The way to overcome such problems is by relaxing the horse, riding him long and low for a few minutes if you have to, half-halting, re-organizing your seat, leg, and rein aids to keep your horse straight, then trying again. Young and green horses may find this movement intimidating because it requires them to cross their legs; they are often frightened of knocking their legs together and stumbling. Be patient, relax your horse, and try again with good coordination of your body aids.
Bottom photo courtesy
of Centered Riding by Sally Swift.)
Benefits of the Leg-yield
Since the leg-yield is a movement of lateral nature, it has many benefits for both you and your horse. Among those benefits are the following: -
correctly, it encourages engagement of the hindquarters because the horse
lowers his hips, which--
Your primary aids will be as follows: -
seat bone: shift your weight slightly onto your outside seat bone to encourage
your horse to step underneath your center of gravity.
leg: it will maintain forward energy when applied on the girth.
Begin at the walk. Turn from A or C down the centerline and half halt the horse and give yourself a chance to center yourself. Bring your left leg behind the girth and shift your weight to your right seat bone while keeping soft and supple at your waist. Use your secondary aids as needed to correct your horse’s stride, then relax all aids. Let the horse take a couple of strides forward, then ask again for the leg-yield. Keep the sideway steps small to prevent the horse from becoming tense. The diagram below shows the pattern to steps that you should expect when you are just starting out, with the horse stepping just underneath his center of balance. Only when your horse becomes stronger, more supple and balanced, you can ask for bigger sideway steps.
Your horse may find it easier to perform this movement at the trot, but you should prepare the horse thoroughly at the walk before moving on to trot.
One: On the right rein, turn right at A down the centerline and ride a
10-meter circle to the left. Ride your horse straight for a couple of
strides then leg-yield to the right.
Points to Remember
When doing lateral work with your horse, remember to give him frequent breaks, riding him straight for a few minutes before returning to lateral exercises. This helps the horse relax and think about his balance, and it also makes it more fun for your horse. Also, remember to work your horse equally on both reins to develop his muscles evenly.