How to cue for a lead change?
So, I'm posting here becuase I'm about 110% sure that my mare Lacey was trained in a very dressage-y way when she was young and so a lot of the cues she responds to seem to be specific to dressage. Like for instance, to cue her to canter, you cue her with your inside leg and I got the idea to try that from a suggestion someone made relating to dressage horses (I had been having issues cuing for the canter with my outside leg, she'd pick up the wrong lead every single time I'd cue with the outside leg).
So, since her canter cue appears to be so "dressage-y", I'm thinking her lead change cue is probably similarly dressage-y. I have never been able to get her to change leads, I've tried just cuing for the opposite lead canter, while cantering, but that has never worked (she'll act like she's trying to figure out what I want with ears flicking back to me etc, but like she's confused) so I feel like it must be something a bit different.
I really have no need for her to change leads ever, but I'd like to see if she'll just do it if I ask right. I would try doing that whole cantering figure-8's thing but I don't have an arena to work in. Basically, I'm just asking for kicks and giggles.
So, if you were going to train your horse to canter on a cue from your inside leg, how would you choose to cue for a lead change?
I will leave this for the experts in dressage to tell you what you should do since I am only starting to dabble in dressage.
I do believe they like to cue a lead with the inside leg in hopes to keep the horse's body straight when they take off. Instead of the usual "push their hindquarters in" and by doing that helps to create the bad habit of the horse always cantering with its hind end drifting to the inside of the arena. I think dressage riders still cue with the outside leg farther back for the correct lead but the inside leg is definitely on to keep the hind end from swinging in. Don't quote me on that, though! Haha
I have no idea on what you should do about flying lead changes. Hope you get some answers, though!
Because my pony was little and intelligent, he would change his lead if I shifted my weight, not something I taught him but it did come in useful! If I were to ask one of him when schooling, my aids would be as follows, say I want to change from the right lead to the left.
- Make sure his canter is up together and with plenty of energy
- Change his bend from right to left
- Balance with right rein to stop him drifing through his shoulder
- Right leg behind the girth
- Left leg on the girth, slightly more pressure than right leg
- Shift weight back, collect him onto his quarters
- Look left
- Do one clear half halt on the left rein to prepare him and tell him that an aid is coming
Asking for the change, these happen at the same time:
- Push seat down
- Lighten you left bum cheek (sorry, only way I can describe it! :D) slightly to allow movement through left shoulder
- Pressure with the right leg behind the girth
- Clear (don't kick, but this does usually have to be a very obvious aid, as it is the part that asks for the actual change, the rest is just balancing) pressure at the girth with left leg
Right, I ran through that in my head, that is literally how I asked him. Only takes a split second, it kind of comes naturally if you think about it!
I would ask on the centre line of a figure of eight. (make sure you do a figure of 8 with a centre line, as in two 20 metre circles, rather than changing across the diagonal.
Good luck! :D
Aids for flying changes realy does depend how your mare has been taught but if you just want to try it and see I would establish a nice bouncy fairly collected canter, then change the rein in canter so that you end up in counter canter, ask for canter on the correct rein (so ask for canter dispite being in canter) and see what you get.
If she hasnt done dressage for a while then you probably wont get anything to start with.
anouther way is to change the rein in canter, over the center line trot a couple of strides and then ask for canter on the other rein. Do it with less and less strides each time and eventualy you will get it.
To do either of the above methods you have to have a horse who can work in a nice balanced outline and who is thinking forwards. you also have to have a horse that is fairly quick off your leg and be able to feel where your horses feet are (more so for 2nd method) and ask quickly and clearly.
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