a Horse for Correct Leads
© 2006 Cherry Hill
gelding is around 17 years old. He won't get his leads well, I have been
trying to teach him his leads and sometimes he gets them but sometimes not - is
there a good way to train my horse to get his leads? Melody
horse's training should be a thorough and progressive set of lessons. Each
lesson is only as successful as the lessons that came before it. There
are a good number of goals you need to accomplish before attempting to train
your horse to lope on the correct lead. If you are ready for these lessons
with your horse, the following information will help you. If the instructions
below are confusing, it probably means you would benefit from lessons with a qualified
riding instructor. Best of luck and remember, it is better to do simple
things well than to ride advanced maneuvers in poor form.
your gelding can learn his leads solidly, you must be able to do the following
Ride in an absolutely
straight line at a walk, trot and canter.
yield at the walk, trot, and canter.
forward promptly from halt to walk, walk to trot, and halt to trot.
off promptly from the trot or walk to the lope (canter) (it doesn't matter
what lead at this point).
halt or check. (See instructions for half halt or check in previous column,
Speed Up, Slow Down).
you are able to perform all of these exercises with your horse, he should have
not problem taking the correct lead every time. If you cannot
perform these exercises, you need to work with an instructor that can help you
develop the basics with your horse. (See reference to ARIA in previous column,
that you and your horse know these introductory exercises, so will explain the
aids that are used for cantering (or loping) on the correct lead. First perfect
the trot to canter transition, then the walk to canter transition. For more
information, see 101 Arena Exercises available at www.horsekeeping.com.
or canter, first use the Positioning Aids, then the Depart Aids, then once the
horse is loping/cantering, use the Following Aids:
AIDS FOR RIGHT LEAD:
- Right leg at the girth which causes a mini leg yield -
horse's right hind reaches further forward and horse's body bends right.
- Add slightly more contact on right rein to produce right flexion at
poll but maintain left rein contact to control the degree of right flexion and
limit the reach of the left foreleg (because you want the right foreleg to reach
farther forward, not the left one).
- Left leg behind the girth to control
the hindquarters and prevent the left hind from stepping to the left.
- Position your
right seat bone forward with weight in your right stirrup (lower your knee and
heel on the right to keep from collapsing your right side while weighting your
right seat bone).
pressure with both legs, right leg at the girth and left leg behind the girth.
- Use forward pressure with both seat bones, rolling forward from the left
to the right.
AIDS: (Dos and Don'ts)
Follow the canter movement with a vertical upper body and inside (right) hip forward.
- Don't lean your upper body forward or you'll lose contact between your left
seat bone and the saddle.
- Don't pump your upper body as this tends to hollow
the horse's back.
- Don't let your left shoulder fall behind and don't let
outside leg come off the horse.
- Continue with half halts to keep canter