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Basics leading up to lead changes

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  • Basics leading up to lead changes

    Simply, before you even begin to school your horse on simple lead changes, what do you want your horse to be able to do fluently and consistently?
    Alis volat propriis.

  • #2
    I like a proper counter canter before changes... But LOTS of things leading up to that.

    A very talented horse will get balanced and try switching on their own... Im not crazy Ill take it earlier but I wont confirm it IE Ill not ask for it and instead of asking for a switch back Ill break them down to a trot and start over.

    Now if its not just talent and balance and just a horse that is an auto swapper (there is a difference aka from the hunter world).. I will break them down right away...


    Otherwise I'd like to see a tiny bit of collection before change of lead training in the canter... Counter canter and a bit of collection.

    The reason behind the collection is because swapping leads can get a horse a bit on the forehand so if you start from a tiny bit of collection they might drop that a little in the change then back to the tiny bit of collection... This IMO helps establish where they will be soon
    ~~Member of the TB's Rule Clique ~~
    http://www.off-breed-dressage.blogspot.com/

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    • #3
      Walk canter walks
      balanced counter canter
      canter 10m circles

      these are all the pieces we're working on with my horse to teach him correct flying changes.


      ETA: Might help if I read for comprehension!

      Are we talking first level simple changes (through trot), or 2nd level simple changes (through walk)?
      Last edited by Petstorejunkie; Jan. 20, 2012, 11:33 AM.
      www.destinationconsensusequus.com
      chaque pas est fait ensemble

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      • #4
        Before the simple lead change, I'd want a balanced walk-canter transition and a balanced canter-walk transition. I'd also want a balanced and prompt change of lead through the trot.

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        • #5
          Last I checked, "simple change" meant canter/walk/canter.

          For this, I would expect a good canter/trot/canter, which we call change of direction through trot; I would expect a fairly straight balance in the canter with the ability to do a little plie...not alot; I would expect the beginning of ability to collect the walk, which might call shorten the stride in walk; I would expect the ability to halt instantly from the trot in a square halt, not on the forehand. I would also be looking for the horse to have the ability to take the canter from walk by me simply releasing the inside rein forward, and stepping a little more into the outside circle; follow that with a taking back of the rein resulting in the horse going immediately back into walk with no trot strides. Then, I'd work to get this transition actually on contact. I would also be looking for a well-balanced reinback, equal on both sides. Getting occasional ears turned toward me would be nice, especially if they both turned toward me together, rather than just one.

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          • Original Poster

            #6
            Originally posted by Petstorejunkie View Post
            Are we talking first level simple changes (through trot), or 2nd level simple changes (through walk)?
            Simple changes through the trot, at least for the time being.

            Thanks for all the suggestions and tips. Please keep them coming.
            Alis volat propriis.

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            • #7
              Correct, crisp, straight, balanced transitions W-C-W. Balanced counter canter (never teach changes until counter canter is confirmed and correct or it will come back to haunt you). The horse needs to be quick off your leg also. I also advise that you work with a good instructor who can instill the above in you and your horse. Basics including preparation and straightness are key. IMHO of course.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Maude View Post
                Correct, crisp, straight, balanced transitions W-C-W. Balanced counter canter (never teach changes until counter canter is confirmed and correct or it will come back to haunt you).
                Actually this is a bit controversial. Scott Hassler's articles and other BNT have stated that they teach the lead changes early. I have since polled trainers and most believe that you have greater issues with the lead changes if you wait too long and work too much on the counter canter.

                I work on simple C-T-C lead changes as soon as a horse is cantering both directions. I don't drill it, but I start easy and simple across the diagonal, gradually shortening the amount of trot.
                On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog

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                • #9
                  I don't really think of lead changes through the trot as something you have to prepare for at all. Once the horse has learned to canter on both leads, and has a reasonable canter-trot transition, I just balance the trot and ask the horse to canter again. If that works- do it on the diagonal, and ask for the other lead. At first, it will take more trot strides to balance the horse, then over time you can reduce it to just a few. I've definitely had horses doing it well within their first 30-60 days under saddle.

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                  • #10
                    There's getting it done and getting it done well. First thing that I would work on is getting yourself in good upward transition into the canter. A very mindful of how long the horse can hold the proper carriage and balance before needing a half halt. Start counting the average number of strides the horse can sustain it. Ask Fred downward transition to the trot a stride before the average number. Maintain firm abdominals during the downward transition and for several strides afterwards.
                    Do the exercise both on a 20 m circle and also on a straight line.
                    The next step is to do the exercise and lengthen the duration the horse can maintain its balance by giving gentle half halts using the body and occasionally reinforcement with the outside hand during the suspension phase of the cancer stride.
                    Repeat the above exercise of Canter trot but only ask for a downward transition when the cancer quality is perfect. Be sure to pay close attention to your abdominal engagement during the downward transition and for several strides afterward this is crucial for getting a well band balanced Cancer chart cancer transition. Once you feel that you have mastered these you can start to do Canter trot Cantor back onto the same lead.
                    Once all of this is perfect do a Canter trot for five or six strides and then cantor onto the opposite lead. The next stages to shorten the amount of trot steps needed in between one Canterlea and the other.

                    Are used iPhone speech to text to write this post any grammatical errors aid in the entertainment value
                    www.destinationconsensusequus.com
                    chaque pas est fait ensemble

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                    • #11
                      My instructor's assistent did a clinic recently with a ridden demo that was Lead Changes: Start to Finish. These are my clinic notes... (there is more on the tempi changes that I haven't included.)

                      Her prerequisites:
                      1. Walk/Canter/Walk (no shortening of the neck, no falling on face in the downward transition)
                      (she will help introduce canter/walk with a VERY large working pirouette because it brings hind under...this is ONLY an introduction to movement - you don't want crookedness creeping in.

                      2. CC/Walk/True Canter (tests straightness and if horse is listening to seat)

                      She doesn't confirm CC too much and she does play with changes early. She uses collection as a cue for the changes, because the horse will NOT be on the aids at this point. The only aiding she will use is if the horse is sticky, to tickle the new inside to contract that side and make it easier for the horse to switch hips. Teaching the horse to collect first before the change makes it much easier for tempi's later on.

                      1st Step: Canter, take short diagonal and collect...goal is to get the hind legs a bit closer together because for STRAIGHT changes from behind, the horse has to switch their hips. If that works and a change happens, she sticks with it.

                      She will use a serpentine as well using the wall as a boundary because it will naturally back a horse off if they are too exuberant before/after changes. These two things can take months to a year of playing with.

                      Cleaning up the changes, or re-schooling horses who have not learned changes correctly.
                      If the horse dives sideways - CC along wall, collect until horse switches - it traps the hips against the wall.

                      If the horse gets too emotional about the changes, go back to W/C/W to test the compression of the horse and to help them work through the collection without getting stressed.

                      If late behind - CC on 20 meter circle, collect and tickle new inside (have to hold the shoulders so that they don't swap up front first. Another exercise...Canter, 8-10 meter half circle, half pass to the wall (without diving or running to wall)

                      If late in front - the serpentine exercise above helps because it naturally backs horse off from grabbing reins and blasting through behind.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by joiedevie99 View Post
                        I don't really think of lead changes through the trot as something you have to prepare for at all. Once the horse has learned to canter on both leads, and has a reasonable canter-trot transition, I just balance the trot and ask the horse to canter again. If that works- do it on the diagonal, and ask for the other lead. At first, it will take more trot strides to balance the horse, then over time you can reduce it to just a few. I've definitely had horses doing it well within their first 30-60 days under saddle.
                        Yes!

                        And it doesnt mean they are ready for changes to be sure

                        I also vote for a good on the aids walk canter... But even then if they get heavy in the canter or fall of the aids in canter they are not ready for the change of lead.
                        ~~Member of the TB's Rule Clique ~~
                        http://www.off-breed-dressage.blogspot.com/

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Perfect Pony View Post
                          Actually this is a bit controversial. Scott Hassler's articles and other BNT have stated that they teach the lead changes early. I have since polled trainers and most believe that you have greater issues with the lead changes if you wait too long and work too much on the counter canter.

                          I work on simple C-T-C lead changes as soon as a horse is cantering both directions. I don't drill it, but I start easy and simple across the diagonal, gradually shortening the amount of trot.
                          Some people have access to incredibly balanced and talented horse too

                          Yes the to the second para, I do this as well great workout!
                          ~~Member of the TB's Rule Clique ~~
                          http://www.off-breed-dressage.blogspot.com/

                          Comment

                          • Original Poster

                            #14
                            Reddfox, I assume "CC" = counter canter?
                            Alis volat propriis.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Yes! Sorry about that...was typing my notes word for word and forgot to translate

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by Reddfox View Post

                                Her prerequisites:
                                1. Walk/Canter/Walk (no shortening of the neck, no falling on face in the downward transition)
                                (she will help introduce canter/walk with a VERY large working pirouette because it brings hind under...this is ONLY an introduction to movement - you don't want crookedness creeping in.

                                2. CC/Walk/True Canter (tests straightness and if horse is listening to seat)
                                A very similar technique (including the pirouette) was given to me as preparation for teaching the changes.
                                Redbud Ranch
                                Check us out on FB

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  PP, I attended Scott and Ingo Pape's lecture at Dressage at Devon last year. Counter canter comes first. How much time you spend teaching it depends on your own level of experience. An experienced rider/trainer can teach counter canter in a timely fashion and then move on to changes. Novices need time to develop their own skills as well as teach their horses. I made the mistake of schooling changes with the first horse I trained to PSG, and had to go back and confirm the counter canter before I moved on to 4th Level with her. When I trained my dutch mare you can be sure she learned to counter canter first. Every trainer I've worked with (including Scott) teaches CC first.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by Maude View Post
                                    PP, I attended Scott and Ingo Pape's lecture at Dressage at Devon last year. Counter canter comes first. How much time you spend teaching it depends on your own level of experience. An experienced rider/trainer can teach counter canter in a timely fashion and then move on to changes. Novices need time to develop their own skills as well as teach their horses. I made the mistake of schooling changes with the first horse I trained to PSG, and had to go back and confirm the counter canter before I moved on to 4th Level with her. When I trained my dutch mare you can be sure she learned to counter canter first. Every trainer I've worked with (including Scott) teaches CC first.
                                    I didn't mean not to teach it first. I guess I misunderstood your post. There are a lot of people that think you school counter canter forever until you get to the level where you have to do flying changes, then teach them. I thought it was interesting that many of the BNT say it's better to start the changes as soon as a young horse understands counter canter.

                                    I think the confusion sometimes with how people define "confirmed". I don't define it as perfection, but some people do, and IMO end up over schooling before moving on.
                                    On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog

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                                    • #19
                                      When I rode with Scott he advised I not do anymore counter canter until we mastered the changes...I think Bali was four...or an early five.

                                      On my spotted horse I waited way too long to introduce changes and she thought she shoul not do them.

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