Here is I how I teach a horse to take its leads! : Rising Sun Stables
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Here is I how I teach a horse to take its leads!

by Karen Tharp on 02/28/13

Teaching your horse to lope off on the correct lead can be achieved in three simple steps: the set-up, the cue and the release. 

Step 1: The Set-Up
The key to getting the correct lead every time is to set the horse up properly for the lope departure before asking for a particular lead. The horse’s outside hind leg is his driving leg. Therefore, if that leg is underneath the horse when he is cued to lope, there is a better chance that he will lope off correctly.

When loping off from a standstill, allow the horse to take two or three steps to make sure the horse is in a good frame to lope off correctly. “

Step 2: The Cue

When teaching a young horse to lope for the first time, work in a large circle and uses your outside leg to push the horse into the lope. If you want to lope off to the left, trot the horse in a circle to the left and push with your outside leg until the horse picks up the correct lead.

Step 3: The Release


Once the horse understands how to lope and which lead to pick up, refine the cue. Put your outside leg on the horse to ask for the lope, but when he tries to lope off, hold him back. Then, when ready to lope, cluck, release the horse, and let him lope off.”

The horse learns that, when pushed with his outside leg, he is to move his hip away from the leg but wait for the verbal cue to lope off. The cue to lope is clucking.

Loping Don’ts

Don’t turn your horse’s nose to the outside. Only do that on a young horse the first two or three times you ask him to lope, until he understands what your asking. Don’t want to make a habit out of it. You want the horse looking to the inside when loping off.


Don’t lean in to influence your horse to pick up a particular lead. On a younger horse, you may want to lean forward a little bit, but on a broke horse expect the horse to do all the work. When you put your leg on the horse and cluck, expect him to pick up the correct lead without having to push or lean.

Hope this helps!

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