I’ve talked some about our right lead issues. We had a right lead and then suddenly it was gone.
Saddle fit played a role, I’m sure, but honestly? I don’t really have a clue what caused Nay Nay’s right lead to pretty much disappear. But it did.
We’ve been working on it. And it’s been frustrating.
What’s worse is that when we get it? The right lead is actually BETTER than the left lead. I mean, there is NOTHING to do once you pick up the right lead. You just sit there whereas the left lead? the canter is less consistent in terms of pace and gate and all that. But the right lead? The canter is PERFECT.
During Wednesday’s lesson, we worked with the spurs on moving his hind end over. First standing still, then walking, then trotting, then eventually when asking for the canter. We weren’t able to pick up the right lead, but he did get the concept of moving off the spur.
Thursday we took another lesson and continued the above. When it became clear that we weren’t getting the lead, my trainer got on (yay!). First, I need to be way more assertive with my leg/spur… But, it was actually nice to see someone have similar issues. After a little bit of wrong answers (which were ignored), Nay Nay answered with the right lead and OMG so much praise. Then he was asked again, and again, and again. The thing is, he is OMG THIS CLOSE and then, hesitates, and left lead. All in all, he picked it up 4 times, each time getting so much praise.
Afterward, he was VERY proud of himself. My trainer basically said, the canter is LOVELY and there is nothing physically preventing it. He just needs this to be repeated over and over and over until he realizes that, yes, we do canter on the right lead. She was shocked at how balanced the right lead is. It is THAT lovely (loop your reins and occasionally cluck/squeeze but that’s it. He does it all).
On Saturday, I picked it up 3 or 4 times. I had to work for it, but praised the hell out of it when I got it. Then he landed from a few fences on the right lead so we held the canter and again, praised the shit out it. He’s crazy happy about jumping so I’m trying to pop him over a few fences every ride just to balance out the canter crap.
Sunday? 4 right lead canters and then he landed from his roll top on the right lead several times again. The canter was so lovely that we held it all the way around and cantered into the roll top — first time cantering that fence. And it was perfect. I can’t say enough about this kid’s enthusiasm for jumps. Even when I miss a distance, he says, “I got this!” and takes care of it.
So yeah, that’s where we’re at. If nothing else, the fact that he’s trying to land right is progress. We’ll see what progress we make in a few more weeks…