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Old 07-31-2009, 09:50 PM  
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Picking up the correct lead...help

I'm not sure how to really teach my mare to pick up the correct lead when I ask her to canter. I've heard they will naturally pick up the inside lead, but that's not true at all. I've tried a few different things.

When I rode english, they taught me inside leg, outside rein, because it brought the inside shoulder forward.

Anyone have any tips or suggestions that I could use to work with my mare on her leads?
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Old 07-31-2009, 10:43 PM  
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Naturally just pick it up? What a bunch of

I can only imagine the hours of blood sweat and tears I would have saved if horses could figure that one out on their own. Some do I'm sure, but most need a little help!

Inside leg and outside rein is what I've been taught, and when training lead changes you really need to emphasize the inside bend. Asking for the canter in a corner, turn, or circle, helps I find, so long as the horse is balanced enough not to fall over on itself.

I find doing a lot of work on bending and flexing at the trot is helpful. Once the horse feels more balanced on the "least favorite" lead, they'll be more inclined to pick it up when asked.

Some suggest lunging on both leads in side reins, but personally I haven't done this as 1) I don't like cantering on a lunge line, trotting okay but cantering is just too dangerous on that small a circle I find, especially with a green horse, 2) because of this, I wonder if forcing a relatively unbalanced horse to canter on its bad lead, especially on a small circle, to be the safest practice?

Personally I think that when the horse is comfortable enough to pick up that lead, they will pick it up. and PRAISE PRAISE PRAISE when they finally do
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Old 08-02-2009, 08:58 AM  
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Really? Inside leg and outside rein? I was taught outside leg to push the horse's weight on to the inside so that they pick up the inside lead. Also, if you circle a horse to the inside and then ask for the canter coming out of the circle, their weight is perfect to pick up the correct lead.

Remember, the lead is for balance.
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Old 08-02-2009, 10:12 AM  
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I was taught to lift the inside rein slightly and use pressure from your outside leg to help pick up the correct lead. It has always worked for me and on all the horses I took lesons on.
I went to a clinic where one woman was having trouble getting her mare to pick up the right lead. The instructor taught us how to "shape the horse for their leads". Basically, we lifted the inside rein so that we could just see the horse's eye. Used the outside rein to help keep position. Used both legs, but the outside leg used more pressure and the inside leg was just to keep the hip and side in the right position. It worked really well.
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Old 08-02-2009, 08:37 PM  
 
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The way we have done it is tip the nose to the outside and use the outside leg. We have one mare that had such a terrible time picking up her lead that we almost had her start cantering sideways.
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Old 08-02-2009, 10:45 PM  
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Something that takes a lot of confidence to do.... Do circles in a trot, and when asking for a lope or canter- Do your inside leg, outside rein and then shift your weight HARD to the left side. Really step in that stirrup. That makes them shift and work to balance you. After you shift, and they are in lead, ease up and ride normally. Praise.

Some horses need this done a few times. Other than that- follow the suggestions above first. This is very sudden and can be scary. You have to trust your horse and your abilities.
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Old 08-02-2009, 11:06 PM  
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I typically use outside leg and seat - the inside leg can be used to push the shoulders out and get the proper bend if you don't have it, but some youngsters (or those learning leads) need much stronger guidence - some to the point of really having their hips to the inside of the circle. The reason that works is because the outside hind is where the lead starts from, and this position forces that leg to step under more, and the others then follow. Of course things can get more complicated, but it sounds like you are looking more for the simplified version of things, and that's where I usually start with horses just learning leads.

Now cross cantering horses are a whole 'nuther ball o' wax - that can be a real challenge if they're good at it!
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Old 08-03-2009, 07:22 AM  
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Thanks everyone. I've got some work to do with her on balance and such, but she's coming along.
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Old 08-03-2009, 07:33 AM  
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You need to make sure your horse is responsive to your leg.. the lead comes from behind.. if the horse's hip is not in the right position the lead cannot happen.. When you ask for a lope to the right lead the horse has to shift his hip to the inside of the circle (to the right).. this allows him to elevate his right shoulder.. and take the correct lead.. you should never try to get the lead from the front half of the horse.. tipping a head one way or the other throws the horse out of balance and will just cause you more greif.. lateral movement exercises are great for teaching a horse toe yeild to pressure..
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Old 08-03-2009, 08:20 AM  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Range View Post
Really? Inside leg and outside rein? I was taught outside leg to push the horse's weight on to the inside so that they pick up the inside lead. Also, if you circle a horse to the inside and then ask for the canter coming out of the circle, their weight is perfect to pick up the correct lead.

Remember, the lead is for balance.
This is also how I was taught
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Old 08-03-2009, 09:55 AM  
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If you are having trouble with one lead, then I would think the issue lies with one of both of you being one sided (which is how we all are naturally). I would work on correcting that before trying to canter. To work on that I would work on basic lateral work to ensure that your horse is able to listen to one sided aids, and to make sure you are able to apply one sided aids. Things like Turn on the forehand to make sure she can move off your outside leg, Leg yeilding to know she can displace laterally off leg and hand, and shoulder fore to make sure she can bend around your inside leg.

I would also make sure that she listens to your aids to go promptly. Some horses that have trouble picking up a lead are given too much time before they are expected to canter, so they readjust their bend to pick up the wrong lead before finally cantering.

From there, asking her to canter when in shoulder fore would be ideal.

If you are trotting into the canter, it can also help if you post the trot as you ask for the canter. If you are on the correct diagonal while trotting, this will help time your aids for when the horse is ready to strike off on the correct lead. From the walk, it is best to ask when you see the inside front leg reach forward (so you ask just as the outside hind is coming up).

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Old 08-03-2009, 04:52 PM  
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If you watch a horse break into a canter without a rider he will tip his nose to the same side as the driving hind leg. This engages the opposite front leg. An exercise I have riders do is identify when a particular hind leg touches the ground, without looking, so you'll need a buddy to help you. You will develop a sense of where the hind leg is by the action of the hips. When you are pretty good at this you will ask your horse to strike off as that leg is coming off the ground. With your outside leg applying pressure his leg will continue the arc only with more energy.
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Old 08-03-2009, 05:31 PM  
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I was also taught outside leg behind the girth, and lift the inside rein, to get the inside bend, to help them pick up the proper lead.
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Old 08-04-2009, 03:39 PM  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crookedpineqhs View Post
I was taught to lift the inside rein slightly and use pressure from your outside leg to help pick up the correct lead. It has always worked for me and on all the horses I took lesons on.
I went to a clinic where one woman was having trouble getting her mare to pick up the right lead. The instructor taught us how to "shape the horse for their leads". Basically, we lifted the inside rein so that we could just see the horse's eye. Used the outside rein to help keep position. Used both legs, but the outside leg used more pressure and the inside leg was just to keep the hip and side in the right position. It worked really well.
aaand this is why I don't teach this is exactly how I was taught, you worded it perfectly I suppose the way I think of it is that the inside leg is there for them to bend around, wheras the outside leg is the driving force, as well as needed to keep their hind end to the inside.
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