also, What kind of hip & overall body control do you have of this horse?
I havent done a reverse arc at a lope. Ive got her to move away and towards the wall staying parallel to the wall. And I never done counter cantering. Id say I have pretty good control, I can get her to move her hip and shoulder anyway I ask. At times though she wants to hollow out her back and bring her nose up. She doesnt want to stay collected. I have light hands so Im not hard on her mouth. Ive been trying several bits. She likes a snaffle but I cant show in a snaffle. It has to be a curb with a roller and a shank. I have two transition bits that I got from a clinic I took last year and she does pretty good with them but not with my show bit. Im going to look into finding another one. How much should I be riding her in it? All the time?
Like I said I will be going to some clinics in March but Id like to practice as much as I can now.
You can get her to move her hip and shoulder at a walk, trot, or lope?
You said she's soft, can you make her into a C shape at a canter? When you pick up on her she should tuck her nose to her inside shoulder, and with light contact she should bring that hip in..
If she is hallowing out her back and isn't staying collected because she is coming out of the bridle, you need to drive her back into it and keep her there. I bet she doesn't stop very big right now either because of that..
For the most part no, she isnt giving me good stops. When I asked her to collect her initial reaction is to pull up then bring her nose in to her shoulder. She doesnt do it when I ask for her hip, she'll move that easily at a walk, trot, and lope. Same with her shoulder she'll move it easy but like I said any change of direction she pops her nose up during the change. If you keep her nose to one side while she's moving she'll stay collected but if I asked to change sides she pops up first. Thats why Im wondering if its physical bc she's very responsive except in transition.
Perhaps she is anticipating and stiffening with the anticipation. If she gets hard in the face and her head pops up, she is stiff or stuck out somewhere behind the head, the head is where it shows up at. It may be a physical issue or maybe you are asking too abruptly?
As far as the lead changes, it may help to just trot and lope around the arena and practice moving the hip and the shoulders where ever you want. Do not worry about changes or circles. Make sure you can position her and she responds.
Later you can go back to loping circles, setting her up for the change but counter arc on the same circle, or counter canter. If she rushes through the middle, really drive her over the bridle and push that hip out. It is a lot of work to rush counter cantering. When she softens, ease up.
Change it up, keep her guessing and do not let her change until you tell her to and make she is so soft. Don't make the center of the arena always about changing leads. If you are counter cantering and she is soft you can ask at any point on that circle because she is set up for it. You can counter canter loops and change on the long side of the arena. You won't feel rushed to change before the wall. Or ride out in a pasture.
Make sure you are relaxed yourself and not trying to throw her into the change with your weight, looking at the new lead shoulder or suddenly turning in the direction of the change.
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