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View Full Version : How to get a very green horse to get her left lead?



GracieBay6316
May. 16, 2011, 09:59 PM
I began riding and training a green mare, who has spent her life as a broodmare, back in February. She's only been to one low level Hunter show but will soon be going to some higher level shows. She won't do very well against the upper level "made" horses since she will never get on the bit at all or pick up her left lead. She had never been trained previously to do either of these things. If I was a professional who rode every day of the week I could maybe fix this problem but I'm not and there isn't anytime to send her off to a trainer before the next show.
The first problem is her head. Side reins do not help very much and every technique I have tried so far hasn't worked. I don't believe in draw reins and I don't plan on using them. Are there any techniques or bits that you can suggest that would help?

The second problem is her left lead. She absolutely never ever picks it up. She was never trained besides being lightly started under saddle. Even when I lunge her in our small round pen she doesn't pick it up. At the previous show the judge ragged on me for not trying more than once to get her once her left lead. I knew she wouldn't pick it up, and I only tried a simple change so the judge would see that I knew she wasn't on the correct lead. I have no idea what to do about this.

Any suggestions are appreciated! Thank you so much! I posted this on the dessage forum because I figured you guys would know the most about such things. :)

thatsnotme
May. 16, 2011, 10:58 PM
Based on what you've said, why are you showing her? Is she being sold and no longer sellable as a broodmare? It sounds to me like she is not ready to be shown and you will be (unfairly) putting too much pressure on both of you. Any new bit or other thing that will get her on the bit quickly will not keep her there. Time, training, balance, muscle development, etc.
As for the lead, I can offer, trot on the incorrect diagonal, make sure she is easily moving forward and back within the trot, and when you feel you have her balanced in a corner try to just roll into it. Keep yourself posting, don't let her get quick. Again, this stuff comes with time and development. You don't mention how long you've been riding her, but I think you're asking too much too fast.

meupatdoes
May. 16, 2011, 11:08 PM
Is somebody forcing you to show this horse?

Because I can't think of any other reason you'd horse show something that's not even basically broke.

meupatdoes
May. 16, 2011, 11:10 PM
You don't mention how long you've been riding her, but I think you're asking too much too fast.

OP says she started riding her back in February.

Fairview Horse Center
May. 16, 2011, 11:20 PM
To help you get left lead, set up a set of 5 cavalettis in a corner. Make them 4' apart on the inside, and 5' apart on the outside of the curve. Trot in on a balanced trot, sitting, and just before the last pole, push your left hand forward, and also your left seatbone, while asking for the canter over that last pole. Keep trying, and pretty soon, she should pick up left lead.

Then remember the body position - yours and hers of what worked repeatedly, and do exactly the same without the poles.

Fairview Horse Center
May. 16, 2011, 11:24 PM
As for getting her on the bit, it may take time to build up her muscle tone to carry a rider, while relaxing her back and stretching down. Just work on forward, in a rhythm, light contact, and a bit of bend. Work to her her to relax her back, and lengthen her steps.

GracieBay6316
May. 17, 2011, 11:30 AM
Based on what you've said, why are you showing her? Is she being sold and no longer sellable as a broodmare? It sounds to me like she is not ready to be shown and you will be (unfairly) putting too much pressure on both of you.

I am showing her for her owner and her wants her to be shown. I agree that she isn't ready but it's what the owner wants. She is being sold and I'm thinking abotu buying her since she is very scopey and has a great heart and mind. I try not to ask to much from her but to her redit she does seem to enjoy what she does. She would do nicely as a n eventer if I could fix the two problems she has now. Thanks so much!

GracieBay6316
May. 17, 2011, 11:34 AM
Is somebody forcing you to show this horse?

I'm not being forced to show her but the owner has said that he would like her to be shown. I'm taking her to a Regional hunter show at the begining of June but after that she will be moved closer to me where I board my own horse so I will be working alot more with her and she won't be pushed so fast any longer. She is for sale too so thats the main reason why she's being shown.

GracieBay6316
May. 17, 2011, 11:35 AM
To help you get left lead, set up a set of 5 cavalettis in a corner. Make them 4' apart on the inside, and 5' apart on the outside of the curve. Trot in on a balanced trot, sitting, and just before the last pole, push your left hand forward, and also your left seatbone, while asking for the canter over that last pole. Keep trying, and pretty soon, she should pick up left lead.

Then remember the body position - yours and hers of what worked repeatedly, and do exactly the same without the poles.


As for getting her on the bit, it may take time to build up her muscle tone to carry a rider, while relaxing her back and stretching down. Just work on forward, in a rhythm, light contact, and a bit of bend. Work to her her to relax her back, and lengthen her steps.

Thank you so much! I can't wait to try it out!

Bogie
May. 17, 2011, 11:37 AM
Will she pick up the left lead on the lunge line? She's probably quite unbalanced and it will be difficult for her to pick up that lead and canter while also carrying a rider. If you can get her to canter on the lunge for a bit, she will start to find her balance better.

When I first got my OTTB, I also found that hopping him over a small x-rail made canter transitions easier and helped him pick up his right lead. You could also try that.

As for the head? You need to ride her back to front. Focus on energizing her hind end and riding her into a soft, steady contact. Once again, she's not strong enough to engage her abdominal muscles and carry herself. It will come with time.

Using trot poles will help with that as well.

Remember to give her lots of breaks when you are working with her. It is physically difficult for her to hold these new positions, especially with a rider. She will get tired easily.

paulaedwina
May. 17, 2011, 11:46 AM
I think you're getting ahead of her. All those tools will not help you help her if she doesn't have the strength and the balance. Remember the pyramid of training. I am not a trainer, but I find trying to get a horse to use the correct lead at canter requires you to be very correct in your body position, your balance, and your aids.

JMO of course.
Paula

Valentina_32926
May. 17, 2011, 01:50 PM
Previous poster said (in a nutshell) "it may be too early for the horse" - and this is a valid point. Horse may not have balance or muscles to canter on LL.

So at the trot start with SF on BOTH sides - perhaps focusing more on SF left - working on getting her to bend thru the ribcage, off your inside thigh/leg to the left.

Once she can do that CORRECTLT then perhaps you can ask for LL canter from SF left in trot - using inside thigh - left thigh - pushing horses ribcage into the outside (right) rein and preventing right shoulder from popping out by carrying outside rein about 4 inches away from the neck and keeping a steady contact while pushing horse into that rein. THEN ask for LL canter, over exaggerating the aides for LL canter.

Lost_at_C
May. 17, 2011, 02:01 PM
Check her on the lunge, sans tack. If she still doesn't pick up a left lead she may be an ideal candidate for a physio/chiro adjustment based on her history.