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[RC] Lead Changes - k s swigart

Truman said:

Think it isn't important, I saw a TB race one time where the only
reason the horse that won won was because it was being ridden
by HOF jockey Jerry Baily and during the stretch run he did a
flying lead change of the horse to put him on fresher legs and
pulled ahead by a nose.

While lead changes in TB racing are important, this probably isn't the
reason that this particular horse won this particular race.  Pretty much
ALL TB race horses make a change from the left lead to the right lead as
they come out of the turn into the home stretch and pretty much all
jockeys know how to ask for it.  They also make a change ONTO the left
lead from going down the back stretch on the right lead (all this, BTW
applies only to tracks where the horses are running to the left....in
other countries, sometimes races are run in the opposite direction or
have turns in both directions.

However, it is definitely important for race horses (other than quarter
horse shorties) to be able to change leads during the course of the
race.  It would be foolish to try to do the entire race on one lead, and
it would be foolish to be on the outside lead through any turns.  And
yes, it is better for a horse's balance to be on the correct lead going
into a turn by being told to make the change than it is for the horse to
get half way through the turn and realize for itself that it ought to
change leads....or not.

However, flying changes not being effortless, it can also be valuable to
teach a horse to be able to balance itself in a counter-canter
(cantering on the wrong lead) if the trail zig-zags and you don't want
to turn the effort into a series of tempe changes :) since tempe changes
require a great deal more effort than a counter-canter (although a
counter canter puts more stress on joints which is just made worse if
not done with good balance).

Additionally, since there is no judge at C and we aren't in the hunter
ring either, it is perfectly acceptable to trot lead changes.

Orange County, Calif.

I still prefer what it is that BH100, Tevis, The Duck's Soup of Endurance,
etc. has to offer...but, to see a horse canter over sand for those
distances...Good Lord, it humbles me.
~  Frank Solano

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