Flying change is an impressive and difficult move to teach horses. This is when the horse cantering while changing the lead leg mid-stride with the horse’s left leg. To perform a canter half-counter-flying-change-counter-flying-change-counter-flying-change, the horse must be able to perform a series of six flying changes in a row. It can be difficult and time-consuming for horse and rider. In this article, we will discuss the steps needed to teach a horse to perform a canter half-counter-flying-change-counter-flying-change-counter-flying-change.
What is a Flying Change?
Flying changes are maneuvers in which the horse cantering while changing the lead leg mid-stride. This maneuver is common in dressage, show jumping and other equestrian sports. To be successful in competition, the horse must be trained to perform this flying change with precision.
Understanding the Lead Leg
When the horse cantering, the lead leg is the one in front. There are two types: the left and right leads. The right lead is the one that the horse uses. The horse is on the left lead if the left leg is in front.
Exercises to Teach Lead Change
Before attempting the more difficult canter half-counter-flying-change-counter-flying-change-counter-flying-change, the horse must be proficient in performing a single lead change. Riders should start with exercises to show the horse how they can move their weight from one end to the other.
The shoulder-in is a great exercise for teaching horses how to move their weight between leads. The shoulder-in is performed by asking the horse to move their weight from one end to the other, while keeping a slight bend in their body. Ask the horse to move their weight in a straight line from one end to the other.
Another exercise that helps horses learn how to move their weight is the half-pass exercise. Ask the horse to move their weight in a diagonal direction while moving from one lead to another. This exercise is more challenging than the shoulder-in because it requires more precision from the horse.
Teaching the Canter Half-Counter-Flying-Change-Counter-Flying-Change-Counter-Flying-Change
Once the horse is proficient in performing a single lead change, the rider can begin teaching the canter half-counter-flying-change-counter-flying-change-counter-flying-change. The horse must perform six flying turns in succession. Begin by teaching the horse how to do two flying turns in a row.
Step 1: Establishing the canter
Establishing the canter is the first step. Ask the horse to canter straight on the lead. Before the rider requests a lead change, the horse should be able maintain a canter for several strides.
Step 2: Requesting the Lead Change
The rider should ask for the change of lead. Ask the horse to move their weight in a straight line from the left lead to the right. To request the change of lead, the rider should use all their aids such as their voice and leg to communicate with the horse.
Step 3: Moving on to Three Lead Changes
The rider can start to do three lead changes per row once the horse can perform two lead turns in a row. The rider should ask for three lead changes in a row, then four lead changes in a row, and so on until the horse is able to perform the canter half-counter-flying-change-counter-flying-change-counter-flying-change with ease.
Teaching a horse to perform the canter half-counter-flying-change-counter-flying-change-counter-flying-change takes practice and patience. The rider should be consistent with their training and reward their horse for their efforts. It is important that the rider be aware of their horse’s mental and physical limitations. Don’t push!