Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Thursday: Flying lead changes (sort of)

On Thursday, I had my lesson.  Last week's lesson, we worked on lead changes: My trainer had me canter, go down the diagonal, transition to a trot for a couple of steps, and then pick up the canter again.  Like I mentioned in my last post, Panama doesn't really have any hang-ups about his leads, so he always picked up the correct one, even though I wasn't cuing for it.

But after Wednesday night's ride, I was interested in trying flying lead changes.  I figured that as good as he is with his leads, it'll be simple for him to pick them up — and he is pretty good about them.  I think it's my lack of proper timing that is preventing him from figuring it out completely.

So my trainer talked me through the flying lead changes.  Panama consistently changed his lead in the front pretty quickly, but usually didn't change the back until we went around a half-arena circle.  I'm having to remember about 50 million things as I'm asking for the change — inside rein up a bit, inside shoulder back (so I don't lean), leg-yield off inside leg, outside leg slightly back (to cue the correct lead), and as always, heels down... and I'm probably forgetting something there.  But in any case, I have a feeling that once I figure out my timing, Panama's will improve, too.

The fun thing about lead changes is that Panama loves it just as much as I do.  He gets to canter a lot (which he loves), but he still needs to use his brain, so it keeps him from getting excited and going too fast.  All the practice is good for me, too!  I was already getting much better at the canter, especially in my two-point, which is why my trainer decided we were ready to start doing lead changes in the first place; but all of this practice is making me feel even more secure.

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