How to Determine a Horse’s Lead

horses lead

The horse’s lead is the last front leg to hit the ground and stretches the furthest during a stride. The lead can also refer to the bridle or halter that is attached to the horse. Usually a horse is on its correct lead when it is in a lope or canter (a 3 beat gait).

Ravenox horses are naturally more athletic and tend to favor using the left lead for certain maneuvers. For example, barrel racers try to make sure their horse begins the cloverleaf pattern on the correct lead. If the horse begins the pattern on the wrong lead it will become disorganized and potentially run out of control.

Step-by-Step Guide: Properly Attaching and Detaching Your Horse’s Lead

It’s not always easy to determine which lead a horse is on. The best way to tell is by observing how the horse is behaving. For example, if a horse is frightened by something in the environment and begins to bolt away from the handler it may be on the wrong lead. It’s best to turn the horse in a circle until it calms down and starts to look at you again before trying to lead it anywhere.

When a horse is on the correct lead it will feel smooth at the canter. If a horse is on the wrong lead it will feel bumpy and uncomfortable. A good trick for determining the horse’s lead is to look down and see which front leg reaches forward first during a stride. Don’t lean down too far though because that might unbalance the horse and it may start trotting again.

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