March 30, 2008 at 5:13 pm 3 comments

One of the things I always find interesting with TBs is the canter.  Because in the US, they race counter-clockwise, there is a big assumption made that they are generally stronger on their left lead.  So much so, that if  you ask on any interwebz bulletin board, it’s one of the first things people say about Thoroughbreds: “oh, it’ll be really hard to teach the right lead!”

What most people forget (or don’t know in the first place), is that TBs generally race on both leads.  Right on the straightaways, then switch to left for the turns.  While my experience is somewhat limited, I did ride a fair number of track rejects just starting their reintroduction to work, and out of about a dozen of those, only one actually was better at the left lead.  Most of them wanted to pick up the right, unless you really gunned them into it in a very dramatic way (the kind of thing that would make George Morris faint).

Klondike proves there’s something to my experience.  Deirdre rode him all weekend, and on Saturday decided to try him at the canter.   So, here is videographic evidence that racehorses often actually prefer the right lead:

He did eventually get it right, though:

In addition to giggling and “wheee!”ing around the ring, there was other actual work done as well.  To give him something to think about and focus on, Deirdre made  a little “course” of ground poles, which were crossed at a walk and trot.  Klondike has no problem with this, though occasionally he’d try to jump a ground pole (afterwards looking very pleased with himself).  Apologies for shaky video, my horse was trying to help:

It’s still a fact that Klon needs to get more educated about actually moving off the leg- he just doesn’t seem to understand it.  He gets that a little squeeze means “go,” but he does not necessarily grasp the idea that he can also move sideways from it, or move his shoulders or hips from it.  He’s getting a little better, but needs some work.  I think our next ride will be nothing but “how to move off the leg,” rather than any aerobic type work.

After his ring work, Klon went for a walk with us in the woods, and actually led.  I know, the almost six year old draft cross should have been the one giving the flighty newcomer a lead, but Klon may actually be more reliable/relaxed out in the woods.  🙂


Entry filed under: Uncategorized. Tags: , , , , , .

Feeling the Oats I always forget my camera

3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Marit  |  March 31, 2008 at 8:37 am

    For Eve’s first 6 months off the track the left lead was no where to be found. She didn’t have one on most days, and if I could track down the left lead it was only through a flying change.

  • 2. Susan  |  April 2, 2008 at 8:13 am

    Hmmm…..that’s interesting- I’ve found it to be the opposite. With nearly all of the ones at my barn the left lead is easier physically but the right is more comfortable mentally. Almost none of them fresh off the track could figure out how to get the right lead without massive counterbending, but once they sorted that out, the right is more relaxed. When in doubt, the preferred lead seems to be the left, but it is sometimes more tense.

    On the other hand, flying changes have been a problem only with the semi-truck guy whose body and legs are looooong and hard to coordinate. Mine came with auto changes built in, which was nice, and something I think a lot of people don’t know about heese coming off the track- I didn’t, until someone told me- they know how to swap!

    Um, maybe we just get the weird ones? lol

  • 3. carrotplease  |  April 2, 2008 at 8:42 am

    or maybe it’s just a weird sort of self-fulfilling prophecy? Or has something to do with how much time they get off? Mysteries. (likely answer is that I’m generally so crooked horses do the opposite of what they’re supposed to do? LOL)


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed

Recent Posts

Blog Stats

  • 21,121 hits

%d bloggers like this: