The Path to Flying Change


Does this sound familiar? Your baby green hunter is stylish over fences and quiet on the flat, but he lacks lead changes. Or your jumper cross-canters around many of his turns, costing you valuable seconds on the clock. Before you resign yourself to pastel-colored ribbons—or none at all—consider that most horses aren’t born with a desire to automatically swap their leads. They must be taught to seamlessly switch from one lead to the other, and to do it on cue. As you’ve no doubt discovered, missed lead changes and disjointed cross-canters won’t win blue ribbons in the show-ring.

Unfortunately, the road to clean lead changes can be a bumpy one. Here are the typical steps you’ll encounter as you journey from simple basics to effortless flying changes. Jumper trainer and instructor Mary Beth Molt of Endar Equine in Temecula, Calif., will be your guide.

**For the full article, pick up the September 2007 issue of HORSE ILLUSTRATED.**

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Cindy Hale
Cindy Hale’s life with horses has been filled with variety. As a child she rode western and learned to barrel race. Then she worked as a groom for a show...


  1. My mare and I have succesfully learned flying lead changes. She does them very well it only took her 4 lessons to get them (shes a really fast learner :0)) All i did was practice on figure 8’s. I the middle of the ring i would get her to do a few steps of trot then change her leads. On our fourth day of schooling these she picked it right up.


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