The three most recent Questions

  Flying change of lead: my horse inserts a stride of trot

My horse changes lead easily from the right to the left, but systematically ads a stride of trot in the changes from the left to the right.
I tried several methods (Nuno Oliviera, Philippe Karl, Raabe, Decarpentry…), including yours. At the first try, he gives me a correct change and then falls back in his old habit by anticipating my demand and inserts a stride of trot before changing lead.
What do you think?

Is your horse related to Trotters? When teaching your first changes of lead, did you ask directly for a flying lead change or did you change through trot?

Nevertheless, it is an interesting problem, and difficult to resolve.
I think the strides preceding the lead change must be particularly attended to: collect more, confirm the left canter aids while staying light, have well timed, fast, clear and precise aids to change to the right.

1. Try to modify your way of proceeding, to feel the very moment you must act by anticipating or delaying the aids, by acting faster or more smoothly, by having a clearer action of the upper body and by opening or closing your fingers more.
2. Try to determine if one spot is better than another (straight line, diagonal, before or after the corner…). Figure out if it is easier to change from the wrong lead to the right lead or the opposite. See if it is better to lead to a change in the same, increased or decreased cadence. Finally, find out which are the most favorable amplitude and vibration…
3. Look for the posture or balance (more or less on the bit, more or less collected, more or less seated, neck more or less high, horse more or less free…) that are most favorable to your horse, in which he succeeds best.

This should put you on the right tracks. Watch… observe… All these factors have great influence on your horse's psyche. It is by modifying the elements that you will obtain a result.

Very little is often enough…!

  My horse confuses the outside leg aid for half-pass with the aid for canter


The outside leg aid to ask for half-pass is indeed very close to the aid for the canter depart. If the leg only is used, the horse can be confused.
You must therefore carefully prepare your aids and put your horse in the correct balance.

A canter depart is not asked only with the outside leg. You must also move your outside shoulder back, put a little more weight in your left buttock, lighten the inside shoulder of the horse and move your outside leg back a little or very little. If the horse moves his haunches in, rather use your inside leg to ask for canter depart. The shoulders and the eyes are directed forward, in the axis of the horse.

Unlike the canter, in a half-pass you must look in the direction in which you are going, putting your shoulders parallel to the horse's shoulders. Delicately send your hip and your body toward your inside elbow. To ask for half-pass, move your leg further back than for the canter depart.

At the beginning, you can also use the voice aid. Say, "canter", like on the lunge, for the canter depart. You might very delicately use a crop on the inside shoulder for the canter depart (just the weight of the crop) and on the outside hip for the half-pass.
Also, when first teaching the horse, do not ask for canter depart and half-pass at the same spot in the arena.

Rather ask for half-pass when leaving the rail on the short side of the arena or on a diagonal.
Ask for canter on a circle or on the long side of the arena.


Everything is a matter of tact, especially if your horse is sharp.
If you pay special attention to your preparation, your actions and your balance, your horse will know how to make the difference quickly. Improvement should come fast.

    When I ask for extensions at the trot, my mare forges. To what is this due? How can I fix it?

When a horse extends his trot distinctively, the hind legs hit the ground well in front of the prints of the front legs.
The toe of the right hind leg can hit the heel or the ends of the shoe of the right front leg. The horse "forges". He can hurt his heels, or even sometimes pull off a front shoe.
Some horses have a tendency to forge, especially the newly shoed youngsters who lack balance and engagement, and the horses who are not in balance…

Therefore, be very careful to keep your mare in balance on her haunches when extending the trot, with her hind legs well engaged.
The extension has to come from an increased impulsion and a strong engagement of the hindquarters… not of a weight transfer to the horse's shoulders and a quickening of the strides.
Keep the contact with your mare's mouth by taking it forward and down, but without letting her come out of the bit and/or put herself on the shoulders.

The problem should disappear.

If it continues, you can modify the shoeing of your mare.

First, have the toe of the hind legs squared off ("square toe").
You can also shorten the end of the front shoes slightly.
Talk to your farrier, but act carefully and progressively.

For extreme cases like race Trotters who amplify their strides a lot, they use modified shoes (the outside branch of the shoe is longer) to try to spread their hind legs.

But we are outside the subject of classical riding…

Posture-position / Walk / Trot / Canter / Shoulder-in / half-pass / Flying change of lead / Pirouette /

A word


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