The Art of Natural Dressage

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 Post subject: 4: Flying Lead Changes
PostPosted: Wed Oct 10, 2007 10:40 pm 
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Location: Grantville, PA
I taught all my jumpers to do them by doing simple changes and than gradually not letting them break to trot, but since they always knew where to change (after jump coming into corner) it was pretty easy. I would like to collect some ideas and info on changes.

1. Perfect the canter depart and simple changes- get the lead off the hip alone.
2. Horses tend to take the lead towards the top of a hill when cantering on the side of a hill- you can use this to assist the change.
3. Canter half pass and or leg yield helps to control the haunches in the canter.
4. Change leads over a small jump. Jumoing in general is usefull for FLCs because it is one big prolonged moment of suspension.
5. Be able to switch from haunches in left to huanches in right, etc at walk and trot.


Despite all these ideas, my horse is just barely starting to get the idea of changing behind. Any other additions to the list would be nice :D

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 Post subject: 4: Canter Lead Changes
PostPosted: Thu Jul 31, 2008 10:07 am 
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I'd like to work on flying lead changes with Titum. Has anyone of you tried developing them from the ground? If yes, how did you do it?


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 31, 2008 3:59 pm 
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Interesting! :D Well I would say start by mimicking the shifting of the weight??? But I have no experience with this, very very interesting!! Please keep us updated :D

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 31, 2008 4:12 pm 
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I was trying it with Tamarack, by having him weave (at a canter) from my right side to my left side while I am travelling backward in front of him...but Tam tends to fall on the forehand while doing this, and drops his inside shoulder...so he has to do, in essence, a simple lead change by dropping the gait and picking it back up again.

But I see so few horses that offer lead changes naturally AND easily. Does Titum or Summy do it while running free? Tam did a flying change with me on him the other day...it was so odd feeling (never sat a flying change before) that I thought he was giving a little buck. If my friend hadn't seen it (and cheered!) I wouldn't even have noticed he'd done a flying change, because I immediately stopped him :oops:

But I will be very interested to hear what you come up with for Titum or Summy.

For me, I need to teach Tam to stay very upright while he's weaving, so it will be some time yet before we have that at liberty.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 31, 2008 4:25 pm 
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Thank you, Karen and Bianca!! :D

Karen wrote:
But I see so few horses that offer lead changes naturally AND easily. Does Titum or Summy do it while running free?


Actually that´s how I got the idea: I thought about my friends who will be visiting me next week and how I was riding out with (the other ;)) Romy. She was a bit flabbergasted, because she noticed that Summy was jumping into the correct canter, depending on how she shifted her weight. We had never practised that and I hadn´t even noticed it before.

Then she asked me to do the same with Titum, I just tried it and he was cantering correctly as well, depending on a weight cue or the way I turned my hip.

So I thought that if they offered this so freely while I was riding, maybe I can practise it from the ground as well...

Quote:
For me, I need to teach Tam to stay very upright while he's weaving, so it will be some time yet before we have that at liberty.


That´s the contrary in Titum´s case: he is very upright naturally. Instead of working on that, we have to be careful to actually move forward during the canter and not to stay in one place all the time. :)


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 31, 2008 4:39 pm 
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Quote:
That´s the contrary in Titum´s case: he is very upright naturally. Instead of working on that, we have to be careful to actually move forward during the canter and not to stay in one place all the time.


OH COOL! Then perhaps he can do it while weaving?

I first taught Tam to change sides at a walk, while I walked backward. Then the trot. The canter is harder because he is more forward still, and he catches up to me too easily...so he has to learn yet to canter more in one place. If hea can learn to stall his canter, perhaps that will be the key for him.

Wow...if you get it, please make sure it is on video!


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 31, 2008 4:44 pm 
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What do you mean by weaving? Changing sides?


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 31, 2008 4:49 pm 
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Yes...changing sides. I walk backward in front of Tam and he follows straight. If I open my left arm and look left, he will move to my left. Then I drop that arm, lift my right arm straight out to the right, and look right, then he moves to the right.

I think initially, I also turned my body left then right as well, because Tam would want to stay in front of me. Darn..as a movment progresses, sometimes I forget how I started it!

But I think that by turning my body, this would also cause him to change his bend as he tends to want to curl around me.

Be is following me as I am walking backward.

Does that make sense? If not, I'll get it on video.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 31, 2008 4:52 pm 
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Thanks, that makes perfect sense. :) We have been doing that in walk for years, but I have never thought of doing it in other gaits as well, I have no idea why... :roll: :wink: We will try that for sure!


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 01, 2008 1:37 am 
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Hi Romy,

Lucy isn't anywhere near doing lead changes but she did do an unexpected lead change in front when I was playing with the Tiger last winter, check out at around 1:00 min on this clip:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pIoJpmhPsq0

Unfortunately I was never able to reproduce it with her...yet! But the Tiger may help to cue it wiht Titum cuz he loves his Tiger so??

Karen's idea sounds good by standing in front! Maybe you could start by doing a sort of cutting move with the front feet, back and forth but sort of stationary at first and then back up and add forward movement????

Just some thoughts, as I have never taught it...

And Karen...of course I would LOVE to see that on video!!!!

Brenda

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 01, 2008 7:37 am 
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Hi Romy,

I don't know if this is any help. But from my dressage experience, we used to use a trotting pole to teach horses flying changes. So if you're cantering on one rein, you make use of the trotting pole to change the rein. when you go over the trotting pole you give you're aid. Because the moment of suspension is longer while going over the trotting pole, horses will change more easily.

I thought if you're able to lunge him at liberty and then make him change the rein, while going over the trotting pole.
Maybe a silly idea :oops: , but I thought I'd post it in case it is any helps.

Regards Gea

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Aug 02, 2008 10:58 pm 
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Great ideas! I especially like Karens idea with the arms - it would be wonderful to try that with the ponies too. And I think it might just as well work with the canter changes.
It's funny, because I have been thinking about them the past two months too, especially after I saw a video of a woman and her dog doing a 'dressage test' with the dog not only doing a spanish walk, but also lead changes. The link was posted in a topic on our forum but I forgot where. We might just as well ask her how she taught her dog, it might prove to be very insightful! :D


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Aug 02, 2008 11:12 pm 
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Thank you so much, Gea and Brenda. :D

And Gea: please don´t worry about your tip not being helpful. I am just at the very beginning of this, so every idea is so helpful to me. And the more ideas I get, the better the choice. In Titum´s Passage attempts of the last days, he has done some very good steps after trotting over ground poles, so I can imagine that they are helpful for lead changes as well. :)

Miriam wrote:
...especially after I saw a video of a woman and her dog doing a 'dressage test' with the dog not only doing a spanish walk, but also lead changes. The link was posted in a topic on our forum but I forgot where. We might just as well ask her how she taught her dog, it might prove to be very insightful! :D


It´s here: Canine freestyle. And the best thing is: she is a member of our forum, although she hasn´t posted anything yet (Tina Humphrey alias bluecroft). I loved her video and it would be so great if she could share some ideas with us.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Aug 04, 2008 6:42 pm 
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What a good topic, Romy -- very interesting.

I haven't done lead changes yet with Caspian, although I'm excited to -- flying changes come very naturally to him. He actually does them for fun in the pasture, literally racing around changing just because he can. Once I think I even saw him do a one-tempi!

The way Parelli suggests teaching changes at liberty is to have them circle around you at the canter, then draw them in and a little straight by running backwards, then send them back out and to the other direction. He emphasizes that the important thing is the fluid change of direction -- not to worry too much if the horse drops to the trot, but to emphasize the release afterwards of freely moving forward in the opposite direction. Once the horse clearly understands the change, you're to ask the horse to maintain the canter. He does that by pressure; I'm sure by using clicker a similar thing could be done.

My other thought was if the horse was comfortable cantering a little ways ahead, perhaps you could have the horse follow the rail ahead of you at a canter, then do a half-hummingtop and draw them back towards you in a long U-shape. (For a change, that would only work if you could send the horse off on a counter-canter.) If you were far enough out from rail, I wonder if you could even get another loop (as the horse is coming back, ask him to turn in front and switch directions again) and make it a serpentine.

That's actually how Walter Zettl taught Linda Parelli to do flying changes on Remmer -- do a serpentine, canter each turn, walk/trot each straight line, and eventually the horse finds it easier to just switch.

Let us know how it goes -- I'm very curious.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Aug 05, 2008 10:45 am 
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Great additions, Makana!

I think I'll turn this topic into a sticky, there's so much useful information in it already that it deserves a place of honor. 8)

By the way; yesterday I accidentally got a simple change of canterlead, with two steps of collected walk in the middle! :D

Blacky and I were just running next to each other on a large circle with Blacky doing a canter, when I decided to go in the other direction. Because I came a bit in front of Blacky in order to ask him not to circle around me now, but steer away from me, he slowed down with a canter-walk transition, and then started off in the new canter lead! Of course I was overjoyed, clicked far too late, tried to repeat a couple of times and failed miserably, 8) but I think this could be an opening into canter leadchanges for us.

It's essentially what Karen does, only I run next to Blacky instead of in front of him. Blacky is really good a being redirected from his side. We discovered yesterday that he can do tiny serpentines with me walking next to his shoulder in a straight line, and cueing him to turn his shoulders a bit toward me or away from me as walking a shallow serpentine by just turning my shoulders towards him (then he movest out) and away from him (then he moves in).

It will be tons of fun to see what we can do with all this! I don't expect us to do the flying lead changes real soon though. 8) If only because Blacky can only do walk-canter transitions on the right lead. On the left lead he needs to be in a trot in order to take off on the left lead, because from walk he tends to go to the right lead. So we actually already managed to do the counter-canter, 8) :wink: , but it would be great if we could do a real good canter too. :wink: And that's the basis of every leadchange!


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