Canter Leads - Page 3 - The Horse Forum
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post #21 of 29 Old 01-15-2013, 09:31 AM
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I've read SOME of the posts here, but not all, so bare with me:)
I agree with some....
If a horse knows how and can physically pick up the correct lead, then it's a matter of telling him what you want, not a matter of how far you let or make him lope after he picks up the correct lead.
My horse has a stiff side, but he knows what lead departures are all about. Initially picking up the correct lead was troublesome for me, not him!
This is what I do:
I begin by working on getting him really soft and light sided. Move off myers and my hands, the more I ask, the more you move - softly.
I walk collected circles, trot collected circles, all soft and at the speed I want. While trotting or walking collected circles I push his hip to the inside. When I am satisfied he is moving of my legs nicely and softly, I keep my outside leg on and that inside hip in, place my inside leg on his girth and kiss to him, all while increasing my leg pressure (this happens in a matter of seconds) on until he picks up the lead I'm asking for.....then I release and let him lope relaxed, for however long I choose.
Now, if he doesn't move that hip over and lope when I ask, I very abruptly bring him down, turn his nose to the outside and get after him to move his hip over and turn him in tight circles.....essentially I am making it harder for him not to pick up the correct lead and then I try again....his release is to lope off on the correct lead, whatever happens after the departure is just another aspect of the lope.....I like to break things down like that.
The lope is more than just the lead's very easy to get caught up in the lope as a whole....breaking it down into parts makes it much easier to work on:)
Good luck:)
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post #22 of 29 Old 01-15-2013, 09:41 AM
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It sounds like you are having the same problem that I am dealing with now with a arab that is in training. Loves his right lead, wont take left. Will do it both ways in the round pen. The first thing I did was change out the saddle. The saddle he had on fit him, but he had vary little muscle on his left side so the saddle leaned to far. So we put a better balanced saddle on him still his muscles up. Next you do what DELETE said. Dont go down to the trot. You need to show your horse that is what you wanted. Every time you brake down from the canter, he start to get confused. Get the lead stay on that lead for a few times around. Then go back to the walk. Give him a good pet. Then try to get him a again. Dont let him keep going on the wrong lead. Thats the worse thing you could do. Also only ask for the lead when you are going on a circle. Its easy for him to pick up the lead he likes when going straight. When you are going in a circle, to balance himself he needs to pick up the lead that brings his left hind under.
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post #23 of 29 Old 01-15-2013, 01:26 PM
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Basically all you're doing if you keep breaking down is teaching your horse to anticipate shutting down, no matter what lead. Which can cause sucking back and a variety of other naughty problems.

Horses have a lead that is naturally easier for them to lope on. Just like humans that are left handed or right handed.
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post #24 of 29 Old 01-15-2013, 05:05 PM
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I won't argue about the stopping after a few strides, but I DO believe that we all agree about muscling the horse up and ground training for the leads first. Also, I did mention teaching the cues for haunches in and forehand in. I might add that working at an extended walk for a warm up and for a long cool down helps a great deal to loosen up stiffness. OP, it won't be a quick fix, so be patient with your horse. Gee, if THAT is all that's wrong, you haven't got any serious training problems. =b
"Corporal" wasn't totally on his right lead 100% of the time, he just preferred it. He was worked over 1,000 hours under saddle/year in my lessons, alone, from 1986-1994, not counting trail riding trips or reenactment weekends. He was in top shape, perhaps not like a 50-100 mile endurance racer, but very well muscled. IMHO, this sounds more like a miscommunication and rider unbalanced issue than an obedience problem.
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post #25 of 29 Old 01-15-2013, 07:58 PM
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Corporal and Cherie are spot on. My young pony came to me very one-sided and hesitant to pick up the right lead, even at liberty, despite getting a completely clean bill of health after a check up from the vet. We did lots of work with shoulder in and haunches in and did lots of hill work on the trails to help him get stronger overall. He is a very forward thinking horse, so I found that the best reward for him when he picked up the right lead canter was to let him canter for as long as he was comfortable and balanced doing so. When he started to feel tired or as if he were not using himself properly, I would quietly and calmly bring him back down to the walk. At first I aimed to canter on the right lead only 2 or 3 times per ride and it was only a few weeks before he was just as solid on the right as the left.
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post #26 of 29 Old 02-23-2013, 01:11 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by .Delete. View Post

You say the horse picks up the correct leads at shows but not at home?
Yes, and when I told my trainer about this, she said that a lot of horses pick up the right leads when there is so many things distracting them. It's more of a thing they do without realizing it
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post #27 of 29 Old 02-23-2013, 05:09 PM
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Originally Posted by KylieHuitema View Post
Yes, and when I told my trainer about this, she said that a lot of horses pick up the right leads when there is so many things distracting them. It's more of a thing they do without realizing it
I say its something YOU do without realizing it.
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post #28 of 29 Old 02-23-2013, 06:24 PM
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Horses get very 'ring-wise' about a lot of things and require being 'schooled' at shows to keep them honest. This does not sound like that at all to me.

I say you are either asking differently or not correcting the horse on the very first stride in the wrong lead. I have seen several horses that picked up the correct lead for myself or a trainer and refused a lead for the owner or inexperienced rider. It had nothing to do with showing and had everything to do with poor communication skills from the novice trainer. A careful analysis of the situation usually showed that the novice rider was 'over-cueing' with the outside leg putting the horse into a reverse bend and putting the horse's head to the outside instead of in front of it or toward the inside. The other thing I have seen pretty often is that good trainers usually are much more precise in head position and in pushing the horse's hip to the inside (which almost always insures a correct and collected departure).

I helped a youth rider a couple of years ago. When I rode her horse he NEVER missed a lead -- even when asked near the gate or on the 'long side' of the arena near the barn and his buddies. She could not even get the correct lead when he was on the curved end of the arena. She was not keeping his head down so he cocked it to the outside and hoped up in front into the wrong lead or into a 'cross-fire'. -- time after time after time. It took a long time for her to learn to position him correctly. She still was over-cueing and had to keep a tighter rein that I would have liked to keep him 'in frame', but at least he started picking up the lead. She eventually got to the point where she could keep him in frame without 'holding' him there.

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post #29 of 29 Old 04-04-2013, 07:52 PM Thread Starter
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I finally started to get his bad lead! Last week I got it once from moving his hindquarters inside and putting his head towards the fence and picked it up!

Today and yesterday I have been going over a gymnastic exercise, and if I look down after it and he is on his left lead, I do a few laps praising him. Today he broke from the left lead canter to the trot, and I automatically put my leg on and pushed him back into the canter and he got the left lead right away! As soon as he did that he lowered his head and physically relaxed, while licking and chewing! He knows what he is supposed to do now!

I finally feel like I'm ready to do serious showing this year if this canter streak keeps up
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