From Endurance to Dressage
Flying Lead Changes - First Lesson
Even though Speedy and I have been schooling the flying lead change, we hadn't had an actual trainer lesson on how to do them until last week. Chemaine Hurtado, owner and trainer at Symphony Dressage Stables, had talked me through the aids over the phone, but getting a lesson in real life is always better.
Chemaine teaches the horse (and rider) the flying lead change like this:
Sometimes we got it, most of the time we didn't. And over the weekend, when I worked on it by myself a few days after the lesson, things went south pretty fast. On Saturday afternoon, I texted Chemaine with an urgent cry for help; I am pretty sure I've broken Speedy's right lead canter.
When Chemaine rode Speedy a few weeks ago, he wouldn't let go of the right rein. For this lesson, he wouldn't let go of the left. To encourage him to want to change, she finally had me do several things. The first was to keep the new bend while pushing his haunches to the rail on a counter canter. When he finally let go of the left rein (the inside rein), I could then ask for the change.
The other thing she had me try was to pick up the counter canter on a circle and do the same thing: new inside bend while keeping the haunches pushing out. It was hard, really hard. It's not magically getting easier either. Exhibit A - Like I said, I think I broke his right lead canter.
I have the feeling that I am going to be writing a lot about the flying lead change and how much we suck at doing them. Bear with me.
9/17/2018 02:58:21 pm
You are both doing great, but I think I would stop as soon as I got a flying change of any kind. Then wait until the next ride to ask again and then stop after the best effort. Just my 2 cents,
9/17/2018 04:33:36 pm
That’s certainly one strategy. Whenever I am teaching my boys something new, I reward a big try with either a walk break or a move to something else, especially if I know they understand the request. Speedy’s not quite there yet. At the most, we’ve worked about ten minutes a day on the flying changes. During the lesson, we worked a bit longer until Speedy and I both understood the mechanics of the aid. Today, we revisited the changes and after getting a fairly correct change both directions, I hopped off. The whole ride, including a walk warm up and some trot work, took 20 minutes. I hand walked him to cool him off.
9/18/2018 06:43:00 pm
Comments are closed.
About the Writer and Rider
I am a lifelong rider.
I began endurance riding in 1996 where I ultimately completed five, one-day 100 mile races, the 200-mile Death Valley Encounter, and numerous other 50, 65, and 75 mile races. I began showing dressage in 2010.
Welcome to my dressage journey.
About Speedy G
Speedy went from endurance horse to dressage horse. After helping me earn a USDF Bronze medal in the summer of 2020, he is now semi-retired. Speedy is a 2004, 15'1 hand, purebred Arabian gelding. His Arabian Horse Registry name is G Ima Starr FA.
Izzy was started as a four-year old and then spent the next 18 months in pasture growing up. I bought him as a six-year old, and together, we are showing at the lower levels. He is a 2008, 16'3 hand warmblood gelding. His Rheinland Pfalz-saar International (RPSI) name is Imperioso.
National Rider Awards
State Rider Awards
State Horse Awards
CDS Sapphire Rider Award
Third Level: 63.514%
Third Level: 62.105%
2023 Show Season
(r) Ride-a-Test Clinic
2023 Show Schedule
2023 Completed …
2023 Qualifying Scores
Regional Adult Amateur Competition (RAAC)
Qualifying Training Level
3 Scores/2 Judges/60%: