September 23, 2020 – Ask Monty Newsletter

Question: How do your leg cues affect balance?

Hello! 200 lessons completed, Monty! I was recently watching Monty’s videos on flying lead changes and I love the idea of keeping it as simple as possible. I have two OTTBs (Off The Track Thoroughbreds) who are doing flying changes all of the time, but I have one Quarter Horse Paint who I would like to actually spend some time on flying lead changes.

Going through the videos, Monty has the opposite leg to cue for the flying change, and I like that idea as I’ve grown up Hunter/Jumper/Eq and it’s all about which rein to pull, placement of the legs, and pushing them onto the other lead. However, my concern is with keeping them balanced around the figure 8 and not falling in. Monty’s demonstration with his horse who seems to have the training / natural bend and balance keeps repeating of holding the outside leg around the turns for simplification. I suspect he or some people would use that inside leg for preventing the horse from falling it, but I’m curious on when coming back to the straight away and the X for the cue, how to differentiate effectively that leg that was asking for inside bend to now asking for the opposite lead?

I plan to play with this and input some of my experience. I’m really trying to go back to foundational flat work as I will admit it wasn’t as big of a priority as it should’ve been years ago when all of our horses were younger (and I’m now old enough to recognize that at 24).

But that is my main concern of balancing the act of letting them move forward naturally and keeping it simple with aiding them and reminding them to stay balanced, especially around a turn, so that we do not fall on our faces. This also goes into the fact that I’ve also done a lot of neck rope work and often ride in a bitless, both of which I love, and making sure all of this training is primarily coming from my seat, leg aids, and voice cues so as to help my horse the best I can and prevent confusion.

Thoughts or experiences? Thank you!

Monty’s Answer:

It’s great you asked! After reading your description of the challenge at hand I have come to the conclusion that your understanding of legs and leads is far short of what I consider necessary. When you wrote that riders use the inside leg to keep falling in then I know that your understanding is off track. As I answer this question it causes me to question whether we have adequately covered “riders’ legs” and “horses’ leads” to the degree necessary on our Online University. Recently there was another circumstance with a rider I have worked with for many years doing something which I consider totally unacceptable.

Please forgive me for not diving into the question you pose with words in an email. It is critical that a proper video be made so as to demonstrate the techniques which I have used successfully for well over 60 years. It would be great to create an ongoing dialog with you as I set up this project to create the physical actions necessary to answer the questions you pose. Everyone out there who is interested in lead changing should watch for upcoming video presentations that will completely describe these actions.


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