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How To Land On the Correct Lead

Panel Expert: Bernie Traurig

Submitted by member: Sabrina

Dear Bernie,

I met you at a clinic of yours and meant to ask you about landing the correct lead, as I’ve been working on that with my horse. You had talked about the opening rein for landing the leads but I wanted to ask specifically about the legs:

  1. Do you let your outside leg give a little more pressure behind the girth, over the fence, as you might do when asking for the canter?
  2. Is there more weight in the outside stirrup then the inside one?

I am mostly successful when asking for the correct lead over fences but I would love to be 100% successful. 🙂

Thank you for you time!

Answer by Bernie

Well, this is a big topic. There are several videos on our site that I think you will find helpful. I have listed them at the end of this post.

There are times when you can produce a lead by increasing weight in the opposite stirrup. For example, when going to the right hand and jumping the second fence of a line, if one places more weight in the left stirrup in the air and on landing, thereby encouraging the horse to put his left foot down first, it may produce the right lead. While some find it helpful to use the outside leg in the air by giving a little more pressure, personally it’s not my favorite.

The opening rein is very useful but has a side effect of altering the track upon landing, so you need to be intelligent where you use it. The more trained the horse is to responding to it, the less it will affect the track as it can be such a slight, light rein effect. In the case of a rider with expert hands and feeling, a slight ring finger/direct feel off the ground immediately followed by a following arm (hand) works on a horse that is finely trained in responding to landing his leads and has less track alteration. One sees this often in advanced equitation classes.  BUT be extremely careful of this as it can really stiffen a horses bascule if used improperly.  It’s a very advanced technique!

When asking for a turn in the air, however, an opening rein is the best, and of course your weight is more in the inside stirrup by slightly placing your torso toward the turn in the air. The horse moves under your weight. I hope this helps you accomplish your goal of being 100% successful!

Here are the videos I recommend:

New to the video website? Use coupon code ECBLOG when you checkout to get 50% off any of these videos on a pay-per-view basis.

Missy Clark’s topic “Landing the Lead for Seamless Bending Lines.”

Landing the Lead for Seamless Bending Lines
Missy Clark
With demonstrations by Grand Prix rider, Darragh Kenny, and Medal & Maclay winner, Hayley Barnhill, Missy shows us the exercise that she uses to encourage both her equitation horses and jumpers to land on the correct lead in bending lines. For equitation, this adds to the fluidity of a round and for jumpers it offers greater efficiency.
Running Time:  6 minutes and 38 seconds

View Video
John French’s topic “Landing On The Proper Lead.”

Landing On The Proper Lead
John French
John French discusses and demonstrates exercises that perfect landing on the correct lead for that extra edge in a hunter class.
Running Time: 18 minutes and 23 seconds

View Video
jumping a bending line on a horse

Bending Lines
Team Karazissis
In this session Team Karazissis describe & demonstrate your many options when it comes to correctly navigating bending lines. Including how to land on the lead after the first fence for a smooth bend.
Running Time: 17 minutes and 23 seconds

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James Hagman’s topic “Oval Exercise”

Jim’s topic also covers how to encourage a horse to land on the lead.

Oval Exercise
James Hagman
Join Jim Hagman and his rider Katie Gardner aboard the beautiful young hunter, Crush, as they demonstrate one of Jim’s favorite exercises. This oval exercise has multiple benefits, helping the rider to sharpen lateral and diagonal aids, fine tune stride adjustment while brightening the horse’s jump and landing the lead.
Running Time: 9 minutes and 56 seconds

View Video
Stacia Madden’s topic “The Pinwheel Exercise”

Stacia’s topic also covers how to encourage a horse to land on the lead.

The Pinwheel Exercise
Stacia Madden
Equitation championships call for precision. One necessary ability the rider must posses is the ability to “lock-in” bending lines. Stacia Madden’s brilliant, yet simple, Pinwheel Exercise is designed to hone these crucial skills for both horse and rider.
Running Time: 13 minutes and 35 seconds

View Video

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Bernie Traurig

As a Horseman, Bernie is renowned for not only his riding talents but for his teaching and coaching gifts. As a competitor, Bernie has represented the United States Equestrian Team both at home and abroad on many occasions and reached the top of the sport in all 3 of the International Equestrian Olympic disciplines: Show Jumping, Dressage, and Eventing.After amassing 60 years worth of training and riding techniques and experiences with thousands of horses, Bernie is driven to give back to the sport that has given him so much fulfillment and success.

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