How can you tell whether you are on the correct lead at the canter without
someone on the ground to tell you?  Sometimes having the wrong lead can
just feel wrong, especially in turns, but other times, it felt wrong and it
was the correct lead,  or it felt fine and it was the wrong lead.  It
occurred to me in the show I did Sunday that when I picked up a canter, I
had no idea whether I had the correct lead, and my instructor couldn't tell
me, as we were being judged.  I have no problem deciphering leads at the
trot, by checking the outside shoulder, so how do you tell at the canter?

-- Lisa C.

May your e-mails never bounce, may your web connections be speedy,
may no GPFs or core dumps come your way, may all your pointers be valid,
your strings be null-terminated, your operating system stable,
and may you project the illusion of being productive..

Quote:

>         How can you tell whether you are on the correct lead at the canter
> without someone on the ground to tell you?

You have to get used to the difference in the way it feels between the
left
lead and the right lead canter. Many horses will canter with their
haunches
very slightly to the inside when on the correct lead (although ideally
they
should be travelling straight, especially if you are interested in
dressage).
It's kind of hard to describe the feeling you're looking for, but you
want
to feel that your horse pushes off on the outside hind leg in the first
beat
of the canter, then the diagonal pair of inside hind and outside four
touch
the ground in the middle beat, then the inside fore touches down in the
third beat. Then the cycle begins again as you feel the outside hind
push
off and the horse's forehand lift again.  You should get the feeling
that
the inside fore is reaching slightly more forward than the outside
fore.
To get used to this, you'll need to do some riding at the canter in a
non-show situation, think about what you feel happening under you, and
call
out whether you're on the left or right lead to a knowledgeable observer
who
can tell you whether you called it correctly or not.  Practice over a
number of sessions (don't overwork your horse) until you can reliably
say which lead you are on by the feel of it.

You also don't mention whether you've ever encountered a situation where
your horse has done a dis-united canter (also known as a cross-canter).
This is where the horse is cantering on one lead on the front legs and
on the opposite lead on the hind legs.  If your horse ever does this,
you'll need to recognize the feel (it definitely feels =wrong=) and be
able to ask for a lead change to get back to a true canter.  But you
need to work on recognizing which canter lead you're on by feel first
before you start thinking about lead changes.

Quote:
> Sometimes having the wrong lead can
> just feel wrong, especially in turns, but other times, it felt wrong and it
> was the correct lead,  or it felt fine and it was the wrong lead.  It
> occurred to me in the show I did Sunday that when I picked up a canter, I
> had no idea whether I had the correct lead, and my instructor couldn't tell
> me, as we were being judged.  I have no problem deciphering leads at the
> trot, by checking the outside shoulder, so how do you tell at the canter?

As above, you need to learn the different feels.  I have seen lots of
people
lean over and check visually at the canter to see if they are on the
correct
lead, but doing so not only unbalances the horse, it tells the judge in
an
equitation class that you can't tell your leads by feel.  It is also
possible
to tell which trot diagonal you are on by feel, rather than by glancing
down
at the outside shoulder, and it would be good if you can learn to do
this
also.  Again, it's a matter of thinking about what you're feeling under
you,
calling out left or right, and having an observer tell you if you are
correct.
BTW, I found it took me much longer to tell trot diagonals by feel than
it
did to recognize canter leads by feel.  Hope this helps.

Richard and Sun Valley

Quote:

>    How can you tell whether you are on the correct lead at the
canter without
>someone on the ground to tell you?  Sometimes having the wrong lead
can
>just feel wrong, especially in turns, but other times, it felt wrong
and it
>was the correct lead,  or it felt fine and it was the wrong lead.  It
>occurred to me in the show I did Sunday that when I picked up a
canter, I
>had no idea whether I had the correct lead, and my instructor couldn't
tell
>me, as we were being judged.  I have no problem deciphering leads at
the
>trot, by checking the outside shoulder, so how do you tell at the
canter?

>-- Lisa C.

>May your e-mails never bounce, may your web connections be speedy,
>may no GPFs or core dumps come your way, may all your pointers be
valid,
>your strings be null-terminated, your operating system stable,
>and may you project the illusion of being productive..

You can peek till you get the feel of it. The shoudler that reaches the
farthest is the leading leg.

Quote:

>    How can you tell whether you are on the correct lead at the canter without
> someone on the ground to tell you?  Sometimes having the wrong lead can
> just feel wrong, especially in turns, but other times, it felt wrong and it
> was the correct lead,  or it felt fine and it was the wrong lead.  It
> occurred to me in the show I did Sunday that when I picked up a canter, I
> had no idea whether I had the correct lead, and my instructor couldn't tell
> me, as we were being judged.  I have no problem deciphering leads at the
> trot, by checking the outside shoulder, so how do you tell at the canter?

> -- Lisa C.

> May your e-mails never bounce, may your web connections be speedy,
> may no GPFs or core dumps come your way, may all your pointers be valid,
> your strings be null-terminated, your operating system stable,
> and may you project the illusion of being productive..

I have the same problem and unfortunately, my horse doesn't
always "pick up" the correct lead, even though I ask him for
it.  He usually picks up the left lead correctly but often
picks up the left lead when I'm going to the right as well.  My
instructor says it's because he is more "comfortable" going to
the left, kind of like humans who are either left- or right-
handed.  (I don't know if that's true or not, that's just what
she told me).

Anyway, I've been taught four ways to tell if you're on the

1) by feel - if it *feels* unbalanced or bumpy, your horse is
probably on the wrong lead.
2) the position of the horse while cantering - if his/her ***
is swinging to the outside, he/she is probably on the
3) by the position of *your* legs - if your horse is on the left
lead, *your* left foot should swing slightly ahead of
your right foot.  The same goes for the right lead.
4) by the position of the horse's front legs while cantering - if
he/she is on the left lead, the left front leg should
strike out ahead of the right front leg.  If you look
down while you're cantering, you should be able to see
which leg is striking out first.

Hope this helps!!

Christine Henderson

Number one, there are no leads at the trot, only diagonals.  If in doubt
about what lead you are on, glance down at the horses shoulders.  The
inside shoulder should be moving farther forward than the outside
shoulder.  Do not hang off the side of the horse looking down at the
horses legs!  Just look at the shoulders, and just to check.  It sounds
like you are a beginner, don't worry, you'll learn to feel it all the time
eventually.  It sounds like your instuctor hasn't taught you to look for
it, because she wants you to learn to feel it, which is a good thing.  But
you should learn to see it too, so that you can check if in doubt.

Thanks to everybody for the quick and helpful responses.  I asked my
instructor to help me with this last night in my lesson.  She told me, as
did several wise people here on rec.equestrian, that the leading front leg
reaches out slightly farther than the other one.  Once I watched the other
horses canter, I could see that, and if I stared down at my horse while we
cantered, I could see it on her too.  Looks like I have a goal to work
toward to feel the difference, or be able to tell by a glance at the
shoulder.  One thing she said that I had never heard before: right diagonal
= left lead, and vice versa.
She also said that the horse switched from the wrong lead to the correct
lead as we were going around.  I never felt it.  So much to learn...

--
Lisa C.

May your e-mails never bounce, may your web connections be speedy,
may no GPFs or core dumps come your way, may all your pointers be valid,
your strings be null-terminated, your operating system stable,
and may you project the illusion of being productive..

Quote:

>    How can you tell whether you are on the correct lead at the canter without
> someone on the ground to tell you?  Sometimes having the wrong lead can
> just feel wrong, especially in turns, but other times, it felt wrong and it
> was the correct lead,  or it felt fine and it was the wrong lead.  It
> occurred to me in the show I did Sunday that when I picked up a canter, I
> had no idea whether I had the correct lead, and my instructor couldn't tell
> me, as we were being judged.  I have no problem deciphering leads at the
> trot, by checking the outside shoulder, so how do you tell at the canter?

I always check the outside shoulder to judge the lead.  You
just have to be careful not to lean over and end up being very obvious
about it, or fall off!  Sometimes the canter feels rough because
you're on the wrong lead, but some horses are naturally rougher on one
lead than the other.  As I give my horse the signal with my heel and
reins, I discreetly glance over his shoulder.  The big problem one of
my horses had was that he'd cross canter and I usually couldn't tell
unless someone on the ground told me.  Good Luck!

Anne

Quote:

>>        How can you tell whether you are on the correct lead at the canter without
>> someone on the ground to tell you?
>> I have no problem deciphering leads at the
>> trot, by checking the outside shoulder, so how do you tell at the canter?

Slight correction.  In the trot, it's the diagonal, not the lead.

<snipped various ways to tell>

Quote:
>4) by the position of the horse's front legs while cantering - if
>             he/she is on the left lead, the left front leg should
>             strike out ahead of the right front leg.  If you look
>             down while you're cantering, you should be able to see
>             which leg is striking out first.

IMHO, this is the easiest and most foolproof. Just take a
quick look at the inside front leg.  I think it's ideal to
be able to tell by feel, but depending on the horse, I
can't always (though I can always tell when a horse is
cross cantering), so a quick peek does it.

jan
--
********************************************************************

jan penovich  *Encore Computer Corp.*  not my employer's)

Quote:

> >       How can you tell whether you are on the correct lead at the canter
without
> > someone on the ground to tell you?  Sometimes having the wrong lead can
> > just feel wrong, especially in turns, but other times, it felt wrong
and it
> > was the correct lead,  or it felt fine and it was the wrong lead.  It
> > occurred to me in the show I did Sunday that when I picked up a canter,
I
> > had no idea whether I had the correct lead, and my instructor couldn't
tell
> > me, as we were being judged.  I have no problem deciphering leads at
the
> > trot, by checking the outside shoulder, so how do you tell at the
canter?

> > -- Lisa C.

> > May your e-mails never bounce, may your web connections be speedy,
> > may no GPFs or core dumps come your way, may all your pointers be
valid,
> > your strings be null-terminated, your operating system stable,
> > and may you project the illusion of being productive..

> I have the same problem and unfortunately, my horse doesn't
> always "pick up" the correct lead, even though I ask him for
> it.  He usually picks up the left lead correctly but often
> picks up the left lead when I'm going to the right as well.  My
> instructor says it's because he is more "comfortable" going to
> the left, kind of like humans who are either left- or right-
> handed.  (I don't know if that's true or not, that's just what
> she told me).

> Anyway, I've been taught four ways to tell if you're on the

> 1) by feel - if it *feels* unbalanced or bumpy, your horse is
>              probably on the wrong lead.
> 2) the position of the horse while cantering - if his/her ***
>              is swinging to the outside, he/she is probably on the
> 3) by the position of *your* legs - if your horse is on the left
>              lead, *your* left foot should swing slightly ahead of
>              your right foot.  The same goes for the right lead.
> 4) by the position of the horse's front legs while cantering - if
>              he/she is on the left lead, the left front leg should
>              strike out ahead of the right front leg.  If you look
>              down while you're cantering, you should be able to see
>              which leg is striking out first.

> Hope this helps!!

> Christine Henderson

Feeling leads is something that takes time.  My best advice is to practice
in your ring (or riding area) when you aren't being judged and really
concentrate on feeling the lead.  Since it is all about balance, the clues
Christine gave are all worth incorporating into your riding acumen.  You'll
also always know if you're on the wrong lead by weather or not your horse
bends around your inside leg.  If he's drifting out to the left, for
example, and his correct lead should be the right lead, there's a good
chance he's on the left lead.  This, of course, doesn't mean your horse
won't drift left if you're on the correct lead - but you'll definitely feel
his rear end keep wanting to go in the direction that he's leading on.

When I was first learning to ride and feel leads/diagonals, I would
practice every day and when I made the transition, I'd quickly look down,
assess what the lead was, and either go down to trot and cue again or look
up and move forward with canter.

Once you get accustomed to the blatant "look down at shoulders" you'll be
able to graduate into keeping your head forward and up and just glancing
down with your eyes.  Pretty soon you'll adapt a good feel.  It helped me
to get really comfortable by changing diagonals at the trot, so that I
always knew them and felt them.  Feeling cantering leads was then no big
deal.

And it's MHO that if you aren't working effectively at the trot, you
probably shouldn't be schooling at the canter.

--
Robby Johnson

"God I can't wait to buy another horse"

Quote:

>         Thanks to everybody for the quick and helpful responses.

(snipped)
One thing she said that I had never heard before: right diagonal

Quote:
> = left lead, and vice versa.

This is strange language and very confusing when the traditional use of
the word "diagonal" refers to the trot.  However, I assume the reasoning
for its use is the same in that, in both cases, it refers to a diagonal
pair of legs.  In the case of the three beat canter, a single hind leg
strikes off (beat one), followed by the other hind leg and its diagonal
front partner (beat two), and ending with the final front leg (beat
three [your lead]).  When stretched into a gallop, the three beat canter
becomes four beat because the diagonal pair no longer works in unison
(the hind leg now lands before the opposite front).

Quote:
>         She also said that the horse switched from the wrong lead to the correct
> lead as we were going around.  I never felt it.  So much to learn...

Hee hee, wait 'til you feel him canter "disunited".

Wendy; right lead fore, left lead aft, in MI

Quote:

> --
> Lisa C.

> May your e-mails never bounce, may your web connections be speedy,
> may no GPFs or core dumps come your way, may all your pointers be valid,
> your strings be null-terminated, your operating system stable,
> and may you project the illusion of being productive..

Quote:

>> How can you tell whether you are on the correct lead at the canter without
>> someone on the ground to tell you?...
>...I've been taught four ways to tell if you're on the correct lead:
>....
>4) by the position of the horse's front legs while cantering - if
>             he/she is on the left lead, the left front leg should
>             strike out ahead of the right front leg.  If you look
>             down while you're cantering, you should be able to see
>             which leg is striking out first.

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
Just to clarify, the leading foreleg strikes out *last*.
--
BETSY HALE - Performing artist:  Actress, Singer, Dancer
Horse trainer: Dressage & Jumping - adhering to classical principles
of lightness, harmony and elegance.

Quote:

>    Thanks to everybody for the quick and helpful responses.  I asked my
>instructor to help me with this last night in my lesson.  She told me, as
>did several wise people here on rec.equestrian, that the leading front leg
>reaches out slightly farther than the other one.  Once I watched the other
>horses canter, I could see that, and if I stared down at my horse while we
>cantered, I could see it on her too.  Looks like I have a goal to work
>toward to feel the difference, or be able to tell by a glance at the
>shoulder.  One thing she said that I had never heard before: right diagonal
>= left lead, and vice versa.

Lisa, what I did for my boyfriend to make it easier was put different
colored vet wrap on the front legs.   If he saw pink first he was on
the left lead, if it was white he was on the right lead.  He was then
able to learn to "feel" the difference.

Susan Dangar

Just to add a little... I have this problem with my horse, too - he is
more apt to take the right lead in either direction.  I got in the habit
of looking over at his front legs, sometimes before he even started
cantering, which threw him off even more and made him more likely to pick
up the wrong one.  So sit back, give the correct canter cue, and feel the
beat, checking the shoulder on the third beat of the canter with your eyes
only.  Don't lean over, if you can help it.  It is a bad habit I am trying
to break, so don't get started!

Also, when you come back down to the trot from the canter, don't worry
about being on the correct diagonal.  Your horse (if he was on the correct
lead) will automatically put you on the right one.  Try it and see.

Cathy

Quote:

> Just to add a little... I have this problem with my horse, too - he is
> more apt to take the right lead in either direction.  I got in the habit
> of looking over at his front legs, sometimes before he even started
> cantering, which threw him off even more and made him more likely to pick
> up the wrong one.  So sit back, give the correct canter cue, and feel the
> beat, checking the shoulder on the third beat of the canter with your eyes
> only.  Don't lean over, if you can help it.  It is a bad habit I am trying
> to break, so don't get started!

Way back before I owned my own horse, some of the lesson horses I rode
were pretty green.  To get the correct canter lead, my trainer had me
shift my weight slightly to the outside (this frees up the inside
shoulder), establish a slight bend to the inside, and then cue with
the inside leg.

Quote:
> Also, when you come back down to the trot from the canter, don't worry
> about being on the correct diagonal.  Your horse (if he was on the correct
> lead) will automatically put you on the right one.  Try it and see.

This works, but you do need to let your horse lift you into the posting
motion on the =first= trot stride after the canter in order to be on the
correct diagonal.  If you don't start your posting on that first stride,
then you'll have to feel what the horse is doing under you the way you
normally do when picking up the correct diagonal at trot.

Richard and Sun Valley

Canter leads will come easier when you have ridden longer.  It takes time
to really get the hang of knowing which lead you are on, so give it time.
I would suggest you have your instructor lunge YOU on a safe, quiet horse
and canter you with your eyes closed.  You can try this by even holding
the saddle in front with your inside hand and the cantle with your outside
hand.  Then as the horse canters your instructor can call out *NOW* as the
inside front leg reaches forward for the canter stride.

I did this with a few students and they seemed to _get_the lead very
quickly.  You as the rider then will start to call out the word now also
and _feel_ when  you are saying the word.  You then try it with you eyes
open and see if you are correct.  Feeling the swing of the forward leg
will save you so much, in relying on your eyes all the time to see canter
leads you cannot become instantaneous in your corrections later.

Hope you get some help and realize it takes some willingness to feel
rather than see.

Jody