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Old 08-14-2010, 10:10 PM  
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Leads

How do I teach my girl to pick up the correct leads? I'll have her jog for a while in a tight circle, head facing inwards I'll kiss and she ALWAYS picks up te outside lead!

What should I do?
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Old 08-14-2010, 10:24 PM  
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I was shown how to do it like this....

Ask in a regular circle first, I bump with my inside leg & pick up the inside rein. If the horse doesn't pick up the correct lead I will go back to a trot & ask again.

If the horse is still on the incorrect lead, I will go back to a trot. Trot 2 small circles the opposite way you want to go. As you come around the second time, turn the way you want to go and ask again with the inside leg & rein (the inside of the way you want to go that is) as you are turning.

Occasionally I will also turn a very tight circle while loping in hopes that the horse will switch leads - at which point I will immediately reward by opening up the circle. That is the only time I allow them to lope on the wrong lead (except when I actually want a counter canter which is a whole different can of worms )

Other than that it is practise, practise practise. Even when on trail rides when going straight I make sure to ask for one lead or the other & immediately bring the horse back to a trot if I don't get it.
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Old 08-14-2010, 11:16 PM  
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Leads start in the back, therefore hip control is very important, and that is the part of the body you position to pick up a lead
I posted some excellent video links awhile back that explained the importance of hip control
A lope stride has three beats.
First beat is NOT the lead leg, but the outside rear hind leg.
Second beat is the inside hind and outside front hitting the ground at abouth the same time. Final beat is the lead leg hitting the ground
WHile it is helpful teaching agreen horse leads using 'geography', ie a circle, you wnat to start using the cues and body position that will in the future have the horse picking up the desired lead anywhere, including in a straight line or even a counter canter, and not jsut because of direction
Thus you move hip into the lead , you hold inside shoulder up with inside rein, so to make it easier for a horse to drive up from behind and follow through with the asked for lead
Place outside leg back of the cinch and drive the horse up into the lead from behind, instead of falling into the lead out of foreward momentum by trotting faster and faster.
If the horse gets the right lead behind, he will be right in front. The opposite is not true. If you try to force a lead by focusing on the front, you might get the lead in front, but the horse will also be likely to miss the lead behind and thus cross fire
Elements you need on ahorse to make him 'dead leaded'
hip control
shoulder control
Giving correctly at the poll and face, so he keeps frame during a lope transitition
You use outside leg, not inside leg for lead departures. We teach horses to move away from pressure. You don't try and 'trick ' ahorse into a lead, by putting him in unbalnaced postions, hoping he will thus pick up the lead out of sheer self preservation
THis postioning (hip ) for lead departures follows through if you later go on to flying changes. Flying changes are afterall, no more than a series of opposite lead departures without breaking gait
Here is one video that explains it
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iXHegH0c6P8
Here is one explaining the beats and lead departures
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Aribw...eature=related
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Last edited by Smilie : 08-14-2010 at 11:31 PM.
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Old 08-15-2010, 02:19 PM  
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How do I teach my girl to pick up the correct leads? I'll have her jog for a while in a tight circle, head facing inwards I'll kiss and she ALWAYS picks up te outside lead! What should I do?
Because she is not balanced and because you are asking for the incorrect lead; you have her head turned, her body arced etc. Don't do any "skewing" with the body, but keep it plain old straight...no tipping the head, no arcs in the body. If ANYTHING, you could bring her hip in to the inside a little, but keeping a horse straight from head to tail is important.
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Old 08-15-2010, 08:29 PM  
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She's not really unbalanced, she tries to go to the fence. How does making her go in a straight line teach her leads? She's never been taught. This is a new step in her training?
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Old 08-15-2010, 08:36 PM  
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Originally Posted by Smilie View Post
You use outside leg, not inside leg for lead departures. We teach horses to move away from pressure. You don't try and 'trick ' ahorse into a lead, by putting him in unbalnaced postions, hoping he will thus pick up the lead out of sheer self preservation

Guess I should have put IMO on my first post

From the person doing it wrong...

My horses get their correct leads & do lead changes in a circle, straight whatever so I guess they don't agree that I'm asking them wrong
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Old 08-15-2010, 10:56 PM  
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Just shows how adapable horses are, but none the less Josie, your method is contrary to any accepted training practice by pros who train not one, but hundreds of horses to upper level compitition
You are trying to throw your horse onto the correct lead by manipulating the front end and by putting him in unbalanced positions so that he has to try and pick up that lead or risk falling down
Try watching a reining video, where the lope departure in the pattern starts at center. YOu will see the rider move the hip into the lead, raise rein hand so inside rein is keeping inside shoulder up, and lope off
I would love to see a video of your horse's lead departures and flying changes
Kendall, watch the videos, and you will see that there are stepping stones to teaching good lead departures, called body control
There are two ways to get leads, and flying changes for that matter
The first is the one horses do all the time out in the pasture. A circle or change of direction, esp at speed has ahorse picking up the 'correct; lead, or inside lead, as that is way easier than a counter canter-ie, it just happens naturally with any athletic horse that does not have a pain issue
However, if you wish to pick up a lead on command, without a circle or change of direction, you need that body control on a horse that lets you position him in such away that the asked for lead is easy to pick up
The correct lead can be a counter canter, if that is what the rider asks for. In other words, the horse obeys the rider's leg, and not just the direction he is travelling in
Reiners all the time school horses to not antisipate a lead change every time they come across center by changing direction, but making the horse stay on the same lead
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Old 08-16-2010, 12:09 PM  
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Originally Posted by Smilie View Post
Just shows how adapable horses are, but none the less Josie, your method is contrary to any accepted training practice by pros who train not one, but hundreds of horses to upper level compitition
You are trying to throw your horse onto the correct lead by manipulating the front end and by putting him in unbalanced positions so that he has to try and pick up that lead or risk falling downTry watching a reining video, where the lope departure in the pattern starts at center. YOu will see the rider move the hip into the lead, raise rein hand so inside rein is keeping inside shoulder up, and lope off
I would love to see a video of your horse's lead departures and flying changes
Kendall, watch the videos, and you will see that there are stepping stones to teaching good lead departures, called body control
There are two ways to get leads, and flying changes for that matter
The first is the one horses do all the time out in the pasture. A circle or change of direction, esp at speed has ahorse picking up the 'correct; lead, or inside lead, as that is way easier than a counter canter-ie, it just happens naturally with any athletic horse that does not have a pain issue
However, if you wish to pick up a lead on command, without a circle or change of direction, you need that body control on a horse that lets you position him in such away that the asked for lead is easy to pick up
The correct lead can be a counter canter, if that is what the rider asks for. In other words, the horse obeys the rider's leg, and not just the direction he is travelling in
Reiners all the time school horses to not antisipate a lead change every time they come across center by changing direction, but making the horse stay on the same lead
Bingo...and this is what I meant by unbalanced. To the OP, like I said in my previous post, if you are turning your horse's head, and then doing something else with it's body...that is not balanced.

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Old 08-18-2010, 07:38 PM  
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Originally Posted by Smilie View Post
Just shows how adapable horses are, but none the less Josie, your method is contrary to any accepted training practice by pros who train not one, but hundreds of horses to upper level compitition
You are trying to throw your horse onto the correct lead by manipulating the front end and by putting him in unbalanced positions so that he has to try and pick up that lead or risk falling down
Try watching a reining video, where the lope departure in the pattern starts at center. YOu will see the rider move the hip into the lead, raise rein hand so inside rein is keeping inside shoulder up, and lope off
I would love to see a video of your horse's lead departures and flying changes
Kendall, watch the videos, and you will see that there are stepping stones to teaching good lead departures, called body control
There are two ways to get leads, and flying changes for that matter
The first is the one horses do all the time out in the pasture. A circle or change of direction, esp at speed has ahorse picking up the 'correct; lead, or inside lead, as that is way easier than a counter canter-ie, it just happens naturally with any athletic horse that does not have a pain issue
However, if you wish to pick up a lead on command, without a circle or change of direction, you need that body control on a horse that lets you position him in such away that the asked for lead is easy to pick up
The correct lead can be a counter canter, if that is what the rider asks for. In other words, the horse obeys the rider's leg, and not just the direction he is travelling in
Reiners all the time school horses to not antisipate a lead change every time they come across center by changing direction, but making the horse stay on the same lead

This is not how I ask everytime, this is only what I do when they don't pick up the correct lead. At first I sit to the trot, pick up the inside rein, ask for the lope with a voice command and gently touch with the inside leg. I usually pick up the rein & ask for the lope first as my mare will go off voice commands without any leg involvement at all.

The circling is down only to get the lead when the horse isn't picking it up... once they get it I praise like crazy to show that is what I want. I don't ride in competions except local shows in gaming & ride to relax - not concentrate on 15 different things to get a simple lead.

Again, once the horse understands what I want - when I lift this rein, I want this lead for the lope - I am content with that.

Lead changes are also mainly done by lifting the rein for the lead I want and saying HUP. She will change front & back and will not switch unless I ask.

Doing all the complicated reining stuff is great if you like doing it... I just find watching the videos gives me a headache... While I would love it if my horses could do all of that so smoothly like a professional, I'm not that motivated to go beyond the basics. I prefer to live by the KISS philosophy.

BTW my instructor/trainer showed us how to ask for leads like this... so at least I am not the only wrong one out here...

Lastly, I would prefer the remaining posts to concentrate on the OP rather than convincing me on how wrong I am... I got the message but since my technique works for me I prefer to keep it.
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Old 08-18-2010, 08:37 PM  
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Josie, you did post to tell the op how to pick up leads, and sorry, your method is by all established good training programs incorrect, regardless whether your horse just happens to get the leads using your method. He is getting the leads inspite of, and not because you are making it easy for him through correct body control
By lifting that inside rein, you have the final facilitation of the lead, but not the beginning. Leads start in the back. You thus position the hip for the first beat of that lope stride. You lift that inside rein to keep inside shoulder up, so that the horse can more easily drive up from behind and finish ,not the first beat of that stride, but the third and final beat
Spirling down will force a horse to take that inside lead, but it does nothing to teach him to take that lead on cue. INstead, if ahorse picks up the wrong lead, bring him right back down, move the hip and ask again with outside leg
If he isd leaning on the inside shoulder, st=op him and do several turn on the haunches to the outside of the circle. You need the body control to pick up leads anywhere, any time, including on the straight, and thus no forcing ahorse by spirling down to small circles until he has to change or risk falling.
Sorry, while there are many cases where one can train horses by different methods, and no method is wrong, this is not the case here, and I do not wish the Op to think your method is an alternate but also correct way
One can't just fall into the trap that'well, this is the way I have always done it, so it must be correct
Horses are a life long learning experience
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Old 08-18-2010, 08:39 PM  
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I like that there are different ways out there!

But since my girl is only 3, she's never been taught correct leads, as I am just now at that level.

We had a horrible day today. Would not pick up the correct lead no MATTER what!!!!
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Old 08-18-2010, 08:57 PM  
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Does she pick them up on the lunge? Or in the round pen? If she's only three, then I would also guess that she is unbalanced with having a person up there, it takes them awhile for them to get balanced all over agian. When training a green horse, it's going to take some time, and practice.
All you can do is make sure she's got the correct foundation and set her up right and ask correctly. She'll do the rest when she's ready.
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Old 08-18-2010, 09:15 PM  
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Thank you.

But yes in the round pen, its perfect! 99% always correct leads! Hence why when were still going in the same size circle in the pasture I got so mad today. We did end on a good note, she picked up the right lead for like one or two strides, so then I let her be done! I always have to end on a good note, or have her do something that she can do well, and let her end then.
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Old 08-18-2010, 10:25 PM  
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Smilie's method is the same way I was taught to ask for a canter. Outside leg back a bit and squeeze. However, I was taught that the inside leg is used to keep the canter, especially on my horse who tries to break her gait when she sees her buddies hanging around at one end of the arena....
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Old 08-19-2010, 11:38 AM  
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Nothing wrong with using legs as needed to keep the canter correct, after the horse has picked it up You use judgement. Ideally, the horse stays evenly between the reins, as in a reiner running a circle, but I will use inside leg to help keep that inside shoulder up, if needed, and also both legs if a horse stops driving from behind and starts to get flat
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Old 08-20-2010, 12:05 PM  
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Guess I should have put IMO on my first post

From the person doing it wrong...

My horses get their correct leads & do lead changes in a circle, straight whatever so I guess they don't agree that I'm asking them wrong
No, you're just lucky you have a horse trained well enough to pick up the correct lead, even if you ask him incorrectly.
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Old 08-20-2010, 12:11 PM  
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The way I train young/green horses to do this is what many others have mentioned, lateral movement is key, you need to have control not just of the shoulder but the hind end is critical. My one gelding had real trouble with his left lead for a while so I woudl have to tip his nose to the outside, move his haunches toward the inside of the arena and ask him. This is a very dramatic way of doing things and isnt always pretty (dressage whip and a few taps on the haunches to get them to move over sometimes helps) but doing this sets the horse up for success as their body is positiioned to pick up the right lead. You wont ride them in this manner the entire time, just while you ask, then settle back with even reins and inside leg to get them to bend and collect.

My older gelding will pick up the correct lead even when I ask him to counter canter, point proven...they learn their jobs and even when you ask them to do something which is considered "incorrect" in normal circumstances, its just a sign of a well trained horse.
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Old 08-20-2010, 12:16 PM  
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By going in a tight circle you are making your horse lean on the inside shoulder, which she should be lifting.

Back to my basic eq class... It's called a canter. Why? Because a horse naturally cants. A horse cants to the outside. So, if you don't have a lot of him and shoulder control, (which is the correct tools to cue a horse) You can force them to take the correct lead by canting them to the OUTSIDE. I mean get up against a rail, put her nose slightly towards the rail and make her move her hip in. If you can't control the hip, really cant her out! People may bash me, I KNOW this is not how you ask, but it is a great start for a green rider/horse. This is coming not from me, but from a professor (PhD in animal nutrition) who has also been a trainer for 50 + years. It does work, not pretty, but will teach a horse to pick up the correct lead.

Now, when I get my horse to pick up a lead I put his nose slightly inside the bend (actually I leav it straight cuz he knows what he is doing). I then ask him to get off his inside shoulder, then push his outside hip in and off we go.
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Old 08-21-2010, 09:19 PM  
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By going in a tight circle you are making your horse lean on the inside shoulder, which she should be lifting.

Back to my basic eq class... It's called a canter. Why? Because a horse naturally cants. A horse cants to the outside. So, if you don't have a lot of him and shoulder control, (which is the correct tools to cue a horse) You can force them to take the correct lead by canting them to the OUTSIDE. I mean get up against a rail, put her nose slightly towards the rail and make her move her hip in. If you can't control the hip, really cant her out! People may bash me, I KNOW this is not how you ask, but it is a great start for a green rider/horse. This is coming not from me, but from a professor (PhD in animal nutrition) who has also been a trainer for 50 + years. It does work, not pretty, but will teach a horse to pick up the correct lead.

Now, when I get my horse to pick up a lead I put his nose slightly inside the bend (actually I leav it straight cuz he knows what he is doing). I then ask him to get off his inside shoulder, then push his outside hip in and off we go.
That's why maneuvers like shoulder in, travers and renvers are employed (although renvers is not so much used as it is extremely difficult to do on long reins and it's essentially a duplicated by shoulder in) - for hip and shoulder control. No hip/shoulder control, no real control of the lead choice (asking vs. forcing). No unexpectedly, the order you teach a horse to do things is also important during the course of training. You can't effectively get step 6 right without getting steps 1-5 right. And then sometimes certain horse need to be taught certain things out of the normal order.

Whenever I run into a horse that doesn't want to pick up a certain lead, I go back to the beginning to find out where the hole is and any other subsequent holes or lapses in training.
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Old 08-21-2010, 09:46 PM  
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I was having the same problem with my horse. I've been riding a long time but had gotten some bad habits from just doing trails and riding on my own. This year I got a coach again and took my horse there, she has been great. I thought it was my horse that was always picking up the wrong lead cause he was just being stubborn, he'd pick up the wrong one going both directions.

Well we have been working and it turned out that I was the big problem. I sort of thought this but wasn't sure what I was doing wrong. It was a matter of me leaning and not even realizing it, now that I stay centered at all times, (well mostly I have a lot of years of bad habits to break) he picks up his lead 95% of the time. I'm just glad I have a good coach that can pick up on these things cause it can be something very simple. We are now working on simple lead changes and hopefully soon flying changes.
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