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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May. 4, 2008
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    139

    Default pony lead changes

    Am pony shopping and am frustrated by ponies that we are looking for who are advertised as "auto lead change" or "easy lead change" that really don't have either. I know some ponies are super auto, others you have to ask, etc and my kid can ride either and understands how to get the change.

    Is it true that ponies are "more balanced" than horses and that's why some don't "get" lead changes? Or is it because ponies may have been poorly schooled, sometimes not by a good pony jock or pro and the pony really never learned the change?

    The excuses offered by sellers have included, "well we haven't worked on it that much", or, "she usually gets it", or even, "at horse shows the jump should be more important than the lead change", or even, "just have the kid ask for the change over the jump". My favorite was when my kid got the change in front, but not behind, and then the seller says "there you go... you got it!"



    My new interpretation for lead changes from sales ads:

    1. If no lead change is mentioned, there is no lead change. Period.
    2. If the pony has auto changes, i expect to see "AUTO CHANGES". Meaning kid DOES NOT HAVE TO ASK FOR THEM!
    3. "Easy lead change" - might get it in front, maybe cross canters for about 4-10 strides before it catches up.
    4. "you have to ask for it" - good luck! It migiht happen, or it might not.
    5. "Gets the lead over the jump" - means an admission that there is no lead change now, and never will be.
    6. "gets lead changes in the field naturally" - the pony has never done them under saddle...


    Another question - how does the lead issue affect pony pricing? If it just needs to be tuned up, I can live with that and am willing to work on that. I have seen nice ponies literally given away because "it has no lead change".



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep. 12, 2006
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    Loudoun County, Virginia!
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    3,812

    Default

    ha ha, there's another category which our pony current falls in, will get lead changes for big kids and pros... but for your kid, ha ha the mare is just gonna laugh at you

    I have wondered the same thing though in all seriousness OP. I have seen so few ponies that actually have a good change and yet it seems that all the horses I know have much easier changes. I am guessing it is training but I would certainly be curious to know.



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb. 22, 2009
    Location
    Wisconsin
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    2,660

    Default

    Well I can't speak for others, but in a current ad I have out I state that the pony is still working on his changes. The reason he is being sold as just schooling his changes: We are now stuck inside in a small arena that we can't school them. I haul him out to jump and will be doing the same to show him to buyers. His price reflects his changes not being firm. We just started his changes this fall since I mostly used him in my lesson program this spring, and then one of the lesson kids showed him this summer. Didn't reallly bother with adding an extra work day during the busy lesson and show season since he would land on the correct lead. When things slowed down last month then there were a couple free days he wasn't being used so we started to firm him up.



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun. 20, 2012
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    The Part of TN in the Wrong Time Zone
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    Default

    I think one of the reasons that a lot of ponies don't have their changes is because smaller ones that can ride them are often too young to understand the concept or too small to forcefully ask. Then as the adults or larger kids ride the ponies, especially with the smaller ones, they're too big for the pony to get the change or have to ask awkwardly.


    1 members found this post helpful.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb. 6, 2002
    Location
    North Carolina
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    2,124

    Default

    I think, too, that many people ignore that a lead change has to occur from back to front. I used to believe that a swap in front was half way to a lead change but my wise friend Lord Helpus educated me. I get very frustrated when riders think it is okay to let them swap in front and then race to try to catch it behind. What kid wants to or is capable of doing that in the ring?! I believe in the halt or walk and a slight leg yield between leads to remind the pony of its back end.

    Good luck OP!



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul. 28, 2004
    Location
    Texas
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    1,957

    Default

    I knew of a pony once that swapped fine on course at shows, but did not do them at home. Its people didn't care and did not force the issue.

    Also, one of my horses (my wisest one) has an auto change when jumping, but I never trained him on the flat, i.e., he doesn't like to do them just to school across the diagonal. Because he does his job so well, which is is hunter only and to take care of his old mom, I don't care and don't force the issue with him either.

    Just sayin'! A lot of them know their jobs a little too well!
    friend of bar.ka



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct. 6, 2002
    Location
    Philadelphia PA
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by hunterrider23 View Post
    I think one of the reasons that a lot of ponies don't have their changes is because smaller ones that can ride them are often too young to understand the concept or too small to forcefully ask. Then as the adults or larger kids ride the ponies, especially with the smaller ones, they're too big for the pony to get the change or have to ask awkwardly.
    bingo
    ~Veronica
    "The Son Dee Times" "Sustained" "Somerset" "Franklin Square"
    http://photobucket.com/albums/y192/vxf111/



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct. 7, 2010
    Posts
    475

    Default

    Yes, and ponies are a bit evil . I spent so much time and training $$ trying to get my pony to do lead changes. After all that, she would do them over the jump or with a lot of concentration and proper execution of the aids after the jump. Not an easy change for a kid. I love ponies, but the thing that made the move to horses easier was lead changes. I haven't had any horses that were as difficult as the ponies.



  9. #9
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    Oct. 6, 2002
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    Philadelphia PA
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    Maybe I've just been out of the game too long (spent the last 4 years or so at an eventing barn) but I don't ever remember doing changes on the flat a whole lot. Maybe a little in the beginning over poles to teach them- but once they had them we really only did changes when we jumped. Otherwise we'd do a simple if we changed direction on the flat. Flying changes was not something we "worked" on hunter horses.

    Now I am at a hunter barn and it seems like that's part of everyone's daily flat routine-- doing changes across the diagonal. The junior who is leasing my horse-- her very first question was about whether he would do changes on the flat. I just... never schooled this. He autochanges when he jumps and that's good enough for me-- why mess with something that works and/or make an issue out of a skill he'll never be asked to do (the last thing he needs to do is swap in a hack class).

    So maybe you're encountering some people like me who just never viewed changes in the flat as a button needing to be installed.

    But I think the main think you're seeing is what happens to equines that aren't made up and maintained by pros-- they're rusty on things and lack polish. It's rare to find a pony jock good enough to put on and properly maintain changes- especially on a small. They get "taught" by lesser riders and the water is muddied by less proficient riders who ride the pony afterwards. It's an unfortunate consequence of their size, I think, and the scarcity of tiny pros.
    ~Veronica
    "The Son Dee Times" "Sustained" "Somerset" "Franklin Square"
    http://photobucket.com/albums/y192/vxf111/



  10. #10

    Default

    I have a hony at home that is not ever asked to swap unless she is on course and has a big canter. On the flat she gets really up-and-down and strong if her rider starts working on lead changes, she really anticipates it. On course she usually just needs to be balanced and its there without much work. But far from auto!

    My large had auto swaps from day one. Trotted into her first x-rail, cantered away and perfect change in the corner. I would confidently say that she is "auto", but I have ridden many (both horses and ponies) that need a little reminder from the rider - which some small pony kids are just not going to remember to do



  11. #11
    Join Date
    May. 4, 2009
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    338

    Default

    Well for the small kids, the ponies are asked for the lead change a different way because of the fact that the kids legs are not strong/long enough.
    Usually the Pro or more advanced older kid, will teach the pony that when the small kid lifts his/her inside hand (slightly) and kisses/clucks.. the pony will change. They eventually get to the point where the kid will only lift his hand.
    That's what we do at our barn for the ponies for the little ones.
    Life is short, ride the best horse first.



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul. 10, 2003
    Location
    Virginia bred, Carolina transplant
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    1,264

    Default

    I am pony shopping and have had the same experience. For instance, in my first group of 6 that I traveled to go see (all had "easy changes for a kid"), it broke down like this (when ridden by trainer/demo rider):
    1 pony had easy mostly auto changes by demo rider and was easy enough for my child.
    1 pony got 3 out of 7 tries when ridden by the demo rider (hacking and over fences)
    2 ponies never had them when ridden by the demo rider.
    1 pony never had them unless you count the swap right before a jump. :/
    1 pony had them on course by adult rider but was way too much pony for a kid (or at least my kid).

    So out of 6 that were supposed to have changes, only 2 could demonstrate that they had changes when ridden by the trainer or demo rider and only 1 was young kid-appropriate. I think easy changes definitely impact price because the good/easy ones sell right away or don't vet.

    Next topic should be about ponies that are "sweet and loving" when talking to the seller on the phone but are nasty little twirps in real life!



  13. #13
    Join Date
    May. 4, 2008
    Posts
    139

    Default

    2 out of 6 is beating my record - have tried about 7, only one was "auto" and actually got its changes with my kid.

    The others:

    3 had no lead change at all. Ever. Was never, ever taught.
    1 had a lead change one direction, not the other
    2 had a late change behind, not consistent.

    This all makes better sense now. I understand for the smalls they are really hard,but we were trying larges...



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Mar. 8, 2012
    Posts
    402

    Default

    Or my (sarcastic) favorite is when someone says, "oh yes, they have a lead change!" and then proceed to nearly run them into the fence and push them off balance, forcing them to fly their legs around and change their lead. I'm all for using the fence/corner, but not like that...
    I like mares. They remind me of myself: stubborn know it alls who only acknowledge you if you have food.
    Hannah B. Nana: 50% horse, 50% hippo
    Fiona: can't decide between jumpers or napping



  15. #15
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    Aug. 19, 2003
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    Citra, Fl, USA
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    You guys are making me feel good about my ponies, lol. When I say they have easy changes it is true! I am a breeder and I am happy to say all of my ponies have had easy changes that are very natural. It has been a non issue. I am feeling very thankful for that after reading this thread!
    Whispered Wish Weser-Ems: Breeding quality German Riding Ponies!
    Standing the stallion Burberry
    www.germanridingpony.com
    www.facebook.com/HighlifesBurberry



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Nov. 12, 2011
    Posts
    136

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by JmpR_1 View Post
    Well for the small kids, the ponies are asked for the lead change a different way because of the fact that the kids legs are not strong/long enough.
    Usually the Pro or more advanced older kid, will teach the pony that when the small kid lifts his/her inside hand (slightly) and kisses/clucks.. the pony will change. They eventually get to the point where the kid will only lift his hand.
    That's what we do at our barn for the ponies for the little ones.
    I would neveeer teach a pony to do that. We had a pony that knew that as a command, and the kid used it. Eventually, when the kid would ride on course and use her inside rein to correct something, the pony would swap.



  17. #17
    Join Date
    Feb. 8, 2002
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    4,932

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    Some of what the OP says is true, but sometimes you do just don't get around to it because it's a dressage pony and until that canter feels better balanced you're just not going to do them, which is LATE in their career compared to hunters. Others really are a work in progress. Just sold one that would always do them over a pole, always get land on the proper lead, would get them 75% on course w/o the pole....a work in progress. I'd have to strongly disagree with the pony not being worth anything w/o a change, IF it's quiet, safe, fancy mover, good jumper. BTW, what ever happened to the best round (all things being equal) being the one where you never needed to "fix" a lead (make a flying lead change)? MY personal bigger issue is all these ponies that will only land on one lead, drives me nuts!



  18. #18
    Join Date
    May. 4, 2009
    Posts
    338

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by MySuperExAlter View Post
    I would neveeer teach a pony to do that. We had a pony that knew that as a command, and the kid used it. Eventually, when the kid would ride on course and use her inside rein to correct something, the pony would swap.
    We have never had a problem with it. I can see how some kids/ponies might, but ours generally know to only switch leads going into a corner. Plus the ponies and kids are taught straightness first, so there usually isn't a problem with them not being balanced and them having to correct anything.
    Life is short, ride the best horse first.



  19. #19
    Join Date
    Sep. 4, 2012
    Location
    Del Mar, CA
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    57

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by trina1 View Post
    Am pony shopping and am frustrated by ponies that we are looking for who are advertised as "auto lead change" or "easy lead change" that really don't have either. I know some ponies are super auto, others you have to ask, etc and my kid can ride either and understands how to get the change.

    Is it true that ponies are "more balanced" than horses and that's why some don't "get" lead changes? Or is it because ponies may have been poorly schooled, sometimes not by a good pony jock or pro and the pony really never learned the change?

    The excuses offered by sellers have included, "well we haven't worked on it that much", or, "she usually gets it", or even, "at horse shows the jump should be more important than the lead change", or even, "just have the kid ask for the change over the jump". My favorite was when my kid got the change in front, but not behind, and then the seller says "there you go... you got it!"



    My new interpretation for lead changes from sales ads:

    1. If no lead change is mentioned, there is no lead change. Period.
    2. If the pony has auto changes, i expect to see "AUTO CHANGES". Meaning kid DOES NOT HAVE TO ASK FOR THEM!
    3. "Easy lead change" - might get it in front, maybe cross canters for about 4-10 strides before it catches up.
    4. "you have to ask for it" - good luck! It migiht happen, or it might not.
    5. "Gets the lead over the jump" - means an admission that there is no lead change now, and never will be.
    6. "gets lead changes in the field naturally" - the pony has never done them under saddle...


    Another question - how does the lead issue affect pony pricing? If it just needs to be tuned up, I can live with that and am willing to work on that. I have seen nice ponies literally given away because "it has no lead change".

    I would think that if the ponies are "more balanced than horses" the changes would be much easier. It's funny that you mention it though, I know more horses that do have their changes than ponies, my personal pony who I lease out being one. Quite a few ad's won't state anything about a change when it comes to a quality or well known pony, I suppose it is assumed that the changes are there based on the price. Now the pony who isn't so quality and typically you can tell by the ad, I'd be skeptical about the change. I have a few horses and a pony who have auto changes, when a kid gets on them and dives to the inside or pulls on the outside rein because they can't balance across the diagonal, the horse will easily miss the change, typically correct once through the corner but it happens.

    Personally I don't think there is a general rule for ponies specifically. I think it's horses and ponies both who can have these problems. Depends on the training, experience and what I think would be natural or taught balance.



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