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Preventing Unwanted Canter Lead Swaps

You are cantering on the correct lead along the long side of the arena or approaching a jump when your horse suddenly changes leads. If you’re riding a dressage test or competing in an equitation or hunter class, this unwanted swap will decrease your score. Why do some horses randomly change leads? The canter (a three-beat gait) is initiated by the horse pushing off with the outside hind leg. Next, the inside hind and outside front legs move forward together. Finally, the inside front leg moves forward. It’s important to understand that ‘inside’ and ‘outside’ refer to the horse’s bend. So, if you are traveling on the right rein and the horse has a true right bend, then right is inside and left is outside. It is the left hind leg that pushes into the canter transition. To maintain this canter lead, the horse must stay balanced longitudinally (from back…

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