A turn on the forehand, where the horse’s front end stays still while you move his rear end around it, is the perfect way to practice separating the hind end from the front end and being able to move them individually. The turn on the forehand is mainly a matter of holding the front end still and bringing the outside leg behind the cinch and moving the rear end around while keeping the horse’s nose tipped to the inside.
Two-tracking is like side-passing while you’re going forward. The horse will be going forward and to the side. If done correctly, the horse’s legs will cross.
Two-Tracking for the Green Horse
For green horses learning to two-track, you may need to move the front end over a couple steps and then move the hind end over a couple steps until they learn to move forward and sideways at once.
Begin on the correct lead, then gradually steer the horse to where he’s going the wrong way for that lead, and keep him on that wrong lead. Teaching flying lead changes while counter cantering on a circle makes it easy for the horse to do the right thing. Counter cantering a circle is more difficult for a horse than circling on the correct lead, so it’s a reward to change to the correct lead.
Two-Track across the Diagonal with Flying Lead Change
Two-track a horse across the arena loping on the left lead. Come aruond the corner and two-track to the left. At about two-thirds of the way across, ask for the change, but continue on that same trajectory going to the left until you reach the fence.
Figure Eight with Sidepass Transition
Lope a circle on the left lead like you’re going to do a figure eight. As you get to the middle of the circle, side-pass your horse to the left to the inside of that circle. Then you stop, tip the horse’s hindquarters over to the right, tip his nose to the right, and pick up the right lead and go clockwise around in a circle. When you come back to the middle of the circle, do the same in the opposite direction.
Figure Eight with Two-Track Transition
When you’ve mastered the sidepass transition and you have your horse moving off your leg well, try the two-pass transition. Come through the middle, two-track to the inside of the circle, and you change your leg and change leads and lope off on the other circle.
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This article originally appeared in the August 2009 issue of Horse Illustrated. Click here to subscribe.