Left lead issues - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 08-20-2019, 03:49 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2018
Location: AZ
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Left lead issues

Hi everyone, so my horse Newt has some issues with his left lead departure. Newt use to be GREAT with his left lead and horrible with his right. So now that we worked about 2 months (with a trainer) on getting him to pick up right lead and not kick out or act silly. His brain has like hyper focused on only the right lead. He does pick up the correct leads during ground work, so this issue is just under saddle Thinking it might be something I am doing, but his trainer also has issues with him picking up the left lead. They have to argue a lot, lol and Newt gets super stressed out and throws his head super high, but he will get it eventually and then calms down.
I can get him into the correct left lead when doing a roll back off of the fence and he has an even tempo and doesn't try to switch back to the right lead or act silly or anything, but he drops his shoulder in, tends to be a bit stiffer, leans into the left and will try to cut corners.
I'm trying to work with him being more supple with everything to help him from becoming heavy and leaning. We just started re working on this a couple weeks ago since I got him back from the trainer in the beginning of August.
I know it will take time just like with working on the right lead issues and getting that muscle memory down, but wanted to see if anyone has any suggestions on what else I can do to help him pick up the correct leads. I know the roll backs work, but I'm not sure if that is the best way to go about it. If I stick with doing roll backs, will he just eventually get his left lead down again?
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post #2 of 6 Old 08-20-2019, 06:22 PM
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Seattle, WA
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if he is not supple, then work at the trot and work on suppleness there.

Do circles at trot and get it GOOD, with correct bend, no leaning, and not throwing the head up.

Do lateral movement, such as spiraling out, or leg yields along the long side of the arena. When this is good, try this:

Go anti-clockwise (to your left), go down the long side, but be about 15 feet inside of the fence. along the way leg yield him out to the fence so that he hits the fence just before the corner, as he steps into the corner, just ever so slightly kiss to him and touch him with your outside leg, and see if he won't just slip into a nice left lead canter. When he does, let him just canter on , or drift down to a trot if he prefers, as his reward. Praise, go back to trotting and other relaxed lateral movements.

rinse and repeat. No stressful arguments!
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post #3 of 6 Old 08-20-2019, 09:02 PM
Green Broke
Join Date: Aug 2014
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How often was the trainer riding him and how long?

A horse who consistantly favours a lead to the point a trainer who rides them consistantly struggles makes me suspect a physical problem. So a vet would be my first stop.

Otherwise, laterals. Shoulder in, leg yield, traveres. All those will give you the body control and balance to set them up for the lead.

When you do get the lead, stop before they stop.
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post #4 of 6 Old 08-20-2019, 10:04 PM
Join Date: Sep 2013
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I agree with the vet. It can be normal when you're so focused on one thing for the horse to begin to focus on that too, but you're not saying "he picks up his right instead of his left now" you're saying he's trying to switch to the right or not pick it up at all or struggles to pick it up and is stiff and has trouble even when he has the lead and is cantering along yada yada.... That's not a training issue, a training issue is a simple reminder that the left lead still exists.

A veterinary chiropractor may be beneficial as a first step.
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post #5 of 6 Old 08-21-2019, 11:46 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2018
Location: AZ
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I dont think it is a vet issue. I've had the vet check him out and they didn't see any signs of lameness. He was with the trainer for 2 months riding him about every other day for different behavioral issues, which he does not have anymore. He also will pick up both leads on the trail and sometimes down the straightaway if I just ease him he will choose different leads. Newt also will pick up the correct leads doing ground work and when he is out in the pasture. So it is just under saddle when im working on actually asking him to pick up the correct lead departures we have issues. He will also pick it up with a rollback. He doesn't show pain and I check his back and shoulders in case it is his saddle. He doesn't kick out and he has a great relaxing lope once he gets into it, he does not try to switch leads as we are loping it's just getting him to pick it up.
Dria is offline  
post #6 of 6 Old 09-04-2019, 08:58 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2018
Location: AZ
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So just a little update. We have been working on bending and getting newt super soft and responsive to my leg which I think has helped a lot. Last night he got his left lead off the fence 4 times in a row. I am super proud of him. We got a video of the last attempt. Just to share. 🙂
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