Thursday, September 11, 2014

Picking Up Wrong Leads

 Wednesday I went back to the kimberwick for Chester since I'm still not quite able to ride him well in the snaffle. I warmed him up bu riding across diagonals and around the dressage arena, as I normally do, then began riding him a trot serpentine, no canter this time. He was nice for the serpentines, so I soon began a circle at A to begin cantering, heading right first.

 To get make sure Chester was responsive and that I was able to recreate the calm, controlled canter I had several times before, I only rode half of the circle, from K to F, canter. Getting a calm canter is much easier to the right because Chester is more comfortable cantering that direction, so it only took a few circles to get the desired canter. Once I did, I rode a few full circles, then headed across the diagonal of the arena so I could try the exercise the other way. When doing this, I pulled the left rein a bit to straighten Chester, so he tried to give a lead change. He's not really trained how to do it properly; he just tried to pick up the lead of the way I turned him.

 I returned to the trot, the rode around the dressage arena to make another circle at A, this time heading left. I had more difficulty heading this way. Chester picked up the wrong lead, time after time. He is not intentionally being naughty when he does this, he is simply uncomfortable cantering that direction and from time to time doesn't pick up the correct lead.

 Instead of getting mad at him, which may make him irritated and frustrated, I returned to the trot every time he picked up the wrong lead and started over, as Meghan instructed. I also loosened my reins a bit so their wasn't too much tension on the right rein. There was one time when Chester tried to head right and made a funky canter leg yield with his hind end towards the poles that marked the dressage arena.

After a little bit I tried asking Chester for the canter right after K, while I was in the middle of turning to F so he had some bend to him. this ended up working and he picked up the correct lead. I patted him and rewarded him with a short break.

 Next, I went through the Training Level dressage. The downward canter transitions need a bit of work, and I still need more flexion on the loops, but the test went without incidents, other than Chester just once picking up the wrong lead as I neared the canter circle to the left. I know the pattern now, I just need to focus on fine-tuning in and riding it well.


  1. getting the correct lead on a very one-sided horse is tough. Meghan's instruction to go back to trot and reorganize is a good one - just takes practice and patience!

  2. Yeah, using a corner for bending helps the horse get the correct lead. Good move!

    1. Thanks. I'm glad I have to goo trainer to help me with things like that


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