Leg Yield Excersises

In preperation for moving up the levels, the horse must become more supple and balanced in order to develop the thrust (pushing power) required at First Level. Remember you have already confirmed that the horse’s muscles are supple and loose, moving freely forward in a clear and steady rhythm while accepting contact with the bit.

The Rider must always check that her horse is fulfilling these basic requirements before moving on to any other excercises. Once established you can move on to the Lateral Movements or Work on Two Tracks.

The objective of working on Two Tracks is to improve the obedience fo the horse and to supple all parts of the horse which will increase the freedom of his shoulders and suppleness of his quarters as well as the elasticity of the bond connecting the mouth, the poll, the neck, the back and the haunches. Lateral work will also improve the cadence and bring the balance and pace into harmony.

The requirements for Leg Yield are that the horse is staight and parrallel to the long side, except for a slight flexion at the poll away from the direction in which he moves. The Rider should be able to see the inside nostril and eye. The inside legs pass across in front of the outside legs. Leg-yielding should be introduced in the training prior to any collection. The shoulders should move slightly in advance of the quarters. Novice riders often make the mistake of pulling the neck out of alignment with the shoulders, or allowing the haunches to trail too far behind the shoulders.

It is a good idea to try 3 steps of leg yield from the center line and 3 steps forward and straight, and then repeat until you reach the wall. This will help the rider feel the hind legs of the horse and control the movement sideways without many problems.

Another excercise is to trot across the diagonal and at X leg yield to the corner. Remember to half halt and balance your horse before transitioning to the leg yield. Have someone video your work so that you can see if you are correct. If problems arise, breathe and slow it down to walk until you can feel the correct aids. This takes patience and practice.

Remember, always ride with integrity and finish after a good moment. Always end your training session with posting trot long and low to reward your horse. The goal is to achieve relaxation, balance and harmony at all times.