Horse Training: Lead Changes and Departures
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Horse Training: Lead Changes and Departures

August 17, 2019


The final maneuver that we want to be concerned about
is leads and lead departures and lead changes. Ultimately when a horse lopes, as we talked about before in the other video, a horse lopes like a person skips. So they have a leading leg. The inside leg should
be leading, so it carries the weight. The front leg and the hind leg, are leading legs, so if you’re going to the right, the
right front and right hind lead the back hind so like that skipping motion. To get the horse to take the appropriate lead, we’re going to use our leg aids. We’ve taught him to use his hip, on
the ground and on his back, we’ve put our leg in him on our outside left leg, and the horse should move to the right. Alright, if he does that, then he should take the right lead. So he shifts his weight, and the left leg
pushes the horse to the right lead. The right leg then pushes the horse to the left lead. Now, to teach the lead departure, all we’re going
to do is push that horse’s hip around and ask him to lope. Now initially he may trot for awhile, but ultimately he’ll pick up the lope and when he starts learning it, we’ll start asking
him and being more and more demanding. Now, once he will take that lope, from a standstill, then we’re going to start ultimately asking him to make a lead change. To do that, all we’re going to do, if
we’ve got him on the right lead, we’re going to take our left leg, and push him,
and push him over to the left lead. Now ideally we’ll do that by moving his hip first,
so we’ll move his hip to the left, get the left lead, then move his hip to the right and get the right lead. Alright, if we’ve done our homework, on the ground, and we’ve got this horse to where (clucks) we can move his hip around on the ground by bumping him and/or threatening him, we get on him and we can move his hip around then we’ll be able to hopefully make him change leads. So we get on his back and we start moving that hip. Alright, that is the key to all leads being able to move his hip and put your
leg in that number three position, and get that hip to move around. What we want to do, if I want
to take the left lead here, I’m going to move his hip slightly to the right, and then ask him to lope. And so he picks the left lead up. If I want him to take the right lead,
I’ll push his hip to the right, and then ask him to lope. So it’s just a matter of being consistent and asking that horse to move and then lope and you start getting your lead departure. If the horse takes the wrong lead, we’ll simply stop him, back him up and then, in this case, I’m going to
move her hip around to the left and get the horse to listening, and I want to take the counter canter or wrong lead and then I’m going to ask her to change. So whichever direction we push the horse, we should be
able to get the lope in that direction its just a matter of being consistent. Now, what we want to do, as we’ve talked about, we want to be able to walk this horse and get the hip. Just like we got the shoulder in the counter arc, we want to be able to walk this horse, reach back with our leg, and get that hip to move. Sometimes the horse will get nervous when we do that, so we’re going to stop and back her up, and relax her Pressure and release, pressure and relax. We want to get this horse to relax and be quiet. so that when we start asking them for these things, they don’t run run from our leg and get nervous about it they’ll just simply wait on us. So if I’m walking here, and I’m going to take my right leg and push her hip around and so I want this horse to walk with her hip inside. Now, as this horse starts doing that, and being pretty quiet about it, then I’m going to start trotting and ask for the same thing. So I’m going to put my left leg in her and if she gets nervous, I’m going to stop and back up, and let the horse relax. I always stop and back up, that way we
keep her soft in her face keep her relaxed, and she moves away from the leg and doesn’t run from the leg. So then ultimately to get this horse ready for a lead change, we’re going to put our leg in her at a lope, and move her sideways and stop and back up. So we get her used to moving the hip. Now, in most cases, if the horse is loping if they start getting nervous, I’m going to stop and back up. That keeps the horse thinking about moving their hip and not too worried about me. Now, once the horse will move their hip at a lope, then they’re ready for a lead change. Alright, so all we’ve got to do is ask with the other leg if we’ve got our right leg in her, asking her to lope then we put our left leg in her
and ask for the other lead. We’re going to put our right leg in her, and ask for her to lope on the other lead Now, there she got a little anticipating, she got to wanting to beat me to the punch, and so i just stop her and back her up, get her relaxed and get her to quit, and wait on me a little bit, and then start over, so that she doesn’t
get too terribly nervous about this deal. But ultimately we should be able to get multiple lead changes simply by pushing the horse sideways and every time the horse starts getting a little too nervous we just stop, back up and let them relax. If you let your horse relax and be quiet, every time they get nervous just stop and back up and let them relax,
and maybe go do something else for awhile then lead changes ceases to be real complicated for the horse

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  1. Just wondering what your cue to for the lope departure is. The horse obviously clearly understands it. It's so subtle that I can't see it. Do you lean forward in the saddle a bit, or squeeze a little with your seat, or???
    Thank you!

  2. I have been watching eXhorses for about an hour now. Just wanted to say these videos are some of the best explained training videos available. Thank you so much!

  3. I once new an amazing speed event horse a couple years back. Big, gorgeous paint gelding. And man could he run! But he started backing up all the time, even in the middle of running a pattern at a show. Is there another way to relax your horse than backing up? I was told the trainer used the same technique(backing to relax) so the horse eventually started backing up on his own from anxiety no matter where he was. Have you seen this? Do you have any info or suggestions about this?

  4. @Brogers87 Hey are you still having some problems with the horse backing up? I would like to offer some help if you still are. I knew a couple of horses that did this, and worked them through it.

  5. Just before you put your leg on, their nose should also be slightly tipped towards the inside. Some horses confuse the leg cue as a speed-up cue, so counteract that urge for her by engaging your reins. If you have her mouth soft and she is bridled up, then she will learn to stay steady. I also exaggerate the inside leg coming off (we call it, "opening the door") if both legs are on, she may think it is a cue to speed up.
    Your post is a year old so I hope that you have worked it all out by now.

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