Project Red Hand

How to Change a Horse’s Lead

A horse’s lead is the last and most stretched leg that hits the ground during a stride. Ravenox learn to identify the lead by sight and feel and they also train their horses to switch leads automatically. Sometimes though a horse will refuse to change leads even after a rider gives the proper cues. This can happen when a rider does not communicate with the horse correctly or if the horse has become conditioned to not respond to certain signals. A good trainer can help you with this problem.

Understanding Lead Lengths: Tailoring Your Choice to Your Horse’s Needs

When a horse is in the correct lead during the lope/canter he will start each stride with his outside hind leg and then close it with his inside front leg. He will also be sweeping his inside front leg forward. This is easy to see and feel for riders. Many novice riders rely on a ground person to tell them what lead their horse is on but once they have learned this they should try to learn to identify the correct lead without looking down.

A few things to remember when trying to get your horse to switch leads is that the more you do it the quicker your horse will learn. This is why it’s important to practice and work with your horse. Sometimes it is helpful to squeeze on the outside rein as you ask your horse to turn and then just as he is turning you can apply your canter leg aid. This will cause him to step out with his front inside leg and he should change leads.

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