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Inadvertently asking for a flying lead change help!

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  • Inadvertently asking for a flying lead change help!

    I'm a hunter rider, who has crossed over into dressage land. Recently, my gelding after we complete a 20 m circle at E going clockwise and continue down the long side as soon as I try to keep him pushed down the long side and ride towards the corner about half way there he swaps to his left lead.

    I know naturally I'm crooked in my body in that my right hip and shoulder are lower then then left any ideas or visualizations I can use to help keep straight and stop ending up with a swapped lead?! I suspect this issue hasn't come up before as I didn't used to ride the canter with as deep of as seat as I am now.

    I appreciate that he had such lovely lead changes but I really want to have better control of them.

    Thanks!

  • #2
    I find that riders once they ask for and get a canter, completely take off the outside leg and leave the horse by himself to make decisions. Unfortunately for riders on particularly educated or crafty horses, this can end in flying changes and frequent trot breaks.
    In any gait, the outside leg is positioned slightly behind the inside leg in any case to encourage bending and for the outside hind leg to track into the prints of the outside fore on a circle. The difference between this aid and a canter aid is the amount of intent in the seat, but once in the canter the leg aids do not disappear, nor should the outside leg being positioned back push the haunches too far to track to the inside (this is where the inside leg to outside rein connection comes into play).

    In short, don't take your aid off! It's not gripping onto the horse, but the leg hanging like a wet towel on the horse's side to always remind him what is going on. Setting up the horse for success - always indicating what you would like him to do.

    An exercise to help you to be straighter (which is a constant struggle) and recognize your weaknesses and inconsistencies in your body - as well as apply a more effective aid and being to use your inside leg - outside rein connection, is the spiral in/out with transitions. The horse should have an established turn on the forehand and understand a basic leg yield.
    From there, in the trot on a 20m circle, spiral into a 12m circle in the center of the 20m circle. Don't forget your bending aids, they will be stronger on a 12m circle to bend the horse to the line on the circle. Continuing to bend the horse, ask for him to yield back to the 20m circle line (sitting the trot is helpful). At the moment which you reach your 20m circle line, ask for the canter. Now keep an aid, and the feeling in the yield to maintain your line and the connection. In the downward transition, should the horse rush to trot, spiraling into the 12m circle again can help to regain balance more easily. Eventually this canter with all your aids will translate to riding a straight line in a more balanced way.
    As well, to get your body more even, doing exercise like yoga, pilates or weight training will even out your body on and off the horse.

    Good luck!

    Comment


    • #3
      Perhaps you are swapping your seatbones, or taking the flexion out with your outside rein.
      www.destinationconsensusequus.com
      chaque pas est fait ensemble

      Comment

      • Original Poster

        #4
        Originally posted by ~DQ~ View Post
        I find that riders once they ask for and get a canter, completely take off the outside leg and leave the horse by himself to make decisions. Unfortunately for riders on particularly educated or crafty horses, this can end in flying changes and frequent trot breaks.
        In any gait, the outside leg is positioned slightly behind the inside leg in any case to encourage bending and for the outside hind leg to track into the prints of the outside fore on a circle. The difference between this aid and a canter aid is the amount of intent in the seat, but once in the canter the leg aids do not disappear, nor should the outside leg being positioned back push the haunches too far to track to the inside (this is where the inside leg to outside rein connection comes into play).

        In short, don't take your aid off! It's not gripping onto the horse, but the leg hanging like a wet towel on the horse's side to always remind him what is going on. Setting up the horse for success - always indicating what you would like him to do.

        An exercise to help you to be straighter (which is a constant struggle) and recognize your weaknesses and inconsistencies in your body - as well as apply a more effective aid and being to use your inside leg - outside rein connection, is the spiral in/out with transitions. The horse should have an established turn on the forehand and understand a basic leg yield.
        From there, in the trot on a 20m circle, spiral into a 12m circle in the center of the 20m circle. Don't forget your bending aids, they will be stronger on a 12m circle to bend the horse to the line on the circle. Continuing to bend the horse, ask for him to yield back to the 20m circle line (sitting the trot is helpful). At the moment which you reach your 20m circle line, ask for the canter. Now keep an aid, and the feeling in the yield to maintain your line and the connection. In the downward transition, should the horse rush to trot, spiraling into the 12m circle again can help to regain balance more easily. Eventually this canter with all your aids will translate to riding a straight line in a more balanced way.
        As well, to get your body more even, doing exercise like yoga, pilates or weight training will even out your body on and off the horse.

        Good luck!
        I will try the exercise thanks!

        Comment

        • Original Poster

          #5
          Originally posted by Petstorejunkie View Post
          Perhaps you are swapping your seatbones, or taking the flexion out with your outside rein.
          I'm sure I'm inadvertently doing this but I can't seem to figure out how to not do it. Basically after we complete a 20 m circle and I ask him to continue down the straight away I feel like as soon as I give him the cue to continue straight and push him towards the "rail" with my inside leg I get a swap instead.

          Just not sure how to make the change to keep it from not happening.

          Comment


          • #6
            Maybe try continuing down the long side in shoulder-fore/shoulder-in, and then after a few repetitions slowly switch to straightness?

            Comment


            • #7
              Riding it as a shoulder fore will help to remind you to keep your inside side bone position. If you get as obvious as a shoulder in, you will be marked down.
              However, at home it is not a bad correction, as long as you remember that it is a correction.

              Another point to remember, in the canter, every stride is ridden as a upward transition.
              Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.

              Remember the horse does all the work, we just sit there and look pretty.

              Comment

              • Original Poster

                #8
                Yesterday I did try to ride it as a shoulder in down the long side after the circle and I was still getting a swap. Do I need to by chance make more of a "wall" with outside aids to keep this from happening or is all very well a problem with my seat. I know when I sit in the saddle I naturally weight my right seat bone more and I'm a bit collapsed to the right side if that makes sense. I tried sitting more equally and I'm struggling to figure out how to do it correctly.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Going clockwise, should have you on the right rein, and you should be slightly on the R seat bone. Your left leg would be carried slightly back. Your flexion should be right also. Unless, as you straighten you fall to the outside, or in your concern for riding the corner, you use too much outside rein rather than pushing him through the corner with the same bending aids you use in the canter, your inside leg and supporting outside leg.
                  Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.

                  Remember the horse does all the work, we just sit there and look pretty.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Use your knee and thigh to get him to the rail, not your shin, calf, or ankle.
                    Think of easing off the outside rein a touch, then catching it gently. Keep your inside oblique and psoas engaged.
                    www.destinationconsensusequus.com
                    chaque pas est fait ensemble

                    Comment

                    • Original Poster

                      #11
                      Originally posted by merrygoround View Post
                      Going clockwise, should have you on the right rein, and you should be slightly on the R seat bone. Your left leg would be carried slightly back. Your flexion should be right also. Unless, as you straighten you fall to the outside, or in your concern for riding the corner, you use too much outside rein rather than pushing him through the corner with the same bending aids you use in the canter, your inside leg and supporting outside leg.
                      I just might be getting too focused on the upcoming corner and applying too much outside with my outside aids. I have a feeling though that my seat is crooked. I have a protruding disc in my lower back and I definitely favor one side of my body over the other so this should be interesting to work through.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        No one ever said you had to finish the long side once you have embarked upon it.

                        If you feel him start to get switchy, turn off onto a circle, ride around, come back to the track, and then see where you're at after a few more strides down the long side. Weight the inside seat bone and press it toward his outside ear.

                        If your seat bones ride "ready to circle in" up the long side, he'll keep the lead. Similarly, riding a circle will help put your seat bones in the right spot.

                        Just let the exercise do it for you, rather than having a sturm and drang. Keep calm and circle in.
                        The Noodlehttp://tiny.cc/NGKmT&http://tiny.cc/gioSA
                        Jinxyhttp://tiny.cc/PIC798&http://tiny.cc/jinx364
                        Boy Wonderhttp://tiny.cc/G9290
                        The Hana is nuts! NUTS!!http://tinyurl.com/SOCRAZY

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Kwalker024 View Post
                          I'm sure I'm inadvertently doing this but I can't seem to figure out how to not do it. Basically after we complete a 20 m circle and I ask him to continue down the straight away I feel like as soon as I give him the cue to continue straight and push him towards the "rail" with my inside leg I get a swap instead.

                          Just not sure how to make the change to keep it from not happening.
                          It sounds to me that you lost the inside bend and the horse interpreted flying lead change. Remember, when you go down the long side, you should still maintain that same inside bend with the same weight on your seat bone as the 20 meter circle. The only difference is the direction in which you are traveling.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Kwalker024 View Post
                            I'm sure I'm inadvertently doing this but I can't seem to figure out how to not do it. Basically after we complete a 20 m circle and I ask him to continue down the straight away I feel like as soon as I give him the cue to continue straight and push him towards the "rail" with my inside leg I get a swap instead.

                            Just not sure how to make the change to keep it from not happening.
                            Your issue is that you aren't still "feeling" that right sitting bone, as you had while you were on the circle. Given your crookedness, you might be scrunching up your leg while and screwing up your seat more to apply that "go out to the rail" inside leg.

                            Two ways to fix this. You can use them together, but know that at bottom you need to fix your body first.

                            1. Your visual is really a feeling-- notice what your sitting bones feel like on the circle, especially the right one, and decide to maintain that on the straight part. That's all you have to do at first-- just focus on that part of your body.

                            1.5 To get this, however, you need to think about stretching up your body on the right side. If you lower everything on the right, your tendency will be to curl up more to try and find that sitting bone. You might end up grinding with it a bit. That's not what you want. Instead, your simple visual is: try to lengthen the distance between your hip bone and the bottom rib on your right side. Heck, even stretch down through your heel for good measure. You should feel very tall, draped over your horse and both sitting bones. For you, you'll notice the right one more without using your leg.

                            2. If the beast switches leads, chill and walk without changing that tall/long-on-the-right-side-of-your-body feeling. But keep that feeling!

                            3. Eventer13's exercise is great and will work--- if you ride it correctly first. It can help you teach the horse to help you out before you are 100% straight. But if you have to scrunch up your right hip and leg to get those shoulder fore/in things, you'll be hurting your ultimate cause.

                            Hope this helps.
                            The armchair saddler
                            Politically Pro-Cat

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by meupatdoes View Post
                              No one ever said you had to finish the long side once you have embarked upon it.
                              Agree with this. I would recommend staying a few feet off of the wall and pretend you are riding your horse on a balance beam. For now, concentrate on two things: keeping him absolutely straight on that balance beam and maintaining your own position. No matter what he does, don't change your aids or your position.

                              Forget about bend and concentrate on straight so that you can gain control of his shoulders. Once you have control of the shoulders, everything else will fall into place.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                It sounds like you are overusing your inside leg. It sounds like you come out of the circle and either are a little to the inside of the track to start with, or your horse wants to drift to the inside. Then you apply inside leg to keep the horse going straight- which he interprets as change.

                                Complete guess based on your description, but I'd work on cantering straight lines off the rail. Canter only on the quarter line or center line for a while. Then you can't rely on the wall to do the job of your outside aids- and you will learn to use all of your aids to ride straight rather than overusing your inside leg.

                                And yes, as someone said, if you circle, then start down the long side- begin circling again before you give the horse a chance to swap off. Try to get one more straight stride of good feeling each time you do it until you make it all the way to the corner.

                                Comment

                                • Original Poster

                                  #17
                                  Originally posted by meupatdoes View Post
                                  No one ever said you had to finish the long side once you have embarked upon it.

                                  If you feel him start to get switchy, turn off onto a circle, ride around, come back to the track, and then see where you're at after a few more strides down the long side. Weight the inside seat bone and press it toward his outside ear.

                                  If your seat bones ride "ready to circle in" up the long side, he'll keep the lead. Similarly, riding a circle will help put your seat bones in the right spot.

                                  Just let the exercise do it for you, rather than having a sturm and drang. Keep calm and circle in.
                                  Thanks for the advice! The frustrating thing is that the changes are super smooth so there isn't really a warning to them. Great for the future just not right now lol. I'll work on the exercise you described thanks!

                                  Comment

                                  • Original Poster

                                    #18
                                    Originally posted by Gloria View Post
                                    It sounds to me that you lost the inside bend and the horse interpreted flying lead change. Remember, when you go down the long side, you should still maintain that same inside bend with the same weight on your seat bone as the 20 meter circle. The only difference is the direction in which you are traveling.
                                    I'll definitely have to continue to keep the bend in mind as we come down the side. Thanks!

                                    Comment

                                    • Original Poster

                                      #19
                                      Originally posted by mvp View Post
                                      Your issue is that you aren't still "feeling" that right sitting bone, as you had while you were on the circle. Given your crookedness, you might be scrunching up your leg while and screwing up your seat more to apply that "go out to the rail" inside leg.

                                      Two ways to fix this. You can use them together, but know that at bottom you need to fix your body first.

                                      1. Your visual is really a feeling-- notice what your sitting bones feel like on the circle, especially the right one, and decide to maintain that on the straight part. That's all you have to do at first-- just focus on that part of your body.

                                      1.5 To get this, however, you need to think about stretching up your body on the right side. If you lower everything on the right, your tendency will be to curl up more to try and find that sitting bone. You might end up grinding with it a bit. That's not what you want. Instead, your simple visual is: try to lengthen the distance between your hip bone and the bottom rib on your right side. Heck, even stretch down through your heel for good measure. You should feel very tall, draped over your horse and both sitting bones. For you, you'll notice the right one more without using your leg.

                                      2. If the beast switches leads, chill and walk without changing that tall/long-on-the-right-side-of-your-body feeling. But keep that feeling!

                                      3. Eventer13's exercise is great and will work--- if you ride it correctly first. It can help you teach the horse to help you out before you are 100% straight. But if you have to scrunch up your right hip and leg to get those shoulder fore/in things, you'll be hurting your ultimate cause.

                                      Hope this helps.
                                      I think you hit the nail on the head. I'm definitely also scrunching up my right leg in all of my efforts. I'm really going to work on sitting straighter and am going to work on this off the horse too.

                                      Thankfully as soon as we round the corner he does swap back but I want to eliminate the swapping issue altogether. This has been super helpful thank you!

                                      Comment

                                      • Original Poster

                                        #20
                                        Originally posted by suzy View Post
                                        Agree with this. I would recommend staying a few feet off of the wall and pretend you are riding your horse on a balance beam. For now, concentrate on two things: keeping him absolutely straight on that balance beam and maintaining your own position. No matter what he does, don't change your aids or your position.

                                        Forget about bend and concentrate on straight so that you can gain control of his shoulders. Once you have control of the shoulders, everything else will fall into place.
                                        Where we ride there is no wall or rail it is a turf dressage arena marked out with cones so there isn't a "rail" for us to rely on but we will definitely work on straight more. Thanks!

                                        Comment

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