Swapping Leads in the hind?

This topic contains 2 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  Joan Fry 3 years, 8 months ago.

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  • paintedperfection2105 Original Poster paintedperfection2105
    Topics Started: 1Replies Posted: 0

    Hi, I have a 9 year old paint mare who switches her leads in her hind end. Going clockwise, this has gotten much better and she hardly switches. However, going counter-clockwise (which is obviously her bad direction), she switches all the time, is way off balance, and races into the canter. I plan on showing her this year, but I obviously cannot have her switching. Anything helps! Let me know if you have any ideas!

    Thanks! (:

    rlueders rlueders
    Topics Started: 5Replies Posted: 24


    I’m not a vet nor an expert, and I’m only posting because I had a friend’s horse go through a similar thing. The horse is six and was never unsound, but had problems with swapping her back leads for no apparent reason. The vet was out at my barn a lot trying to figure out the problem, and we learned about all sorts of possibilities that could have caused swapping leads in the back. The first thing the vet said is it may be the rider. Does she swap her back leads at liberty or on the lunge line? If not, it’s likely a tack/rider issue. Either the tack is uncomfortable and pinching or you’re leaning/riding against her motion, forcing her to switch her leads to stay balanced.

    If these are ruled out, she may simply be out of shape and doesn’t have the muscle to canter and balance on her on. Doing canter departures and cantering for only a few strides before coming back to a trot helps every area of the canter and helps build up muscle. Do lots of trot exercises as well, encouraging her to relax by incorporating circles and serpentines.

    When my friend worked on these and found her horse wasn’t improving, she finally resorted to chiropractors. When that failed, she finally got X-Rays done of her legs and found she had Osteochondritis Dissecans (OCDs) in her legs. Basically, they were just big chunks of extra cartilage in her joints that didn’t really cause her pain (perhaps a bit of tenderness, the vet said), but really inhibited her flexibility. She had them surgically removed and is currently in her nine month recovery phase and doing well. (:

    Good luck figuring on what’s going out with your horse and best of luck this show season!

    Joan Fry
    Topics Started: 11Replies Posted: 324

    painted, I was going to ask the same question, does your mare do it on the longe line (or free longeing), or with you on her back? rlueders gave you a lot of good advice, and after reading it, I hope you decided to give your veterinarian a call and have X-rays done. My horse is doing almost the same thing, switching behind or, in his case, cantering on the correct lead going one direction, but in the other direction it looks as though he’s putting both hind legs down together, at the same time. Not exactly a canter! But in his case he’s recovering from a serious neurological illness (EPM), and he probably doesn’t have the strength to get his right hind leg underneath him. So rlueders, thanks for the tip about cantering him on the longe line. He needs to build up those muscles! painted, good luck to you and your mare.

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