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  1. #1
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    Mar. 22, 2011
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    Question Swapping Leads in Between Lines

    I have a young mare of whom I only started over fences 6 months ago and we did our first real course Saturday since we have been stuck in the smaller indoor, and I noticed every time she doesn't land the new leads across the first diagonal fence she will swap in between.

    I have been in hunter land long enough to know judges don't love swaps between fences due to it impeding the rhythm.

    My mare has natural changes, (she will listen to the aid if I ask), but she corrects herself if I don't ask. I believe she does this thinking I forgot to ask.

    Being that she is just learning I figured I would attempt to hold her on the landed lead until the line is complete but it makes for a very 'heavy' horse, if you know what I mean.


    What do I do, correct this now by focusing on landing the new lead OR let it go until she is a bit more experienced?

    I am stumped. Thank you all!



  2. #2
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    Does she swap before the jump or just in the middle of the line? Stop doing any lead changes when you flat her. The swap sometimes happens with smart horses who anticipate the lead change. I would focus on fixing it now because if you let it go on, it will then become a habit and a very hard one to break. Teach her to land the lead by using a slight opening inside rein over the fence.



  3. #3
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    Mar. 22, 2011
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    Quote Originally Posted by HorseLuvr View Post
    Does she swap before the jump or just in the middle of the line? Stop doing any lead changes when you flat her. The swap sometimes happens with smart horses who anticipate the lead change. I would focus on fixing it now because if you let it go on, it will then become a habit and a very hard one to break. Teach her to land the lead by using a slight opening inside rein over the fence.
    She will swap before the fence if we are about 2-3 strides into the diagonal line or after the first fence if the fence is closer.

    She will also swap during bending lines as soon as I ask for a different bend.

    Should I practice counter-canter?



  4. #4
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    Jun. 17, 2001
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    JMO but swapping within a line (as long as it's not in front of the out fence) is simply not that big a deal until the fences-and the horse- get off the baby level and the level of competition heats up. Of all your worries, it's low down on the list.

    See....it is partially your fault because she is trying to HELP you out here, she has learned where she is going next. That's something all Hunters learn from hours of outside diagonal, outside diagonal, so will the Eq horses and Jumpers eventually. Repeat it enough and they learn it.

    Think you need to stop ever practicing courses and just do singles and individual lines, start turning the OTHER way after your lines. Avoid halting and keep going too, fix it forward.

    And you also should try to tell her you want her to stay on the landing lead. If you need to do that with adds so you can stay focused and keep her balanced, it would be a good idea. But don't just jump in and abandon her, tell her to stay on that lead and make her stay on the lead. Ride every stride.

    One thing she is also probably doing, dropping her inside shoulder so she can slice that corner. They get lazy about that with too many courses-and it will take her to the inside corner of that out and ruin what would have been a good center to center distance. If you need a lead change off that diagonal into the corner, you are screwed if they are leaning and slicing the corner, get a cross canter there too you can't fix sometimes.

    Just a guess here but you probably are leaning in yourself and you need to sit straight and use that OUTSIDE rein. Practice leg yields, shoulder and haunch in/out to better control her body when you flat. Dressage lessons wouldn't hurt a bit for this.

    Trust me I know all about this. Add if it's easier, stay straight, work on that in your flatwork and never turn the way she thinks she is going after a line.

    Oh, just remembered I found that looking to the outside standard of the out jumps, not the inside in the direction of the upcoming corner, helped me stay square and held the horse in balance.
    When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

    The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.



  5. #5
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    Apr. 2, 2011
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    Quote Originally Posted by findeight View Post
    start turning the OTHER way after your lines.
    This! Change it up. Land from a line and turn the other direction so she had to listen to you and can't just anticipate the turn and the lead she thinks she should be on.

    Also try riding the lines as single. Jump in, canter a straight line that takes you a little bit past the second jump, and turn the opposite direction of where landing from the line would lead you. So see if she anticipates the lead change without the jump there (she probably will.)

    Also try jumping the second part only, as a long approach diagonal single. Does she try to swap on those?
    Currently blogging for Chronicle of the Horse. Articles can be found here: http://www.chronofhorse.com/category...ryan-lefkowitz



  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by findeight View Post
    JMO but swapping within a line (as long as it's not in front of the out fence) is simply not that big a deal until the fences-and the horse- get off the baby level and the level of competition heats up. Of all your worries, it's low down on the list.

    See....it is partially your fault because she is trying to HELP you out here, she has learned where she is going next. That's something all Hunters learn from hours of outside diagonal, outside diagonal, so will the Eq horses and Jumpers eventually. Repeat it enough and they learn it.

    Think you need to stop ever practicing courses and just do singles and individual lines, start turning the OTHER way after your lines. Avoid halting and keep going too, fix it forward.

    And you also should try to tell her you want her to stay on the landing lead. If you need to do that with adds so you can stay focused and keep her balanced, it would be a good idea. But don't just jump in and abandon her, tell her to stay on that lead and make her stay on the lead. Ride every stride.

    One thing she is also probably doing, dropping her inside shoulder so she can slice that corner. They get lazy about that with too many courses-and it will take her to the inside corner of that out and ruin what would have been a good center to center distance. If you need a lead change off that diagonal into the corner, you are screwed if they are leaning and slicing the corner, get a cross canter there too you can't fix sometimes.

    Just a guess here but you probably are leaning in yourself and you need to sit straight and use that OUTSIDE rein. Practice leg yields, shoulder and haunch in/out to better control her body when you flat. Dressage lessons wouldn't hurt a bit for this.

    Trust me I know all about this. Add if it's easier, stay straight, work on that in your flatwork and never turn the way she thinks she is going after a line.

    Oh, just remembered I found that looking to the outside standard of the out jumps, not the inside in the direction of the upcoming corner, helped me stay square and held the horse in balance.
    Good point! I think it must be because I typically swap leads on serpentines to work on them, so as soon as I let up on my outside she anticipates and swaps.

    I think I will work on lines and perfecting my corners. That way at shows I can just treat courses as 4-5 lines.

    Thank you for the input.



  7. #7
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    Did I just read on another thread that it was an Appy? They are very smart! My Appy did a lot of swapping when he was younger. Like your mare, he had a very easy lead change -- I never really had to teach him. He is smart and helpful like no other horse I have ever had.

    With him, I never ever practice lead changes on the flat. When we do courses, I tell him all the time that I appreciate his trying to help -- not literally, but you know what I mean -- I am easy on him. He hates being drilled on, and when he was young and swappy, I did what a previous poster said and pretty much let him outgrow it. He did tend to swap more in front of the jump at a bigger distance, so on this horse, I make sure I ride to a distance he is comfortable with.

    Also, just so he knows he can hold his lead, I do a lot of cantering over poles on a circle -- two on opposite sides of a big circle. I canter him through a grid of poles 9 - 10 feet apart too, and through a set of three set the same distance apart in a quartercircle. With all that pole work, he gets good at holding his lead unless I ask for a change.

    He can still be a little overly "helpful" on a long ride to a single on the diagonal, or in a bending line, but if I ride correctly, we can avoid a swap because he is simply better trained now.
    friend of bar.ka



  8. #8
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    Hey, just thought of this, try it, kind of fun and will help enliven your schooling while solving this.

    You are going to turn a line into a figure 8 excercise. It's simple, don't need to build anything.

    Basically jump the in fence, circle left, jump the in fence, circle right, jump in, and continue to jump out down the line. Then repeat with just the out fence into the corner a few times changing direction.

    Then you figure out a reverse turn that sends you back into the line which is now reversed and you do in, in, in, on down the line to out, out, out.

    Get it? Don't stop either. You can do this around any 2 fences just about anywhere in the ring.

    I once had a real good Western Riding horse (a Paint), that's a lead change pattern class and have friends with working cow and Reining horses. These stinkers get where they anticipate the pattern waaaaaay too much and you about tear your hair out trying to think up a way to practice without the pattern.

    You learn to outfox them and keep them guessing and getting ahead of themselves on their course/pattern.

    Try doing a shallow (be nice here) serpentine with just 2 loops and STAY on the same lead. Add a third shallow loop when they will stay thru two. That ought to keep them guessing.

    And try to get OUT of the ring and away from any planned excercise-just ride what you find out there. Like lead changes on a twisty trail and collection/extension on a long flat stretch. Leg yields out in the field can be fun too, show how much you depend on the rail.
    When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

    The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.



  9. #9
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    Mar. 22, 2011
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    Quote Originally Posted by ToTheNines View Post
    Did I just read on another thread that it was an Appy? They are very smart! My Appy did a lot of swapping when he was younger. Like your mare, he had a very easy lead change -- I never really had to teach him. He is smart and helpful like no other horse I have ever had.

    With him, I never ever practice lead changes on the flat. When we do courses, I tell him all the time that I appreciate his trying to help -- not literally, but you know what I mean -- I am easy on him. He hates being drilled on, and when he was young and swappy, I did what a previous poster said and pretty much let him outgrow it. He did tend to swap more in front of the jump at a bigger distance, so on this horse, I make sure I ride to a distance he is comfortable with.

    Also, just so he knows he can hold his lead, I do a lot of cantering over poles on a circle -- two on opposite sides of a big circle. I canter him through a grid of poles 9 - 10 feet apart too, and through a set of three set the same distance apart in a quartercircle. With all that pole work, he gets good at holding his lead unless I ask for a change.

    He can still be a little overly "helpful" on a long ride to a single on the diagonal, or in a bending line, but if I ride correctly, we can avoid a swap because he is simply better trained now.
    Yup, that is her! She is a Reg Canadian Wb but technically 50/50 App/DWB.

    She is smart and also anticipates like crazy. She learns my patterns almost instantly and when I change it in the same day she gets all huffy about it and tries to pull me the 'right' direction.

    Findeight- Thank you. I didn't think of that but it sounds genious! I bet it would help with our turns as well.



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