Lead Changes, Or Not


Awareness of the outside world. Ancient Alabama, part six, “Alabama has the most complete geologic column in the United States.” Jun Ebersole, collections director for the McWane Center, AL.Com: Hunting the largest shark ever in ancient Alabama, Pillion, 19 Nov 2021.

New horse at Hunter Barn last week. As my third ride, horse shall be know as Trey.

Trey and I cantered a course! While it was only four crossrails, each was on its own line. So it was a full course of inside, outside, inside, outside. Yay us! Mostly, yay Trey, but I was along for the ride.

A course means changing direction. A course at a canter means changing leads.

Hunter Barn horses are taught to maintain their pace after jumping a line. One must continue to canter around the turn. Only then is one allowed to walk. This is to prevent the habit of dissolving into a heap at the end of a line.

If you land on the correct lead, all well and good, you may continue.

If you land on the wrong lead for the upcoming turn, you must address the problem.

Being a well-educated soul, Trey knew all about lead changes.

After I made a hash out of two lead changes in a row, it became clear that I did not know all about lead changes.

I realized it is possible that I have never asked for a lead change.

I starting showing at a very basic, local level of hunters, in which we were happy to get eight decent jumps. We didn’t need no fancy, schmancy lead changes.

Then the switch to eventing and jumpers. Being on the correct lead for a turn is useful but not scored. Memory says that First Horse was good about listening to a tap on the rein in order to land on the required lead.

Plus, eventing includes dressage. One absorbs the dressage attitude that tempi changes are difficult and complicate maneuvers that await one at a much higher level. [Different Versions of the Same Thing]

Previous Horse had the balance of a gyroscope. On a tight turn, he’d throw in a lead change if he needed one. On a wide sweeping hunter turn, he saw no reason to bother. So I left him to it.

Ride lead changes? Yes. Ask for one? No.

Once we switched to a simple change through the trot, all was good.

Huh. Lead changes. A gap in my riding education that I didn’t even know was there.

Previous lesson, with Rodney! [In Which We Almost Have a Jumping Lesson]

Stay safe. Stay sane.

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