Over the years I have found that some of my lessons help me more than the rider that I am giving the lesson. Because, during lessons I am asked questions about things that I sometimes have not thought about in some time. This causes me to go back and re-live situations and horses from the past. Whether they taught me something that I may want to use again or something that I may not want to repeat.
I was asked the other day during a lesson why I was in the wrong lead. I responded with, “One mans wrong lead is another man’s counter canter” . By this I mean that often times in order for a trainer or rider to take his horse to the next level, you sometimes have to think outside of the box.
Let’s take for example you have a problem with your horse leaning or dropping a shoulder when loping in a circle. Sometimes you will hear someone say that you need to use your inside leg pressure to push the horse’s shoulder up and lift up with the inside rein. This works most of the time but, soon becomes something that you are constantly riding around doing because it seems now that the horse continually does this and the problem is compounded.
Another way to think or work on this problem is rather than work on his shoulder, fix the way the horse lopes. Meaning that he will not lean if he is loping straight with his rear end underneath him. The deeper and stronger you have a horse driving from the rear end the more that he is forced to level his shoulders and lift both to lope collected and straight.
Yet another way to attack this problem is to counter arc and counter lope the horse. If you are having problems with a horse that drops his left shoulder when loping to the left, then try to lope him to the right in a left lead with his head to the left. This will force him to pick up his left shoulder without using as much leg. It also requires him to keep his shoulder elevated continuously, and does not allow him to revert back to dropping it. Something to remember when doing this is that if your horse has not been asked to use his body in this way before, you as a rider need to be a little patient in allowing your horse the chance to get the hang of it. I have also found that doing this will help you with your guide to the approach to a lead change.
The key thing to remember is that in order for your horse to be proficient in a particular maneuver he must be able to effectively do all maneuvers.