Help!!! Lead Changes are Giving Him A Nervous Breakdown
No, we have not drilled, punished, cropped or spurred. In fact, we only ask for simples at home. And, yes, he is young. He can, and does do them when asked, but his anxiety causes him to get very strong, before and after. Anyone ever dealt with this? What did you do? He is jumping courses, and doing well, except for this. Stumped......
My current hunter used to do changes well, but started getting very upset before and after and kicking out. Turned out he had stifle issues and they were causing him discomfort. Gave estrone IM and it fixed him immediately. Did tons of strengthening exercises which also helped.
Don Sheehan started 2 young horses for me. I can attest to his methods for lead changes. Both of mine came back to me with beautiful changes.
One thing the article touches on but may not make clear is the way he does his serpentines:
He does not make connected 1/2 circles. He keeps on the circle until it is 3/4th finished, THEN he rebends the horse to start the next 3/4 circle.
Think of the ribbon candy that you can buy at Christmas. Not quite that exaggerated, but that is the idea.
That is what he means by "teardrop". In his serpentines, he is actually connecting "teardrop shapes".
I learned from him that the "folding back on your track" is what really enables you to emphasize the change of direction and change of bend.
The other thing I learned (from someone else) is to think of a flying change as a canter depart from the canter.
You do not ask a young horse for a canter depart from the walk if he is counter bent or falling in. Same with a lead change. Prepare him for the "canter depart" in a lead change the same way you would from the walk. To do this he must learn to rebend and move off your leg as soon as you ask him to. That is what Don's teardrop serpentines teach him.
I happened to watch a video of a dressage horse schooling changes - it had a similar problem, getting strong after the change. Clinician had rider ask for and get the change, then immediately do a ten-meter circle on the new lead. This worked nicely to slow the horse, sit it back some and keep its attention.
Have made notes on all suggestions, but I have one question. What is estrone? Never heard of it.
Please, if anyone else has thoughts or suggestions, keep them coming. This horse has had TONS of flat work, including lots of counter canter.
I love this bulletin board, for this reason. Thanks to all!!!