Thursday, October 29, 2009

Lead Changes - Part 2 - The Parts

Happy Halloween (or Samhain) everyone!

SO..... I want to talk more about Lead Changes and the secret to lead changes...

which is... TO DO YOUR HOMEWORK (Please see previous article for info here.)

I tell my students that IF you teach your horse the preceeding steps (or foundation basic steps) to whatever skill that you want to teach your horse, then the last part of the skill is easy. It's merely the next step in the process.

The horse is prepared and ready to learn the last step which is what you are trying to teach them.
And then you can move onto the next stage of training or skill that you want to teach your horse. And so on and so on!

And the beauty of teaching the foundation basic steps is that they often apply to more than one skill.

I also use this same step-wise progression method (ie. training scale) to teach my students as well. You start with the basics and work your way up to more advanced skills while learning effective horsemanship along the way.

It's a great confidence booster and there's no fear or concern. And let's not forget the fun!

"But I'm already doing that ..." say those frustrated riders out there who are having trouble.

I hear ya!

We all think that don't we! And it's true. We have done what we believe or have been told to do to get our horse to do something (in this case... lead changes)...

But. It's. Not. Working...*ARGH*.. (Can you hear that frustrated voice in your head saying that). Who hasn't from time to time.

What to Do?
If you find yourself doing all your can.... doing all you know... and you are getting no where or are afraid to try anything else for fear of screwing things up.... then

it's time to go back to the basics.

Something was forgotten. Something was missed in the initial or preceeding steps.
Go back and do your homework. Find the part or step that was missing, do it and then you can jump back up to the step you were working on.
In this case, we're talking about lead changes..
Let's get back to it shall we...
The Foundation Steps or Parts To The Lead Change
So the key, I think to doing a flying lead change effortlessly is knowing how to do all the previous steps or parts or basic skills that lead up to the flying lead change as I just mentioned.

Here are the parts or steps:

Step 1. Your horse has to know how to do a solid lead departure before they can do a lead change. This is a must. (The horse has to know how to pick up the correct lead on cue and lope off calmly in the direction requested.)
---But before they can do a lead departure, they have to know how to do a lope departure.
---But before a horse can do a proper lope departure, they have to know how to lope calmly on cue.
---But before a horse can lope on cue, the horse must know how to move off your leg willingly.
---(And to add to all these things the horse has to know how to do collection, flexing, steering and voice commands. ie. A solid foundation).

Step 2. Your horse has to know how to do a natural lead change before a flying lead change. The horse then knows the cue to change leads on request from the rider ( and also using a change of direction).

Step 3. The horse can then be taught how to do a flying lead change (not using a change in direction) on cue.

And then there are exercises like counter cantering and same circle lead changes that help a horse to balance and not anticipate a lead change.

Hope that helps with the understanding of the advanced maneuver or skill of a flying lead change.

They're not scary if you and your horse know all the steps or parts leading up to the change. It just tasks the time to teach the horse the foundation skills that lead up to it.

Good luck!
Questions and comments are always welcome.
If you need help with lead changes or anyting else, please contact me.
©Copyright KISS Reiners

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