Feeling Canter Leads? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 9 Old 08-19-2008, 02:45 PM Thread Starter
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Feeling Canter Leads?

Mk, well Iv been riding for about 4 years on and off, and for the past 2 years have been getting more serious. I currently jump about 2'9 and am having a bit of trouble with my pony's leads.
I know what leads are, and when looking at a mirror or another rider I do know what the correct lead looks like, and what the wrong lead looks like. My problem is when I'm riding. I've never really tried feeling leads on any other horses until my pony now. And when I try, i truly cant feel any difference from when he is on the correct lead to the wrong lead. Even others who ride him also say that they cant feel his leads well.
What can I look for/feel to see if I am on the correct lead or not? I know its going to take time on my part to learn to feel them, and I'm in no rush :]
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post #2 of 9 Old 08-19-2008, 03:41 PM
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well i had the same problem ... what i did was let my legs relax a little and if the inside leg rocked back and forth a little bit it meant i was on the right lead ... and really you leg only rocks like that is if you are going in a circle or turning corners so trying feeling for it by doing circles and relaxing your legs at corners... Hope i helped ... i know i didn't explain it very well. sry..

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post #3 of 9 Old 08-19-2008, 04:16 PM
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It could be just that horse- I've been there before, I've ridden a horse where I couldn't tell if he was on the right lead or not. But yeah, try to relax & really feel how it changes when it's on the wrong lead.

Ride more, worry less.
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post #4 of 9 Old 08-19-2008, 04:48 PM Thread Starter
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Mk, everything helps. Thanks so much everyone :]
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post #5 of 9 Old 08-19-2008, 05:03 PM
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Same here, I've been riding for about seven years and only started to feel canter leads this past year. Firstly, can you see the correct lead when you're on the horse? If you can, then I'd pick up the canter, guess if you're on the correct lead, then look down to see if you were correct. You can tell by the first canter stride if the horse is on the correct lead by feeling which shoulder and front leg reaches out first. So it takes a lot of practice. As you ride you horse more, it'll come easier.
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post #6 of 9 Old 08-19-2008, 05:31 PM
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With me, my whole balance tells me--my foot, leg and hip on the side of whatever lead the horse is on feels like it's just a hair further ahead then the other side.
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post #7 of 9 Old 08-19-2008, 06:28 PM Thread Starter
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no, i actually cant see it either. my pony has a very fast, short canter...ill try everything suggested next time I ride :]]
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post #8 of 9 Old 08-19-2008, 07:43 PM
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What I'd do is look down for the foot/shoulder, figure out which lead it is, then spend the next few minutes trying to remember what it feels like, get it in your bones--maybe study what a horse is doing with all four feet at the canter so that you visualize what's going on under there and learn to feel it. Go both ways and concentrate on what you're feeling, how your body is balanced.
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post #9 of 9 Old 08-19-2008, 10:30 PM
Green Broke
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Another way to do it is to learn how to feel where your horse's back feet are. This will eventually be very important to know as you progress anyways, and a great way to learn how to feel if you're on the correct diagonal without having to look down. It's important to know the footfalls of the gaits so you know what your horse's legs are doing. Then start off at the walk. (I think it's easiest to drop your stirrups) and feel how your horse moves left, right left, etc and feel how his back legs swing. When you can tell where his back legs are at the walk, move on to the (sitting) trot. This is a bit harder! I used to look down at his shoulders so I could tell what his back legs were doing, imagine them moving, and the identify the feeling with the movement. (note, you will post UP when your horse's hind leg moves forward). I almost think learning to feel the hind legs at the canter is easier, but others would disagree. But same thing, imagine what the legs are doing and feel for the movement. Make sure that you're relaxed enough to move with your horse, some find it easier to look up, some find it easier to look down. Every horse will be different. But like I said, when you get to the point where you need to influence where your horse's back legs are and when, you'll need to know where they are! (haha, if that makes sense...)
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