angle-left Horse Training for a Straight Lead Change

Horse Training for a Straight Lead Change

Changing leads on your horse is not about changing direction.

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From The American Quarter Horse Journal

A proper lead change has nothing to do with direction. To be able to change leads properly in the front and hind legs simultaneously, a horse has to have his body and spine straight. AQHA Professional Horseman Al Dunning offers this simple method for learning how to properly change leads. It’s kind of like creating training wheels for the rider.

Practice this lead-changing technique with your horse:

  1. First, place a pole in the center of the arena with both ends pointing to the middle markers. What this pole will do is keep you honest because you have something to focus on that is in a straight line.
  2. Start on the right lead. In a lope, move into a big rightcircle. As you come to the middle, lope straight in the right lead and go to the left side of the pole. At the pole, change to the left lead and continue to lope straight for a few strides before moving your horse to the left circle.
  3. In the left lead, do the same thing but in the middle, go to the right side of the pole, change to the right lead and continue to lope straight before moving into the right circle. Continue, repeating Step 2.

You can do this lead-changing technique no matter where you are: at home or in the warm-up arena. This exercise will help you focus on the middle of the arena, and it will become a habit for both you and your horse.