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Teaching flying lead changes?

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  • Teaching flying lead changes?

    How do you guys go about teaching your horses their flyings? I know asking for it over a pole is beneficial. Are there any other exercises that you guys have found to be helpful for teaching your horse?
    Last edited by justjumpit278; Nov. 24, 2010, 10:57 PM.
    In my opinion a horse is the animal to have. Eleven-hundred pounds of raw muscle, power, grace, and sweat between your legs. Its something you just can't get from a pet hamster.
    In The Nick of Time

  • #2
    It depends on the horse.

    Most horses I don't teach over a pole, I teach on figure eight. I teach all my horses to bend around my leg and get them really, really straight and soft and giving. I them put them on a circle one direction and get them bending around my leg well, putting my outside heel down, bending around my inside leg, opening my inside rein, keeping contact with my outside rein. Then when I want the change I half halt and switch everything to ask for bend to the other direction --sinking into my "new" outside heel, asking for bend around my new inside leg, opening my new inside rein, and holding contact with the outside rein. Many horses pick up the change with this method right away. if the proper schooling is in place when you start asking. My last OTTB learned in a single day.

    Of course, sometimes this does not mirror the traditional hunter swap, but IME a good judge will not penalize a good back to front change. And I think it is much more effective than the old "run the horse into the corner and get it so off balance it has to change or fall down" method. That's just folly.

    Oh, and you can edit the post title by clicking "Go Advanced" in the original post edit function. Good luck with your horse's changes!

    Comment

    • Original Poster

      #3
      That makes complete and total sense to me. Thanks for your insight, that really helped.
      And thanks for the good luck wishes. I'm really trying hard with the mare I'm working with and I don't want to screw her up. >.< Unfortunately I don't have a trainer to work with at the moment, so I thought I'd be able to get some advice here.
      In my opinion a horse is the animal to have. Eleven-hundred pounds of raw muscle, power, grace, and sweat between your legs. Its something you just can't get from a pet hamster.
      In The Nick of Time

      Comment


      • #4
        As you said, working over a pole. My trainer found that I kind of panicked a bit about getting it over the one pole so we used to set up a grid of four or five poles and I would enter asking and then by the end having my new lead. I was eventually able to move down to one pole but they were established by then so it wasn't an issue.

        Once you have it on a figure of eight, the next challenge is doing it on a straight line - good luck!

        Comment


        • #5
          Daughters pony picked up her flying changes over a pole on a figure eight, progressed to pole at the end of a line. She has some slick changes now. Good luck, teaching lead changes can be frustrating but it is oh so rewarding when they figure it out!

          Comment


          • #6
            A related question - when do you teach them? What does your horse need to know and/or how old should they be?

            I have a 5yo mare. I have not asked for flying changes at all, but more let her figure it out. At this point, if I am in a figure 8, she'll change leads as soon as I ask for the new bend, but, it's not a "flying change". Seems like the front may be a flying change, but the back feels like some kind of shuffle for a stride before she gets it correct. It is hard to tell what she's doing since I'm on her.

            Comment


            • #7
              Sulta, a proper change comes from the back. A change in front only is just a messed up canter. They can sometimes learn to catch up with the hind but I don't believe it's a good way to teach them. Halting or walking between leads helps as it gets them to put their weight on their back end.

              Here's an article that explains it better than I can. Good luck!

              http://www.southernstates.com/articl...adchanges.aspx

              Comment


              • #8
                teaching changes

                Teaching Flying changes for some horses can be a real process. Ideally your horse should be able to pick up the canter from the walk and halt to have the neccesary strength required for the change. He should also be broke enough to bend around your leg both inside and outside at all gaits.

                The pole exercises mentioned are both very good....also put down 3/4 poles in a row to be cantered over (11 1/2-12 feet apart) to build the hind end up and give him the proper technique to lift behind. You can do this on the lunge as well.

                Counter canter works well also for the same reasons as above.

                Either way, the rider needs to be savy enough to feel when to ask, when to reward, when to correct, when to push for more, and most importantly: when to end each session.

                Comment


                • #9
                  We start by making sure the horse is balanced on both leads. We do a lot of counter canter and upward and downward transitions. Once we've established strength and balance on both leads, then we work on lead changes.

                  Generally we start by trotting down the quarter line, asking the horse to leg yield to the rail. A few strides from the end of the arena, we'll ask for a halt, a back up step, change the bend and then canter around the corner on the correct lead. Once the horse understands the change of bend, we'll practice the exercise at the canter - counter canter down the quarter line, yield to the rail, etc. We gradually stop asking for the halt and the back up step, our horses usually have the lead changes within a few days using this method.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    An important factor in teaching a lead change is the rider must know how to properly ask for them to begin with.

                    Some riders will have the trainer put the change on the horse and then the trainer works w/ student to show them how to ask properly.

                    When working on lead changes do work in counter canter... making sure the horse is strong enough and balanced over a series of weeks.... Then you can work on changes on a diagonal line at a forward canter - as you are on the left lead (for example) tracking left - begin across the diagonal - using your right leg, supporting right rein but using your left rein to keep the horse in the counter canter..... using your right leg - move the horse left a bit; then as you approach the end of the arena - keeping your right leg holding the rib cage supporting feeling the rib cage bend the new direction and w/ your right rein slightly turning the nose in but keeping the right shoulder "up" and slipping your left leg back and ask for the hind to change. This is all done with "feeling" and that's why it's not really super easy until you get that "feel"....
                    Last edited by doublesstable; Nov. 25, 2010, 04:59 PM.
                    Live in the sunshine.
                    Swim in the sea.
                    Drink the wild air.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      LOL, usually I make sure they are balanced and truly straight and in front of my leg with no help from me, then I go down the diagonal with a healthy pace (not running away, but up tempo) so they know a change of direction is inevitable, then like fordtraktor I do the same cues, only I've always thought of it as opening their body to the new direction - freeing up that side of their body ...OK, really what I think of it as getting out of their way so they can do what they already know how to do.

                      So far I've done about a half dozen lead changes with the 3 year old. I just want him to learn how to do what he can already do ... only with me on him. So I'm not big about finesse with my cues at this stage, just familiarizing him with the concept and getting a crisp clean change with a balanced horse on both leads. Later I'll adapt it to a specific cue, but right now it's not about drilling the behavior or expecting perfection, it's about effortless confidence. So to that end I don't ask him for a lead change if physically I don't think he's 110% able that day, cantering down that diagonal. If he's a bit tired and down on his forehand, today's not the day. If he had it in him to be rushy, that wouldn't be the day either. Or too pissy, i.e., not a player... There's always another day.

                      Mostly I try to remember that they all can do a lead change without us on their back, so I like to imitate those circumstances as much as possible, and those circumstances usually involve a balanced horse going just fast enough where their preference would not be to break into a trot and a horse who knows he has enough of a change of direction coming up that a counter canter isn't going to cut it. If those two things are clear in his mind, getting out of his way usually takes care of the rest.
                      Your crazy is showing. You might want to tuck that back in.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        You need to teach your horse to leg yield first. Teaching a proper lead change comes from teaching a horse to leg yield first and foremost.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I read a very cool article by a reining person that described how those folks teach changes. They start by teaching the horse to move its outside hip over on command. They do this at the walk and trot. Eventually, they can tell the horse to move its outside hip over and presto, they get their changes.

                          And I know firsthand that reining people put great lead changes on horses!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            All good suggestions, my current mare has really natural changes in the first place. I would watch her in the field cantering around and changing her leads as he changed directions so I had a pretty good idea that they would be easy for her.

                            Well one day I was working on a three loop serpentine with simple changes through the trot. One time when I went to ask for the downward transition she just swapped, basically saying this is much easier mom. Since then she has had changes. I rarely have to ask her for them as she is pretty auto, but if I have to ask she swaps right away. I have never drilled her on them either.

                            I think drilling any horse about lead changes is the worst idea. Makes them into a bigger deal than they are. Just do a few a day and move on whether they got them or not then revisit in another few days.

                            I have had to put lead changes on every horse I ever had and all of them have been different.
                            Last edited by Beethoven; Nov. 25, 2010, 09:22 PM.
                            I love cats, I love every single cat....
                            So anyway I am a cat lover
                            And I love to run.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Beethoven View Post
                              I have never drilled her on them either.

                              I think drilling any horse about lead changes is the worst idea. Makes them into a bigger deal than they are. Just do a few a day and move on wether they got them or not then revisit in another few days.
                              Definitely a great suggestion and reminder! I agree w/ you.
                              Live in the sunshine.
                              Swim in the sea.
                              Drink the wild air.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                I agree with Beethoven. We have someone who is really good with changes get on them and ask them across a diagonal. Some of them get them and some dont, and a lot of people like to go out to a nice pasture and work on them in there so in the ring they dont get panic-ie.
                                Proud Owner of the Famous Supernatural...or at least the Famous COTH-Missing Horse.
                                http://www.chronofhorse.com/forum/sh...e+supernatural

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Flying changes

                                  Originally posted by justjumpit278 View Post
                                  How do you guys go about teaching your horses their flyings? I know asking for it over a pole is beneficial. Are there any other exercises that you guys have found to be helpful for teaching your horse?
                                  Make a box on the ground using 4 rails....start out by cantering through the middle straight so your horse can get used to the rhythm/pattern of it...its sort of like a bounce or one stride rather ...then once your horse is familiar w/ cantering through straight,then next time around choose the direction you want your horse to change its lead to and as your cantering over the "out" pole is when you ask and turn...keep doing it in both directions....and after a little while it will teach your the rhythm and pattern and timing of when to change...it worked well for me

                                  Comment

                                  • Original Poster

                                    #18
                                    Thanks for all the suggestions, guys!
                                    When I rode her yesterday, I got her listening to me at the canter and then I just asked through the center without a pole or anything like that. She swapped her front for me on the first try! I know thats not SPECTACULAR and would have been better if she did her hind change with it.. but after two strides, she already caught up behind. It was the first time I was ever really asking her for a change!
                                    I think (*hope*) she'll learn them fairly quickly.
                                    In my opinion a horse is the animal to have. Eleven-hundred pounds of raw muscle, power, grace, and sweat between your legs. Its something you just can't get from a pet hamster.
                                    In The Nick of Time

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Teaching the counter canter comes FIRST.

                                      Originally posted by Sulta View Post
                                      A related question - when do you teach them? What does your horse need to know and/or how old should they be?

                                      I have a 5yo mare. I have not asked for flying changes at all, but more let her figure it out. At this point, if I am in a figure 8, she'll change leads as soon as I ask for the new bend, but, it's not a "flying change". Seems like the front may be a flying change, but the back feels like some kind of shuffle for a stride before she gets it correct. It is hard to tell what she's doing since I'm on her.
                                      It's not about asking for a new bend. It's about the horse listening to your cues when asking for the change. Timing is EVERYTHING. Make sure your horse can pick up the counter canter SOLIDLY before ever asking for lead changes....

                                      Go down a long side, ask for the right lead. Three strides, walk a stride. Counter canter three strides. Walk. Repeat. If your horse can't do this, he's not ready to start changes.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by justjumpit278 View Post
                                        Thanks for all the suggestions, guys!
                                        When I rode her yesterday, I got her listening to me at the canter and then I just asked through the center without a pole or anything like that. She swapped her front for me on the first try! I know thats not SPECTACULAR and would have been better if she did her hind change with it.. but after two strides, she already caught up behind. It was the first time I was ever really asking her for a change!
                                        I think (*hope*) she'll learn them fairly quickly.
                                        Not to be a Debbie Downer, but this is unacceptable IMO. If the correct flatwork was achieved before even starting changes, this would not be an issue.

                                        Comment

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