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Horse always landing on left lead

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  • Horse always landing on left lead

    I'm concerned about this horse landing 90% on the left lead. Horse does not have physical issues, is very straight and supple in dressage work, and jumps straight and in beautiful form. But I'm concerned that by landing mostly on the left lead, horse will break down on that leg over time. Horse prefers left lead through gridwork and will land on left lead through the lines (even when approached from the right lead). Will happily do a flying change immediately on landing.

    I've done some work jumping on circles to the right, keeping my eyes and my body turning, and using a bit of opening right rein in the air. I feel like I have to *really* exagerate these aids to have the horse land on the right lead.

    Any other tips or exercises?

  • #2
    Don't turn left after fences.

    Do not do full courses.

    I would not do gymnastics, singles where you can control that lead.

    The wheel/circle of death. To the right.

    More flatwork on the right-he is weaker and you need to build it up.

    Do not assume there is nothing physically bothering him. It could be Hocks-and, no, they will not seem sore on them-saddle fit or your own position. make sure you are square in the saddle, equal weight in the stirrups and not dropping or leading a shoulder. That means a good pair of eyes on the ground and/ or a video.
    When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

    The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.


    • #3
      Interestingly my horse prefers his right lead on the flat, but generally lands on the left lead o/f. His L to R change is easier than his R to L.

      On the flat he does walk canter transitions better on the right and his right lead is more rythmical with a better tempo.

      I don't know, I just don't worry about it too much.
      My adventures as a working rider



      • #4
        My older hunter prefers his left lead as he's gotten older because he's stronger on that side. He will have occasional soreness in the right shoulder (arthritis) too, so I have him on a maintenance program that works pretty well. But, when he's ready for an adjustment, he'll start landing pretty consistently on that left lead. Be sure to have his back, withers, hip, hocks, and shoulders checked to ensure there's nothing amiss.

        As far getting him stronger, counter-cantering is great along with lateral work, circles, transitions, etc.


        • #5
          My horse always lands on the right lead and then easily does her change if we're heading to the left. I thought it was just her until one day my trainer was watching very closely and said my left leg slips back ever so slightly in mid air (maybe even just sort of my hip dropping slightly back) and we believe that's why she does it. No one else really jumps her, so we've not tested this theory. It's never been a big deal to me (we don't show). Have you tried free-jumping to see if it's you or the horse?


          • #6
            I have a horse that WOULD NOT land on his left lead. I had a million clever suggestions, including 'who cares, he's got great changes.' That's a little tough when you're doing the eq and have some very forward left bending lines and a chunk of space was wasted with a lead change. The way I fixed it...very very tight left hand circles over a very low fence MAKING him land on his left lead. It seemed like he had never been asked to land on his left lead so he just didn't know how - like writing with the opposite hand from what you're used to.

            I'm proud to say that now my horse lands equally on both leads!
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            • #7
              Originally posted by findeight View Post
              Don't turn left after fences.

              More flatwork on the right-he is weaker and you need to build it up.

              Not trying to start and argument, just looking for an answer myself!

              My horse is WAY stronger on the left, always running that way on the track(we are working on it) and he always lands on the right lead.... sooooo i dont really understand what you said cause mine is the opposite and legit weaker on the right


              • #8
                I know you said he's physically fine, but it could also be due to the conformation of his legs/pastern. There's a LOT of shock absorption there, so if his angles are too straight on the right side, then he may be compensating by always landing left, and thereby saving that right leg. Just a thought to add to your possibilities
                WHY am I such a sucker for cute ponies??!!!


                • #9
                  Originally posted by hoops04 View Post
                  Not trying to start and argument, just looking for an answer myself!

                  My horse is WAY stronger on the left, always running that way on the track(we are working on it) and he always lands on the right lead.... sooooo i dont really understand what you said cause mine is the opposite and legit weaker on the right

                  A lot of track horses build when they feel pain - which might be what you are feeling when you track left - and also why he is choosing to land right.

                  Something to consider.


                  • #10
                    Just the opposite of Nickelodian, The school horse that I rode prefers his left lead and it is very difficult to get him to pick up his right lead. His left lead is much smoother than his right. However, after a jump he always lands on his right lead.


                    • #11
                      do ground pole work and grid work at last jump in small grid add a canter pole after it then makesure the grid is set up down centre line
                      turn right next time round turn left
                      circle work wont do it ---


                      • #12
                        For those of you in the camp of 'my horse lands on the lead he won't pick up on the flat camp'.... I was thinking of this the other day after watching a girl at my barn do it. My threory was perhaps the reason she didn't like picking up the right lead on the flat was a weakness (or pain in some cases) in the left (outside) hind that they need to push off of to step into it. Going over a jump takes the hind legs out of the equation, so the horse opts for what is more comfortable to the front end. That's what was crossing my little mind anyway.....


                        • #13
                          When my QH started favoring one lead all the time (flat work and jumping) we did all sorts of tests. Then an X-ray. Turns out he had a bone spur in the opposite foot.


                          • #14
                            My horse was constantly picking up his right lead after every single fence. Turns out he had thrush (under his pads so we couldn't see it) and he has very slow progressing navicular. But the biggest thing I noticed was that I was leaning slightly to the right so when I started becoming more centered he started picking up his left lead.
                            No hour of life is wasted that is spent in the saddle. ~Winston Churchill
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                            • #15
                              He very well might be physically fine and it could be you...

                              Even though you have to exaggerate in order to get the horse to land right, it could be that what feels like exaggerating actually looks quite normal and balanced.

                              I had one who hated landing left so I'd have to step in my right stirrup in the air to make it happen. While it felt like I was coming off the side of the horse, it really looked pretty normal on film and in photos.


                              • Original Poster

                                Thanks for all the thoughts, everyone! I assure those who questioned physical issues - not likely, as horse has had a recent prepurchase with full x-rays, flexions, etc. and passed with flying colors. Also, the flatwork is going absolutely great; horse is easily working 2nd level and progressing to 3rd level work happily.

                                It could be me: I tend to let my right toe turn in while in the air, which softens my leg and may let horse's right shoulder drop, causing the left front to lift in the canter.

                                Also, to poster who mentioned conformational asymmetry: that could be something too. Horse's feet are a bit asymmetrical, with the right heels being lower and flatter than the left.

                                So now that I have more insight, any more exercises to suggest? Obviously I will continue to work on my right toe. Am I destined to live on the circle of death? As I said earlier, horse jumps beautifully and is catty and adjustable in gridwork, but jumps through grids on the left lead. Always does a flying change happily if I want to turn right immediately afterward. I just would like to be able to LAND on that lead, so the left front isn't overstressed year after year!