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Lead Change Spinoff

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  • Lead Change Spinoff

    My horse has trouble with her left to right lead change. She will do the right to left beautifully but has problems with the other way 8/10 times. At first I thought that maybe I wasn't setting her up correctly, but my trainer has told me that my horse is just weak on that side and it's not me. She has no trouble counter cantering when I ask for it, and was initially trained to be an eventer, so she knows all the basic dressage "moves". I've been trying to do more lateral work with her, but what are some specific flat exercises I can do with her to help get that smooth left to right change consistently?

  • #2
    My horse also has trouble with left to right changes due to a weakness/tendency to be lazy with the right hind. What we work on are rubber band exercises (extension and collection) making sure that she is rocked back and pushing off of the inside hind leg when I ask for the extension. We do this both at the trot and canter.

    Where I can really see the difference is the walk to canter to walk transitions on the right versus left sides so we do a turn on the haunches to the transition up and then another while we're transitioning down. Of course we do this in both directions but I might do a couple of extras on the right side.

    Then we try to translate these into better transitions on the straight away as well as serpentine patters with the change through the walk. With these I really work on making sure she is straight, moving off of the new inside leg to the new outside hand, and leading with the shoulder (she likes to counter flex, drop her shoulder and fall in going to the right). When all is going well it should be canter-walk a step-canter.

    I also try to be always aware of her transitions, even when we're hacking out, and not allow her to be lazy with her hind end. It really helps to have someone on the ground to keep an eye on this, so if you're trainer does not have a solid background in basic flatwork perhaps your horse might benefit from some dressage lessons. And as much as I hate carrying them, a dressage whip is much more effective than a jump bat for reminding a horse to use its hind end.


    • #3
      I just reread the OP and saw that the horse has some dressage training. The suggestion of dressage lessons was not as much about teaching the horse different moves but more about having a different set of eyes on the ground. My hunter trainer actually thinks my horse goes better to the right and it was my dressage coach who pointed out that my horse likes to drag her right hind and then the problems I was having started making sense.

      I just really appreciate having someone who can tell me a) that I'm using the appropriate aids and getting the correct response and b) that all these strengthening exercises are making a difference and she can see improvement from week to week. I'm sure plenty of hunter trainer out there are capable of this, but what I love about my dressage teacher is the constant and detailed attention to how the horse is using herself at every stride.


      • Original Poster

        thanks! That's exactly the type of post I was looking for. My trainer has a very good eye as far as finding a horse's weaknesses and I would be asking her this question but she's out of town right now. I guess I could have waited until next week to ask when she's back but I want to start fixing this issue now, before my next show. At my last show, my horse refused to give me a clean change for several strides affter a jump in my medal class and it really hurt our placing. I'll definitely work on the collection/extension in my ride today.