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Teaching a horse leads

This topic contains 3 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  jsmith2005 1 year, 9 months ago.

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  • Summer Original Poster
    Topics Started: 9Replies Posted: 19

    Hey Guys!
    It’s me and my 12 year old APHA gelding again!
    So, i know what leads are and i know how to teach them but my horse is just not picking up on it. He isVERY VERY VERY sensitive to touch, so i am guessing his old owner spurred him a lot, so i usually cluck or kiss. And well you can’t just say right lead and expect the horse to know what to do without any other cues during training. Any advice? And i really need flying lead changes for gaming events.

    G & S
    Topics Started: 16Replies Posted: 249

    You will need to firmly establish correct lead pick up in both directions before you move on to flying lead changes.

    My background is dressage, so the info I am giving you is the dressage version of teaching a horse to pick up correct leads.

    1) Make sure the horse can & will bend correctly to to circles, which means slightly bent to the inside of the circle. The rider’s inside leg on the horse tells him to bend for the circle or to stay on the outside track of the ring, or on the edge of the circle the rider has requested, as opposed to turning. The horse needs to understand the difference between his head being bent to turn or change directions where his body will follow his head, and the horse being bent on a circle, where his head is bent to the inside but his body remains on the imaginary circle.

    2) Once you have taught the horse Step 1 above, then you will have control of head & body. The canter is a 3 beat movement, starting with the outside hind, then the diagonal (the strong beat), and followed by the inside front. Dressage training is that the rider indicates which lead the horse is to pick up by the rider using the outside leg/foot/heel to tell the horse to start with the outside hind for the standard canter.

    3) Once the horse can consistently pick up leads in both directions, based on which hind foot the rider tells the horse to start with, the rider can tell the horse to counter-canter (canter on the “wrong” lead), by asking for the canter depart with the inside leg. Counter cantering in dressage is a required skill the horse needs to achieve before flying changes can even be attempted, and counter-canters should only be done on the straight away, not through a curve, so it is frequently done just beyond the 2nd short end corner in the dressage ring.

    Some horses pick this up quickly, some do not, so patience on the part of the rider is critical.

    Joe-Joe Joe-Joe
    Topics Started: 17Replies Posted: 1205

    It isn’t so much a case of teaching the horse his leads as it is teaching him what it is you are asking. One thing that can help is to have someone put your horse on a longe line while you are on him (assuming he takes the correct lead while longeing), so that he can associate your cues with the action you want. Horses are born with and use the ability to take either lead and do flying changes while loose, so what you want to teach is the response to a specific cue. And, you really can teach the words “left” or “right”, as well as “canter”. You can even teach the word for a specific place in your ring. Of course, you cannot be loud about it, but horses are capable of learning a huge vocabulary. They can even understand (but not always obey) the command “get your head out of the garbage”.

    For specific cues, G&S is correct.

    It is never the horse's fault

    jsmith2005
    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 11

    What you do in the saddle begins on the ground. Try working with your horse going around cones from the ground with a lead rope. Then take two cones spaced about 20 meters apart and walk him in a figure eight around them. When he can do this at a walk and trot then he will be ready to do it at a cantor. Remember to face your belly button away from him as you ask him to go around the cones otherwise you will be blocking him and he won’t come towards you. I recommend The Parelli 7 savys dvds to begin ground work with him.

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