What Is a Horse’s Lead?

horses lead

A horse’s lead is which front leg strikes the ground first during a stride. Generally speaking, the horse’s inside front leg leads and its outside front leg follows. It is important for the horse to take the correct lead in loping and galloping gaits (like when it makes a circle) and to change leads smoothly in transitions like in a canter or gallop. URL

It is also important for horse riders to be able to tell what lead their horses are on. This is because a rider’s ability to identify what lead their horse is on helps them make better decisions as they perform certain activities. For example, barrel racers will usually try to ensure that their horse is on the correct lead at the beginning of a cloverleaf pattern so they can turn the right barrel first.

The Multi-Functional Lead: How to Use Different Styles for Various Activities

The best way to learn about a horse’s lead is to work with a trainer and practice with them. They will help you understand how to read the horse, what their preferred lead is, and how to move them through various lead positions with ease.

The most common way to lead a horse is in position two, which is to stand just behind the tip of the horse’s nose with a buffer of about two to four feet. This allows the horse to see you at all times, while still allowing the leader to maintain contact with the animal through the reins and to give verbal commands from a safe distance.