Milo consistently wanted to swap from the counter canter on the right track to a lead change over to the left track, be it a small serpentine exercise or large circles (although on the large circle I was better able to keep a counter arc in his body and retain the counter canter lead). I noticed this the previous ride as well where the first attempt to serpentine on that counter canter lead, Milo executed a flying lead change. Beautiful Milo, I thought, but I needed a counter canter from you. Bonus though: every time he swapped his lead from the counter canter, he changed from back to front. At least his lead changes are solid and correct, just not when wanted.
Or is it?
Am I asking him to change leads without knowing it? I'm trying to stay firm with my outside leg back to hold the hip to the counter lead, but, am I staying secure in my body? Today I was bareback, maybe that had something to do with it.
There is something different in the way Milo travels on the right lead then there is on the left (left is easier, possibly?). I've noticed time and time again that Milo would much rather dump his right shoulder into the lead and tip on the forehand, and I need to remind him to hold the correct arc repeatedly. Much more on the right lead then the left, where he pretty consistently (and easily) holds the slight arc and doesnt try and swap leads on the lope serpentines.
Maybe its a combination of a few things. Maybe I am inadvertently shifting my seat (or not having the correct subtle arc in my hips too) as well as Milo having more difficulty holding the right arc.
Ah, lookie there; a connection, a mirror between the two. If I am not positioned in the direction of the lead properly, how can Milo be?
I have caught myself (on more than one occasion) where we change lead to the right track, and I find my legs are still in position for the left track (outside leg at C, inside at B). This would thereby directly affect the position of my hips, not to mention through off Milo on my leg cues.
So instead of scrutinizing Milo for the unwanted change in lead, maybe, scratch that, certainly I should be re-assessing the position of my body. For Milo isn't going to change leads unless 1. I ask him to (even inadvertently), and 2. it's easier for him to be on the left lead (most likely caused from prolonged periods of my body remaining in the left lead position, thereby making it the normality and easier route for Milo).
Sigh, and they say riding isnt difficult. These are the things I am thinking about as I pack your groceries into boxes at work! At least through all the questioning, I have seemed to find an answer...or at least something to consider.