The Horse Forum banner

Right lead canter

4596 Views 10 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  natisha
Hey I have really hit a wall in training my horse. I am now working on Phoenny's canter. We have been just randomly cantering here and there when we are out on the trail and she is wonderfully receptive and seems to really enjoy the canter. I am very happy with my horse and she is becoming very well balanced and soft so I felt it was time to introduce cantering into our formal training.

She is destinctly left footed, always leads a canter with her left foot and I can Not get her into a right lead canter. I just cant' do it. I have spent two serious sessions on this which we have both walked away from drenched in sweat and absolutely exhausted and no closer to getting a right lead. I must be doing something seriously wrong because what I am doing is not working.

My cue for the canter for left lead, open left rein, right leg goes back just behind the girth to push the hip over and horse pops into left lead canter. For a right lead canter, open right rein, left leg goes back behind girth to push hip over, horse pops into right lead canter. At least that is what my happened with my last horse. And that definitely happens with the left lead with Phoenix. I have had her trotting in a right hand circle (right leg inside) tried to push her hip over with my left leg to get her into a canter and she STILL chooses the left lead, doesn't matter how tight the circle is she will only pick up the left lead.

Today I tried backing her back to the starting point every time she picked up the wrong lead, we did that for half an hour, I tried one rein stops and trotting back to the start everytime she picked up the wrong lead. I tried trotting her asking for lead, back to trot, ask for right lead, back to trot, ask for right lead, back to trot, up and down the paddock for an hour. The thing is she has NO IDEA what I am asking for, it doesn't even occur to her to change leads. I can never reward her because she NEVER offers a right lead canter. So she starts to get sour on the canter and ****ty because she thinks she is doing what I am asking. By the way periodically during all the stuff I was doing I was asking for a left lead canter and rewarding her for by taking off the pressure but in some ways that almost seems to complicate things.

At the end of it all I ran out of time and had to go home, she was sour and wouldn't canter at all so I turned for home and pushed her into her left lead canter and let her relax into it and she was fine for the rest of the ride, cantering at the lightest touch again - Thank god!

What should I do? I am completely floored by this, any ideas, better ways to teach a right lead are welcome.
Not open for further replies.
1 - 2 of 2 Posts

· Registered
947 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for the posts guys. It is definitly me. I think Riosdad and RomanticLyric are right. After reading your posts and thinking about what I have been doing I think I have inadvertantly been closing down her right shoulder and not giving her the option to lead with it. That is the thing that is jumping out at me the most because she does yield her hind quarters very well.

I know there is nothing physically wrong because ironically enough after the first unsuccessful "change lead session" we were cantering (on her normal left lead) through a paddock full of thistles and we got to a particularly big clump. I think Phoenix couldn't decide which way she wanted to go to avoid the thistles and she ended up doing a flying lead change at the last second to go around them. Needless to say I took full advantage and kept her in that right lead canter for a while. She did the lead change effortlessly and maintained it without any probs. I am content that I am the fly in this ointment and Phoenix has the patience of a saint!

I agree with you also Kevin, all I have to do is establish my mistake (which I think I am getting an inkling) and then let my horse get on with it.
1 - 2 of 2 Posts
Not open for further replies.