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By: Ali Schubert
on May 26, 2012
in Hunter / Jumper Questions
Flying Lead Changes-- PLEASE HELP
So I've been trying to teach a horse I've been riding to do flying lead changes and she kinda is getting it. Her weak lead is her right, so to start we worked from right to left. She got the whole change most of the time, but then she would get really nervous and kinda take off. After getting one, I worked really hard to get her calm again before we did the next one and eventually we got several calm lead changes from right to left and now she does it nearly flawlessly. The trouble arises with trying to get her to go from her left lead to her right lead, because it is going from her strong to her weak lead. I'll turn her and she'll get half, but she'll get really nervous and take off. When I try to calm her down she switches the front back to left lead and we're back to where we started, ony we're more nervous. If I try to just get her back half then calm her down, I TAP her with the crop and she bucks then switches it, but then she's going even faster than before, but my trainer has been working with us on this. What we've been doing (because Tango, the horse I've been riding, has issues with rushing on alot, especially over jumps and during changes) is when she rushes, I pull hard on both reins equally until the slows down to the speed I want, then I release all the pressure on her mouth to show her it's what I want. She does calm down when i do this, but then when I go to do the change again, she gets really nervous and it's hard to calm her down. Today, it got to the point where she would get nervous even when I was doing her good change and I couldn't even circle because she would anticipate the change and rush and stop bending and we would get into a fight. Any help? If you need more info, then just comment. I really want to help this sweet girl, she's an ex-trail horse in the hunters world and she's still figuring everything out.
1. Try asking for the lead change over a ground pole/cavaletti. In that way, her haunches are already up.
2. Don't repeat the same process in the same place day after day and ride after ride. She is anticipating and getting anxious. Mix it up. In the arena, out of the arena. Don't practice it every time you ride.
3. She probably doesn't have the muscle yet to consistently swap. It will take longer on her weak side so but do NOT push her.
We have topics like this at www.myhorseplay.com
I started over a pole, but she still got her better lead and got half her bad change and she got the same without the pole. I do it in different sections of the ring, but she has gotten to the point where whenever i circle or try to set up for a change she realizes it. I don't want to scare her, but I feel like the technique I used for her other change isn't working. I would love for her to easily do her changes with no fuss, and I have that on one, but I need help to get the other with as little fuss as possible
Whoa, you need to slow down. Why is she weak is the first question you need to ask? Is their any muscular differences when you stand behind your horse and look at her hind end? How about differences in her shoulder muscles when you compare one to the other? If so you need to figure out why. Does she have hock or stifle issues? Is she just young and green or has she not had the opportunity to become the athlete she needs to be for lead changes (to build up theses muscles?) The possibilities are endless.
What you need to do is slow down though and not school these changes if it is making her nervous or uncomfortable or you will always have a nervous uncomfortable horse doing changes. If you have no earthly idea what is going on ask a vet, trainer, experienced friend, farrier for additional imput to see if you can figure out this puzzle.
I recently received a new pony for one of my clients. He was very out of shape, no muscle and underweight. When we started working him back, all seemed fine...a little weak in the left hind,,,but we kept an eye on that. When we started to notice that he was muscling disproportionately we started digging. Had the chiro out...had the farrier out...made some changes and adjustments...kept working...still had problems...xrayed and realized that he would benefit from hock injections....
Two weeks later ponykins was happy and comfortable and looking good....it takes a team effort (and a bit of money sometimes). :-)
I've always been told a horse has a good lead and a bad lead, much like a human has a hand they write with and one they don't like as much. My trainer says she's ready for the lead changes, and she started nervous on one of them and is now good. My trainer also says she just needs more practice with it and she'll get better at it. Her muscles are equal on both sides of her body, as far as I can tell. I would love to hear your opinion on all of this!