PostHeaderIcon Flying Lead Change on Cisco? Miracles Happen

Here is a horse never cantered under saddle until I got him at nine years of age. Never cantered under saddle with a human weight from zero to nine. There is a lot of balancing that a horse needs to canter while carrying a human. I remember when Nichole first cantered him during his thirty day “customize him for Susan training”. She was happy to discover a canter! And the canter was comfortable!

I remember cantering on him during a group lesson at Mary Brown’s arena. I was shocked by how comfortable his canter was. Wow!

Dear Reader.  Do you know how obsessed I am with flying lead changes?  Did you read my first book?  Flying lead changes are the ultimate in my mind.  They are usually difficult for all horses and riders, but gaited horse flying changes are even more difficult.  If the horse gaits smoothly, flying changes are going to be difficult because suspension is involved.  The front and back legs have to lift off the ground in order for the legs to switch.  Smooth gaited horses usually keep their feet close to the ground.  Suspension is not in their physical way of going.  Everything has to be perfect.  The rider’s balance has to be perfect.  The horse’s balance has to be perfect.

Hence, my obsession.  I’m right at the end of finishing up my book number two about the Just Right Horse.  I bought this horse because of flying lead changes.  That is how obsessed I am.

Cisco and I have been cantering all winter.  Our winter arena is too small for a decent chance at flying changes so we practiced cantering and drop to trot lead changes.  We practiced my signal to Cisco about which lead I wanted.  Cisco mostly went right brain through the signaling and the canter departs.  It was not a pretty sight.  I still don’t have my signal perfected yet.

However we went to a clinic this month and had an afternoon and morning free time in the arena.  We tried for flying changes.  In the afternoon, I asked Cisco for a flying lead change over a pole.  I set him up to do an arena large figure eight with a pole in the middle. Andi was watching my unsuccessful tries.   I asked for the lead change as we were cantering over the pole.  Andi called me over.  She told me that I was looking down at the pole instead of focusing on where we were going.  My head was bent down, looking at the pole instead of up looking at the top of the fence line.  Of course!  Focus!  Ciso and I went back to our figure eight and I focused on where we were going.  I looked at the pole so Cisco would know our path.  When we got to the pole, I was looking up.  I looked out over the fence and we soared.  Good Lordy!  Cisco did a flying lead change!  I had two witnesses.  I immediately got off Cisco, rubbed him, took off the bridle and loosened his girth.  A few moments later, he laid down, wanting to role.  I screamed and ran toward him.  He got up.  I took off the saddle and let him loose again.  Cisco had no idea why our session was finished.  He might put that together in the future.

I asked Andi.  How can I describe what this is like to someone who has no idea about horses.  Andi pondered.  She described flying changes as riding a unicycle.  I tried to ride a unicycle once.  I was hanging on to a fence when I got on the unicyle.  I couldn’t balance on the unicycle, even with the help of a fence.  The balance required of horse and rider is like riding a unicycle!

The next morning, Cisco and I were out in the arena again.  I tried to do the same thing while riding him without a bridle.  We are not quite there yet.

I got off Cisco and let him rest for a while.  He got to eat grass that had gown into the sandy arena.  After he was completely rested, I put the bridle on and we tried again for flying changes.  I got one!  I have it on film.  I have proof of a flying change!  WHOOPEE!!!

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