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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov. 11, 2001
    Location
    Pennsylvania,Zone ll
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    2,212

    Default Lead change question.

    I have a colt who THINKS he's doing them.....he is a snaffle mouthed, very easy and cooperative colt. We "discussed" lead changes earlier this year, and with a drawrein and spurs I could get the idea across and he got them. But I knew that was not the way I wanted to go, so I dropped it for a while. Now when a change is emminent, he leaps up and says," GOT IT!!!!" thrilled with himself. Ofcourse he hasn't "got" it....he doesn't change behind most of the itme. He has a very high opinion of himself and using spurs or a stick or drawreins creates a whole new problem. He goes, he does, he is lovely, but when you try to "train" him he is insulted....he always thinks he is doing "it," what ever it may be....he is always trying to do the right thing....and like many young men I have known, he is SURE that what he is doing, IS the right thing!!! Ideas anyone????
    Last edited by Claudius; Sep. 10, 2010 at 09:28 PM.
    "Over the Hill?? What Hill, Where?? I don't remember any hill!!!" Favorite Tee Shirt



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb. 6, 2002
    Location
    North Carolina
    Posts
    2,502

    Default

    I highly recommend reading this article and going back to basics with your youngster before he gets into really bad habits(ie always changing in front first)

    http://www.southernstates.com/articl...adchanges.aspx



  3. #3

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Claudius View Post
    I have a colt who THINKS he's doing them.....he is a snaffle mouthed, very easy and cooperative colt. We "discussed" lead changes earlier this year, and with a drawrein and spurs I could get the idea across and he got them. But I knew that was not the way I wanted to go, so I dropped it for a while. Now when a change is emminent, he leaps up and says," GOT IT!!!!" thrilled with himself. Ofcourse he hasn't "got" it....he doesn't change behind most of the itme. He has a very high opinion of himself and using spurs or a stick or drawreins creates a whole new problem. He goes, he does, he is lovely, but when you try to "train" him he is insulted....he always thinks he is doing "it," what ever it may be....he is always trying to do the right thing....and like many young men I have known, he is SURE that what he is doing, IS the right thing!!! Ideas anyone????
    Might try reading "If I were to train a horse" by NRHA founder Jack Brainard. The man can teach a lead change. It's about hind end control. Without the hind... you are no where close.

    PS- he isn't "insulted by your "training"... he doesn't understand to your aids. A stick, drawreins, spurs mean you've missed some steps.



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov. 8, 2006
    Posts
    3,023

    Default

    Draw reins and spurs are not the proper aids for a change in the teaching or "finished" stage of fly changes. Usually when something is really far from happening such as the horse leaping up in front AND never swapping behind (two major errors, although the second much more so) it's better to move away from that completely and reestablish the precursors to that stage of training before "habits" are formed. Some horses can do changes naturally, but that's not actually normal (bummer ) so a good foundation is important first for the long term. My horse didn't get to learn changes until he was five because he would do them 1 step late behind. Trainer said, "no, we cannot work on changes, because his changes are wrong." I say, " Isn't that the reason to work on them?" Trainer says, "no, his error (late step) is due to incoordination, weakness behind, and not being straight because you are not in complete control of the shoulder and haunches." Therefore, when we did start concentrated work on changes they were correct and 8 years later, to this day he has not missed one single change in the show ring! Note: my trainer could get that perfect change within a month of working him at a 4 year old, but I wasn't allowed to do them

    We didn't drill poor changes hoping they would someday become confirmed changes. We worked on the foundation until the changes were understood and performed calmly and correctly from day one of "drilling" Not surprisingly perfect changes became the habit and were nothing to dread.

    Now, I don't know where your horse is training wise, but I'm fairly certain he's not quite ready for changes. I also know not every horse needs to go to the extreme that my horse did, but I am glad everyday for what my trainer did. And yes we competed with changes that were a step late for a year, but we never practiced them, always a trot or walk change.

    When we did start the changes the session looked like this:

    -Warm up w/t/c, leg yield, shoulder-in, haunches in
    -At the trot go across the diagonal starting in shoulder in (outside shoulder leading), then at center point switch to a shallow haunches in (haunches to the right, forefeet straight)
    -then same at the canter but shoulder-in becomes shoulder fore (less angle) and a 1-3 step trot change in the middle.
    -then add a change in the middle. The shoulder fore engages the inside hind which moves the focus to the hind legs. The change to haunches in shifts the horses balance because the inside hind is engaged it can initiate the change. The front naturally follows the back in the same stride.

    Once the understands the proper movement of the change in 1-3 days, the change is asked for as usual on a straight line.

    But that is more training that many of today's "trainers" care to do in a horse's lifetime, so obviously there are many other ways to get a change and training always has to be suited to a specific horse. Here I just wanted to share the story on one particular horse who was change challenged, not to say how it should be done in order to be right. Although I should mention this trainer teaches changes to all of his horses this way and I have yet to see a horse come from him that does not have excellent, flowing, correct changes even when poorly ridden by an unknowing ammy or jr. so, it's quite a testament to a proper foundation. Changes are NOT THAT HARD mechanically for a horse to perform. They just need to understand what is being asked!

    Best of luck with your horse and I empathize with your struggles



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct. 14, 2007
    Location
    California
    Posts
    4,488

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by flyracing View Post
    Draw reins and spurs are not the proper aids for a change in the teaching or "finished" stage of fly changes. Usually when something is really far from happening such as the horse leaping up in front AND never swapping behind (two major errors, although the second much more so) it's better to move away from that completely and reestablish the precursors to that stage of training before "habits" are formed. Some horses can do changes naturally, but that's not actually normal (bummer ) so a good foundation is important first for the long term. My horse didn't get to learn changes until he was five because he would do them 1 step late behind. Trainer said, "no, we cannot work on changes, because his changes are wrong." I say, " Isn't that the reason to work on them?" Trainer says, "no, his error (late step) is due to incoordination, weakness behind, and not being straight because you are not in complete control of the shoulder and haunches." Therefore, when we did start concentrated work on changes they were correct and 8 years later, to this day he has not missed one single change in the show ring! Note: my trainer could get that perfect change within a month of working him at a 4 year old, but I wasn't allowed to do them

    We didn't drill poor changes hoping they would someday become confirmed changes. We worked on the foundation until the changes were understood and performed calmly and correctly from day one of "drilling" Not surprisingly perfect changes became the habit and were nothing to dread.

    Now, I don't know where your horse is training wise, but I'm fairly certain he's not quite ready for changes. I also know not every horse needs to go to the extreme that my horse did, but I am glad everyday for what my trainer did. And yes we competed with changes that were a step late for a year, but we never practiced them, always a trot or walk change.

    When we did start the changes the session looked like this:

    -Warm up w/t/c, leg yield, shoulder-in, haunches in
    -At the trot go across the diagonal starting in shoulder in (outside shoulder leading), then at center point switch to a shallow haunches in (haunches to the right, forefeet straight)
    -then same at the canter but shoulder-in becomes shoulder fore (less angle) and a 1-3 step trot change in the middle.
    -then add a change in the middle. The shoulder fore engages the inside hind which moves the focus to the hind legs. The change to haunches in shifts the horses balance because the inside hind is engaged it can initiate the change. The front naturally follows the back in the same stride.

    Once the understands the proper movement of the change in 1-3 days, the change is asked for as usual on a straight line.

    But that is more training that many of today's "trainers" care to do in a horse's lifetime, so obviously there are many other ways to get a change and training always has to be suited to a specific horse. Here I just wanted to share the story on one particular horse who was change challenged, not to say how it should be done in order to be right. Although I should mention this trainer teaches changes to all of his horses this way and I have yet to see a horse come from him that does not have excellent, flowing, correct changes even when poorly ridden by an unknowing ammy or jr. so, it's quite a testament to a proper foundation. Changes are NOT THAT HARD mechanically for a horse to perform. They just need to understand what is being asked!

    Best of luck with your horse and I empathize with your struggles

    Nice post!!!!
    Live in the sunshine.
    Swim in the sea.
    Drink the wild air.



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov. 11, 2001
    Location
    Pennsylvania,Zone ll
    Posts
    2,212

    Default Thank you all.....

    I read John Sheehan's excellent article and Limerick's wonderful explanation. I will have to reread them many times to "get" it. I have done many of the suggested exercises for the last year but I think I will take some lessons to be sure that I am doing them correctly. He is weak behind and I have been walking him up hill everyday for the last six weeks and have felt a definite improvement. I really am grateful for your well thought out replies....and I will post again when we have been successful!!!
    "Over the Hill?? What Hill, Where?? I don't remember any hill!!!" Favorite Tee Shirt



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb. 22, 2000
    Location
    Keswick, VA
    Posts
    7,872

    Default

    I'm going to sound irritated, because I have a very good friend who is of the drawrein, spurs, stick lead change persuasion, and I've been politely watching a natural-changing horse miss a million changes every day for two months now. So, my irritation is not with you!
    What I would do is go back to simple changes for a week. Pick your best straight approach and corner, or straight approach and turn, for your ring. Canter half a ring, straight approach to the changing corner staying totally straight. You want a GOOD canter, not a collected bouncy one or a four-beat. The kind of canter you would jump a course from. Midway on your straightaway shift your weight like you are about to change leads, keep your weight there, while making sure the horse stays straight. A couple strides from the corner pull up to the trot, and pick up the new canter lead before the ring fence. Make sure you are using the exact same cues for your canter depart, which for me would be slight inside rein firm outside leg, that you would use to cue a change. Repeat a few times each direction until you feel the horse start to shift his weight (without getting crooked in his body) when you do, and start to pick up the new lead immediately. In your case, if you feel the horse start to suck back for a "leap" when you start to shift your weight, you want to immediately circle back on that same lead until he rides correctly all the way to the corner. Don't let him practice that. After you feel the horse come out a couple days in a row where it starts out the way it finished the day before, then change leads again, without changing anything you're doing other than removing the trot step. Once you've got them, stop doing them unless you're jumping.
    It doesn't have to be so freaking complicated. At no point should the horse be going sideways, or cantering in place, or have its head to its chest, or doing anything other than cantering straight like a nice hunter. You don't want to produce something that changes its canter completely and goes all the way to the outside rail after the first fence on course just to do a damn lead change. Nor do you want something that is so drilled on changes that it does them as the answer to every rider cue.



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov. 11, 2001
    Location
    Pennsylvania,Zone ll
    Posts
    2,212

    Default thank you CBoylen

    I appreciate your irritation....I was irritated with myself too!!! He is such a responsive, cooperative horse that resisted any attempt to execute a change...he developed a bulge, and the resulting leaping etc. I am working on the things suggested in these posts, and feel very much more equipped to deal with the situation.
    "Over the Hill?? What Hill, Where?? I don't remember any hill!!!" Favorite Tee Shirt



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct. 14, 2007
    Location
    California
    Posts
    4,488

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    When preparing for a change I was taught to leg yeild a few strides before asking...(if horse is on left lead, leg yeild to the left with right leg, then lift slightly with right hand and drop left leg behind girth as asking for a canter) horse must be moving forward - BUT balanced.

    I have also heard horses will learn to anticipate them and some trainers don't practice them at home - expecially when the horse has them.... so what I understand is - don't do too much... ?
    Live in the sunshine.
    Swim in the sea.
    Drink the wild air.



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov. 8, 2006
    Posts
    3,023

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by doublesstable View Post
    When preparing for a change I was taught to leg yeild a few strides before asking...?
    Same concept as using the shoulder-in like I said in my post too.

    I see a trend of activating the inside hind (becomes outside hind after change) which is the leg that "leads" a change.



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar. 26, 2003
    Location
    carolina
    Posts
    1,323

    Default

    Other people have given you great advice, but in case you need another "mindset" to get them straightened out. As a young teen I had a horrible habit of over-dramatizing lead changes, leaning exuberantly to one side and kicking and pulling up with one rein, etc. My trainer at the time was very good with me and tried explaining the process many different ways to make me "settle" in the way that I asked. It finally clicked when she went out of town and asked a friend trainer to give me a lesson that week while she was gone. Friend trainer had a new way of saying it that just clicked for me and made it seem so simple. Lead changes should, essentially, be "asking for the canter from the canter". You shouldn't have to make any bigger move than that, your horse should still be straight, he should still have his big, forward moving canter.
    "to live is the rarest thing in the world, most people merely exist."



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Nov. 11, 2001
    Location
    Pennsylvania,Zone ll
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    Default just an update

    I have utilized information in this thread and today we went to a facility to school. I have been doing the exercises of shoulder in, haunches in.....no spurs or whip or drawreins.... and lots of transistions on the staight line. he jumped great, we pulled to a walk on the straight away, broke into the proper lead and went on. After his initial greeness and bucking after the fences, he took the initiative to change his leads on the straight away after the fence!!! He is such a smart horse, and it was as though he was saying, "SEE , I told you I knew what I was doing!!!" We ended on that note, and I will continue with the exercises!!!
    "Over the Hill?? What Hill, Where?? I don't remember any hill!!!" Favorite Tee Shirt



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