horses lead

A horse’s lead is a length of line attached to the front of a halter. It is normally used to allow the rider to control the horse’s movement, direction and speed from a distance without holding him by hand. The length of a lead typically is 9 to 12 feet (2.7 to 3.7 m), but leads of shorter and longer lengths are seen.

Getting a horse’s lead right is important. It can be very dangerous if the horse turns sharply on the wrong lead and loses his balance. It can also be uncomfortable for the horse. URL

Understanding Lead Lengths: Tailoring Your Choice to Your Horse’s Needs

The lead is determined by the horse’s inside front leg that sweeps forward last in a sequence of strides while at canter or gallop. The lead is also established by the leg that bears the most weight as he goes into a turn. During a left-handed canter, for example, the horse’s left back leg bears more than twice as much weight as the right front leg.

A horse’s tendency to change leads can be confusing and frustrating for the novice horse person. The best way to avoid this problem is to make sure that no aid, whether physical or verbal, is giving the horse a reward for a response he shouldn’t be receiving. This is easy to do if you keep some slack in the line. It may take time to train the horse to respond to tapping on his shoulder rather than the pressure of your hand on the bridle, but it will be worth it in the long run.

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