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Right lead canter

4598 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.
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I really like SeWHC's analysis of the problem, good decision-tree on diagnosing on this problem. You can't ignore that most often it's the rider's side dominance that inhibits one lead, rather than the rider's

I also like RiosDad's solution for setting up for the correct lead. Using my Western to English translator, leg yield two to three strides with the horse firmly on the outside aids before asking for the the lead.
 
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