Some horses find it hard to change both their front and hind legs during flying changes. If your horse is late to change behind, these exercises could help:

Counter-flexion

Try riding lots of counter canter, but counter-flex your horse at the poll. Once he is working well, alternate between true flexion and counter-flexion until he feels soft.

Counter supple

If you are on the right lead in canter, take your horse’s neck seven inches to the left three times. This will supple your horse away from the lead you are on. When your horse can do this easily without stiffening or swinging his hindquarters out, he is ready to start flying changes.

Serpentine

Canter a three loop serpentine. As you approach the centerline to start the second loop, slide your new inside leg forward on the girth. Leg yield with a bend for a stride or two toward your new outside rein. As you approach the centerline again, try the leg yield with a bend once more. Keep doing this part of the exercise until your horse bends softly around your new inside leg. Once this happens, ask for the flying change, and arc onto the second loop of the serpentine. Do the same thing as you approach the centerline for the third loop.

Engage the inside hind leg

Give three preparatory half halts when the inside hind leg is on the ground. Take and give with your seat, legs, and inside hand in sync with the rhythm of the canter. Do it during the second beat of the canter so you can influence the inside hind leg when it’s on the ground. After the three quick preparatory half halts, ask for the flying change.

Haunches-out (Renvers)

Ride to the left in right lead counter canter, one-meter away from the wall. Bend your horse around your right leg, and ask for haunches-out. Your horse’s forehand should be one meter to the inside of the wall, and his hindquarters will be in the track. Once this feels easy, keep all four legs in the same position, but straighten his neck (as he’s on three tracks in haunches-out, his neck will actually be at a diagonal to the wall when you straighten it). Close your left leg and push his left hind leg toward your right hand. Go back and forth from haunches-out with bend to straightening his neck. When your horse feels like he’s stepping from your left leg into your right hand, ask for the flying change.

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