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Old 12-27-2010, 06:39 PM  
aes
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Wrong lead, can this cause the horse to fall?

I was loping Pepper today, working on her 'bad' lead. At one point we got the correct (right) lead and she then tried to switch it by trotting a step, was on the wrong lead in the corner and I swear tripped over herself and we both almost bit the dust. Yikes. Is that normal? Will a horse try to canter on the wrong lead to the point where they will nearly fall down?!? She caught herself, I got off her and walked her and she seemed ok so I cantered her on the left lead just because she always gets it and I wanted to end on a 'good note.'

I didn't ask my instructor because she will say to always make sure she's on the right lead and use lots of inside leg to stop her from trotting a step and switching it, and to help her balance with my outside rein, but I'm working on it and I just don't feel it 100% of the time yet.

Thoughts? I don't want either of us to get hurt. We've been getting that lead properly more and more often and she did get it several times today, I'm doing lots of 'transitions' that direction. I'm just concerned about the tripping/falling potential.

It's never an issue when we're really running, she always seems balanced then, it's her slower lope she has trouble balancing in. I think. Aargh, I don't know! Maybe it's me!

Last edited by aes : 12-27-2010 at 06:41 PM.
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Old 12-27-2010, 06:48 PM  
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I don't know... Horses are very capable of countercantering, especially when they have been doing it all the time, I don't see why they would fall... I had a gelding that fell a few times at the canter, turns out he had EPM. I have another that used to trip a TON, he has navicular disease.. so are we POSITIVE this isn't pain?
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Old 12-27-2010, 08:00 PM  
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She only does it the one way, I got the chiro/accupressurist out, she said she was a little out in a few places but nothing serious or out of the ordinary. I really think it's me, I watch others ride her without really much issue though all say she has a preferred lead. She had a complete vet check just a few months ago, and all was fine. The vet was impressed at her perfect hooves/legs considering she'd been working on the feed lot.

It's almost like we get to the back end of the arena, she tries to switch her lead and bend the wrong way, I put my leg on harder and try to push her to the wall, and she trips.

It seems like it happens in a particular part of the arena, her losing balance. And only with me. So I think it's me. But today she nearly fell.

Last edited by aes : 12-27-2010 at 08:03 PM.
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Old 12-27-2010, 09:55 PM  
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If it happens in a corner, small circle or during a turn it could be tripping. Horses are naturally stronger on one side, she needs time, working on her off lead to strengthen the muscles.
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Old 12-28-2010, 12:44 AM  
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I agree with Sundancer, maybe you're focusing so hard on getting and keeping the correct lead that you're forgetting to keep the outside rein up/tight enough to prevent Pepper from dropping that shoulder.
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Old 12-28-2010, 06:29 AM  
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All horses have a dominant side, just like us humans. We are right or left handed... some can use both extremities equally well... not as common though.

As for Pepper... she probably needs more rider support to maintain that balanced feel on a counter-canter, along with more muscle conditioning. As with us all, our strength is more in the dominant hand so as in the horse. As long as you have had her checked-out for any underlying issues needing attention... I would try working her more on her weaker side, riding that direction and various gaits more to build up her strengths and better her co-ordination.

Sounds like you are doing that already... you definitely sound like a good attentive human "mommy" and owner always concerned for her well-being. She has lucked out in finding a "human" so caring...

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Old 12-28-2010, 07:10 AM  
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When you get to this spot is her attention turning to the exit? When you get her on the correct lead perhaps try shortening how far down the arena you go. If that doesn't work it's time to have a discussion with your farrier regarding a possible hoof issue.
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Old 12-28-2010, 09:12 AM  
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Lots of good advice here, and yes it can cause a horse to become very unsteady/unbalanced cantering into a turn/bend on outside lead, especially if they are somewhat tense, or "flustered" as this situation sounds, and they quit thinking about their own balance, and the mixture of different signals going on.

I would not worry about this rein doing this, and other leg doing that, etc. a canter cue should/is very basic on a well schooled horse, very clear, very basic.

I would do several things, 1) when horse takes wrong lead, or swaps leads, immediately reprimand ( firmly if you know horse knows it's leads, which it sounds that your horse does ) and reask for proper lead on "bad" side.....never leave the bad side, and go to the easy side without getting a successful bad side lead first. 2) this is probably the most important in my book, you said that sometimes your horse will get the correct lead several times in a row......start making a big deal out of it, give lots of praise, rest break, do not even ask again for a while.....make it very clear that getting the correct lead ='s, break time/quit time/praise time.
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Old 12-28-2010, 09:12 AM  
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Thumbs down

That's true Leli but she doesn't like to canter with a lot of contact, she thinks I'm stopping her. I think slim is right, it's not the exit but it's the door to outside and all the horses are 'concerned' there. She's fine at a walk or Trot though. It's not a hoof issue. Farrier and vet both say her hooves are great.

Thanks for saying I'm a good Mom.

She is weaker that way but the better riders can make her do it. It's just her nearly falling that worried me.

Last edited by aes : 12-28-2010 at 09:18 AM.
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Old 12-28-2010, 09:16 AM  
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Ahabarabs I am trying to do exactly this but it takes me a bit to feel if I have the right lead and I can't always have someone experienced watching from the ground.

Last edited by aes : 12-28-2010 at 09:18 AM.
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Old 12-28-2010, 09:19 AM  
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Originally Posted by ahabarabs View Post
Lots of good advice here, and yes it can cause a horse to become very unsteady/unbalanced cantering into a turn/bend on outside lead, especially if they are somewhat tense, or "flustered" as this situation sounds, and they quit thinking about their own balance, and the mixture of different signals going on.

I would not worry about this rein doing this, and other leg doing that, etc. a canter cue should/is very basic on a well schooled horse, very clear, very basic.

I would do several things, 1) when horse takes wrong lead, or swaps leads, immediately reprimand ( firmly if you know horse knows it's leads, which it sounds that your horse does ) and reask for proper lead on "bad" side.....never leave the bad side, and go to the easy side without getting a successful bad side lead first. 2) this is probably the most important in my book, you said that sometimes your horse will get the correct lead several times in a row......start making a big deal out of it, give lots of praise, rest break, do not even ask again for a while.....make it very clear that getting the correct lead ='s, break time/quit time/praise time.
I agree, and would add not to push her where you feel her be unsteady, but work on the lead elsewhere - even on the straight, until she gets more consistent in it for you. Horses can fall over - I almost tipped one over that decided it was going back to the barn no matter what I did. I pulled her head around, but she just kept charging the way she wanted to go. I felt she could have gone down had we gone over some rough ground right at that second.
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Old 12-28-2010, 09:36 AM  
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So, in that problem spot, is she just switching leads, or trying to run off at the shoulder < ie, towards the other horses, and thus switching leads??
While one needs control of the entire body, all too often the concept of shoulder control is forgotten to a degree
Riders then try to control ahorse with reins-well you can have the horse's head turned to the direction you wish to go, but if you don't have that shoulder control, the horse is going to follow that shoulder
If the horse starts to lean the shoulder towards the other horses in that corner, , you have to ride her strongly past that point, where you know she is going to break and try to switch leads. That means you have to bump that outside shoulder into aleignment with leg ahead of the cinch, while keeping inside shoulder up with inside rein
Yes, horses can counter canter, but trying to suddenly change leads while changing direction is not the same thing, and can throw a
horse off balance
In fact, the first clinics I took for lead changes, were with Pat Wize, whose method was built more on speed and direction change than setting a horse up correctly for a lead change
He had us come across center, at speed, step into the old lead stirrup, and a few feet from the wall, suddenly change direction -well a horse either changed or fell down!
That kind of lead change is way different than teaching a horse obedience to leg, building the strenght and body control, in order to counter canter
I wish I could see what your horse is doing.
If the shoulder needs fixing, then you have to do that, as a horse will always follow his shoulder until taught to follow his nose with his entire body in correct aleignment
Know your trouble spot, and get ready to really drive your horse beyond it, not letting her break.
If she breaks and changes leads, stop her immediately, instead of just letting her lope any old way. Back her up, as a reprimand, then set her up correctly for the lead you want and ask again.
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Old 12-28-2010, 03:50 PM  
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Hmm now I think you're onto something Smilie. I think she wants to bend to the inside because she doesn't like that corner (not that there are other horses, I can always drive her past other horses, they are usually at the gate at the other end of the arena). It's like I try to bend her around that corner and she wants to bend the wrong way and bulge her inside shoulder. The better riders with stronger legs can keep her bent and make her do it.

There used to be a radio in that corner now that I think about it, it was on once and spooked her a little. She never really 'spooks' there but maybe doesn't want to run headlong into it. Interesting. Perhaps I will try slim's idea of not using the whole arena and cutting across before the back wall.

If I stop her on the straight, bend her IN that corner from a halt or walk and then ask for the lead she gets it. If I canter her INTO the corner she fights me.

Nobody else can duplicate this response because I suck and they don't.

Ok anyway I know that lead needs some work but I was just worried when she almost fell, the idea of something seriously wrong with one's baby is horrifying for a first time mom!
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Old 12-28-2010, 05:09 PM  
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Use your outside leg to push her hip in rather than try to push her shoulder out.

When they drop their shoulder it is usually because they are falling on their forehand and turning as they would when loose. The weight of the rider changes their center of gravity and so they can loose balance and trip, or fall in worse.

When you try to push the shoulder over, the horse can get frustrated and crooked, instead push the hip in to give the horse her hind end to support herself and show her a better way to balance.

You may also want to be proactive and use an openning rein as you approach the end. Remember an openning rein doesn't involve increasing the backwards pull; it is only moving that hand out to the side while maintaining pressure.

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Old 12-28-2010, 05:55 PM  
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Ok, so she is dropping the inside shoulder, but switching to the outside lead??
Got me a bit confused here. I thought that when you had her on the inside lead (rt one in this case ) she was breaking and picking up the left lead instead-thus leaning on the outside, not inside.
Now, as I understand what you are saying, she is dropping that inside shoulder, thus leaning in, popping hip out.
The way I would then ride her past that corner, is by keeping outside leg on her a little back of the cinch, and I would hold inside rein up against her shoulder, to both block it and help to hold it up
Would have to see what your horse is doing, as reactions become sort of automatic. If she is also pushing those ribs against your inside leg, I would use inside leg to push them out, while also holding inside shoulder up with inside rein as stated
O am thinking western, as you eventually teach a horse to guide off of the indirect rein, and on a loose rein. Thus a horse is taught to remain evenly between the reins. Then, if you are running a large circle, as in reining, you can move that horse in and out of that circle by rein, if they start to drift
A horse has to learn to keep his shoulders up in a corner. Yes, he needs to keep driving with that rear leg, but for me, shoulder control is key, every bit as much as hip control, and becomes very apparent once to move on to lead changes
Do not try and rein her around the corner, by increasing the bend on her neck. You should only have the nose tipped in a circle so that you can just see the corner of the eye.
Holding the shoulder up, does not cause loss of balance. I'm not talking of using the outside rein to try and pull the shoulder over, but rather holding inside rein straight up at the whithers when she goes to drop that shoulder, keep ribs pushed out with inside leg and the hips will follow, as you continue to drive with outside leg
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Last edited by Smilie : 12-28-2010 at 06:08 PM.
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Old 12-28-2010, 07:25 PM  
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Ok I am thinking EA and Smilie are saying the opposite thing? Now I'm confused. As for my horse she's quite western and has had some reining training (I believe she was shown in the US a little when she was young, not sure, she does seem to 'know' some patterns) and had been used for feedlot work prior to my owning her.
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Old 12-28-2010, 07:44 PM  
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Well, Smilie and are both agreeing you need to use the outside leg to activate her hindquarters under her, but yes, we are disagreeing about the inside leg and some of the rein use.

Often in riding there are more than one way to do things.

It sound to me like you have been trying to push the shoulders over though (similar to Smilie's advice) without it working, so perhaps it is time to try something different?

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Old 12-28-2010, 08:00 PM  
aes
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Well, Smilie and are both agreeing you need to use the outside leg to activate her hindquarters under her, but yes, we are disagreeing about the inside leg and some of the rein use.

Often in riding there are more than one way to do things.

It sound to me like you have been trying to push the shoulders over though (similar to Smilie's advice) without it working, so perhaps it is time to try something different?

Karen
Yeah. That's what everyone else is doing and it works, but not for me. My right leg is much stronger (and longer) than my left and I think I tend to shift my weight to the right which confuses her. My BO also pointed out yesterday that my left stirrup is longer than my right (from mounting I think) so I lengthened the right one. But that was before she almost fell.
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Old 12-29-2010, 11:34 AM  
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Well, you will have to do what works for you, and your description as to what is Happening is not all that clear. I have a problem seeing a horse drop that inside shoulder, yet be on the opposite lead
Singing Tree pretty much gave an example of the importance of shoulder control, esp if you don't have a wall. You can turn a horse's head right to your knee, yet the horse can run off in the opposite direction, following his shoulder
Trying to move the hip in , at that point won't do much
So, in the trouble spot, is the horse trying to spook at that particular spot, thus cut inside, dropping the shoulder, or do you have a wrong lead going to that spot, because the horse switched, yet try to force the correct lead out of a sudden direction change, instead of stopping and correcting the lead first?
In that case, I am not surprised if she almost fell down. She would then try to change to keep from falling, and probably only change in front, while cross firing behind
A video would be really helpful, and seeing what she is actually doing might even get Equine Alberta and I on the same page!
Okay, just read your first post again
She switched before you got to the corner, but you rode her through the corner anyway , on the wrong lead
Therefore, yes, either keep her from switching leads by continuing to drive that hip in BEFORE you get to the corner. If you are unsucessful in having her keep the correct lead, do not continue to just ride and hope for the best. Stop her immediately, and ask for the correct lead. She has to learn that she has to stay on the lead you ask for, and at this point, that is more important than just trying to make that corner no matter what lead the horse is on.
I am guilty of not having read your original post more carefully. The problem is her changing leads on you before the corner, and things just falling apart in the corner because of it
In that case , i agree with E.A., you need to really keep driving with that outside leg to make her keep that lead and not break, before you ever get to the corner. If you fail to make her hold it, then you fix the lead before riding through that corner
Since she was shown in reining, any chance you are accidently cueing for a lead change?
We once sold a gelding that I had shown in reining, to an English home
The child was in a barn, taking English lessons.
We got a call to come and ride the horse, as he was suddenly reversing directions on the rail. Well, turns out they were accidently cueing him for a rollback. Just a thought
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Last edited by Smilie : 12-29-2010 at 12:13 PM.
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Old 12-30-2010, 11:09 PM  
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I never thought of that, maybe I am inadvertently cueing for a lead change, she will do a rollback on a dime. In fact if you gallop her up the wall she sometimes assumes you are doing a rollback and will do one on her own unless you tell her otherwise, it's very light pressure to get her to do it. I will investigate that further, thanks. She does seem to go a lot better if I go to the chiropractor.
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