I've been emailed recently from a visitor to this site (from Kansas) looking for information on how to train their horse to do a flying lead change.
I also have a perspective client locally here who wants help with flying lead changes as well so it's the perfect time to write about it. She can't get it done whenever she tries and the horse doesn't do them.
Fear About Lead Changes
We can have a fear about doing them. We're afraid that we might scare the horse, get them pissy and not be able to ever do them right. (Ooh... scary.... hay! good subject for Halloween. Scary stuff! :)
I know I did when I first started out. I was told by my coach at the time that I would never do them right. (Great help eh?) I became really self conscious that I was a failure with regards to lead changes.
I read in articles how flying lead changes are feared by lots of people.( No wonder with coaches who demoralize their students like that!)
It helped a little but still....
How was I EVER going to get them right. I was really frustrated. And of course, that only made things worse.
I remember that feeling... Not comfortable is it?
And if your horse doesn't do flying lead changes in competition... well... forget it. So, once again, needless to say, I wanted to learn how to teach my horse, any horse to master the flying lead change.
And I did! Bob Avila and Jack Brainard helped. And now I can help you. (Being nervous while competing and not getting the lead change is another story.)
Flying Lead Change - A Good Thing to Have
Doesn't matter if you not into reining, western riding or any other class at a competition that requires a flying lead change. It's a good thing to have on your horse.
It's part of the basic foundation that I put on a horse. You never know when you need it. And your horse has that much more training and knowledge.
The Secret to Flying Lead Changes
So what's the secret to eliminating your fear or whatever issues you have with doing flying lead changes and doing them with ease like the masters?
THE SECRET: DOING YOUR HOMEWORK
Remember in your school days when you were told to do your home work..... well... it's no different.
I believe the problem with most people who don't get their lead changes is because the rider or the horse are not ready for them. Their homework wasn't done. Most likely, riders don't even know there was homework to be done before the flying lead change.
The point to doing foundation training is to do all the basic or foundation steps that lead up to advanced maneuvers or training such as flying lead changes.
That way, it becomes just another step. You and your horse are ready and to learn the flying lead change is not that hard. (It's almost anti-climatic.)
I have 11 exercises leading up to doing a natural lead change which precedes the 1st exercise to doing a flying lead change. I also have 3 flying lead change exercises that teach a horse how to be balanced and flow effortlessly when they change leads on cue.
So you can see a horse and rider that doesn't change leads usually needs to go back to some basic or foundation work and review or revisit something the rider and/or the horse is missing.
More on flying lead changes in the next article.
p.s. This is my 100th article!
Questions and comments are always welcome.
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