How to canter on the correct lead the first time

Something many riders struggle with from time to time is getting the correct lead. Some horses can get a perfect lead on the right side, but on their left side their lead is terrible. Just like diagonals, leads can be difficult and frustrating to master. But let me let you in on a little secret : its all about how you set your horse up.

What does the correct lead look like?

You may be wondering what a correct lead looks like. When we do a posting trot, we rise on the outside leg or the leg closest to the rail. For the canter, a correct lead would be when the horse's inside legs goes farther than the outside leg. The horse's inside leg will stretch out first when cantering. If the outside leg stretches out first then that is the incorrect lead.

One small step to ensure success

First make sure your horse is on the rail and your heels are down. Take your outside rein and pull it back slightly, so your horse's head tilts toward the rail. Then ask for the canter. By tilting the horse's head to the rail they automatically canter on the correct lead.

While this method usually works for me, there is a small chance it might not work for you which is why you always need to check your lead when cantering. You don't want to be cantering in a course and hear your instructor yell "Change your lead!" while you are showing because you didn't check. Try this simple exercise and comment if it works for you! xx 𝑻𝒉𝒆 𝑫𝒆𝒔𝒆𝒓𝒕 𝑹𝒊𝒅𝒆𝒓

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