My horse struggles with changing leads from left to right.

Stacy-My gelding is 9 and has had a difficult time learning a flying change from left to right. He has a very nice, easy change right to left. He feels like we are teaching a right handed hitter to hit left handed. He has been off a year due to an injury and is now coming back into training. I have had him totally checked over and resolved soreness issues that I thought might have caused the prior training issues. Do you have any suggestion to help us? I would really like to accomplish this goal. Thanks you are truly amazing.-Lori

Lori- Considering the history maybe he could have been sore and that caused the issue in the past. If that was the case and now he is sound we can hope things will go better. Even if he is sound now there still may be some carry over issues; if he expects to be sore he may avoid the movement, lead change, etc.

The good news is that, barring soreness, the ‘fix’ is the same either way.

Stacy's Basic Body Control DVD covers the prerequisites you will need before doing lead changes

Stacy’s Basic Body Control DVD covers the prerequisites you will need before doing lead changes

First, take your time building him up. Be sure that he is strengthened at both the trot and the lope on straight lines, circles and lateral movements. Did you ever notice he was a stronger loper one direction vs the other? In the pasture does he take both leads appropriately or does he avoid one? Are his lead departures the same each direction or is he weaker in the right lead departure?

Second, for some horses it is like teaching a right handed hitter to hit left handed. It is more common that they are equally poor or gifted which is generally why a huge discrepancy in one way often points to soreness. If he was sore and it was corrected then you will now need to repeat the shoulder moving, hip moving, lateral movements at the walk, trot and lope to show and teach the horse that those moves are now comfortable. This will likely take awhile. For fun switch your primary writing hand for a week…it will give you an idea of the change.

Also, make sure you ride with a pro and if possible change leads on another horse some. Occasionally I have found horse and rider teams that are so accustom to one another that the ‘imbalances’ they have are hidden because they compensate for each other. If you ride another horse and all goes well then that could be ruled out. A pro can also give you tips such as adding a little speed or they can point out if you are looking down.

Give it some time and lots of practice and hopefully things will even out for you soon and you will be changing both directions well.


  1. Beth on February 25, 2014 at 1:04 pm

    Also make sure the teeth are balanced properly, an unbalanced mouth can lead to difficulties in movements that the horse normally would have no problem with

Leave a Comment




100% Private - 0% Spam

Something went wrong. Please check your entries and try again.

No one taught you the skills you need to work through these things.

Riders often encounter self-doubt, fear, anxiety, frustration, and other challenging emotions at the barn. The emotions coursing through your body can add clarity, or can make your cues indistinguishable for your horse.

Learning these skills and begin communicating clearly with your horse.

Click here to learn more.



Join the newsletter

Subscribe to get the latest content and updates by email.