Teaching flying changes!
Hi all! I'm currently trying to teach my just-turned 8 y/o paint x Arab gelding flying changes and it's been going pretty well. We're just at the point now where I'm not too sure what to do next! He's getting them pretty much every time over poles now, but I'm not sure what the next step is. My trainer's helped me out along the way but I haven't had a chance to check with her yet about what to do now - I will asap! :) For now, what have you guys tried that have worked on your horsies?
I am guessing you are changing at the pole right? Once they get that you need to start removing the poll or start to move closer to the end of it instead of the middle. Ask for the change. And keep going. Once they know the leg and seat means times to change. You can change anytime you need.
Yes, we've been asking over the pole :) That makes sense, I'll give that a shot and see how we get along! Anyone else? He can be a little tricky so I'm open to all ideas!
Are you wanting collected changes with the change on the same stride front and back? These are usually called 'dressage changes' or 'reining changes' and are taught on a straight line -- never letting the horse 'dive off' in the direction of the new lead. Or are you wanting 'hunter changes' where the horse changes in front first and catches up with the hind feet?
If you teach them over a pole, they will change in front first and hopefully change behind in the next stride. This is acceptable over fences or changing directions between fences. The slower, collected changes are more difficult to teach, but you do not have horses dragging a hind lead and the horse is not nearly so heavy on the forehand. They require proper collection and good control over the hind quarters.
The two different styles or types of lead changes are taught much differently and the results are much different.
If you find that your horse only changes behind correctly part of the time or that he changes behind even less consistently when the pole is removed, I will try to explain the procedure for teaching collected lead changes on a straight line.
We're planning on doing the jumpers this year and don't have any real ambitions to do any dressage competing, although I'd like to at some point in the future. To be honest either one is really okay with me, it's more whatever technique works better for teaching him them and what he finds easier. Up until now we've been trying to get them on more of a bend which has been working, so he might be a bit confused by the straighter changes, but like I say it's whatever makes more sense to him - I'm just not sure what that would be at this point. :)
If you can get by with 'hunter changes', then start asking for lead changes over jumps. Mid jump, put your leg on him the same as you would ask for the opposite lead in a lead departure. Like:
1) Approach a jump in the left lead.
2) Make sure you can easily land and continue from the jump in the right lead.
3) Ask for the right lead mid way over the jump and continue on in it.
Using a log or jump pole for lead changes can lead to your horse dropping or dragging the lead with his hind feet by changing only in the front end. If your horse starts cross-firing doing these kinds of changes, you will have no choice and will have to teach collected changes. Bear in mind, that the more often a horse cross-fires under saddle (or even on a longe line), the more comfortable they get doing this and soon make a really bad habit out of doing it.
It is a LOT more difficult to teach a horse correct lead changes once they have learned to change only in front by either speeding up on forced changes or changes taught over a pole. These are both changes that rely on a change of direction and are really easy to get horses to change in front only.
He rarely ever crossfires at any point, he's pretty well-balanced and likes to keep it that way so cross cantering is a no go for him :P How would I go about teaching him collected changes?
At this point it is just a matter of doing the half halt, change the bend and ask with your new outside leg. If he is doing them over a pole you just remove the pole and pretend it is there.
If he is tricky go back to just a simple change with one trot stride. As he gets it smoothly with the one trot stride you only bring it to a huge half halt and switch your outside leg and ask for the new lead :-)
I personally have been using a shallow figure 8 pattern and asking for the changes in the corners after each diagonal.
I certainly wouldn't teach any kind of flying changes until you can get a solid simple change, through walk.
In the Dressage sense from that point, often the horse will be balanced and set up for the flying change, by preparing for the simple change. Then it's a matter of changing your weight and outside leg, allowing the change to happen.
Late changes (hind legs change after front legs) are frowned upon in most English disciplines, though we do not have hunters/jumpers here so I am unsure on the ruling there. Though from Cherie's posts it sounds as though late changes are pretty commonplace in those disciplines?
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