Lead swap right to left down long side
Hi! So I am still getting to know my new horse but he has started swapping right to left down the long sides of the ring. He is missing an eye on his left side but I do not know if that is related. He gives no warning and even manages to do it pressed to the rail with his head turned in. He doesn't do it on a circle or on the left lead. Any ideas?
First of all, does he have a lameness issue that would be causing this? Have you had him checked by a vet and chiropactor?
Secondly, since you just got him, is he in shape? If he is not fit, he may be unbalanced or his muscles may not be able to "hold" himself in the lead. He may just need more fit work.
And of course, we always need to make sure that the RIDER isn't accidentally cueing him to switch. Really watch your weight cues, and leg cues, and hand cues to ensure you aren't accidentally asking him to do it.
Where is your weight when you canter down the long side on the right rein? Most of the horses I see swapping leads on a straight line tend to do so because the rider is not aware of their weight being pushed slightly to the outside, making it easier for the horse to change rather than remain on the correct lead.
Check your weight first, and obviously ensure it is not a pain issue, then try making life a bit harder for him when he changes. If he changes left, cue for a change back to the right and turn him onto a right circle until he changes back. Then continue back down the long side like nothing happened.
Often this method will convince a horse that just thinks it's clever with it's changes, to quit the habit of changing when it wants to rather than when cued to do so.
Should I deliberately lean my weight to the inside until this situation is solved? I don't remember him doing it the first few times I rode him, I have only had him a few weeks and I don't want to start teaching him naughty habits.
I have a very sensitive horse who loves tempis more than anything and the slightest shift in weight will make him change leads. He thinks he's being amazing. Keeping your weight to the inside, even if you have to really exaggerate it at first, could fix the problem.
It's either rider error or discomfort, sometimes both. A hock issue is usually the culprit of the discomfort. Have a good rider canter him and see if swaps leads for them, then you can narrow it down.
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My trainer is gonna mess around with him on Wednesday to see what the deal is. Hopefully it actually is my own rider error and not something hurting him!
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