Leg yielding

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Leg yielding

This is a discussion on Leg yielding within the Dressage forums, part of the English Riding category
  • Riding a leg yield
  • Turn on the haunches dressage jane savioe

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    08-22-2010, 02:06 PM
Leg yielding

I am trying to introduce my horse to basic lateral movements and would like some advice.

I've never ridden leg yields before but am becoming more familiar with the aids I need to use. My horse has never done any lateral exercises.

Today I introduced him to turn on the forehand and at first he didn't seem to get it but after a few tries he was doing pretty well. I did this to show him that when I apply pressure behind his girth he should move sideways.

So what I want to know is when attempting to leg yield from say the quarter line to the arena edge how will I know he is actually doing it correctly if I have no one there to watch me. What should I look out for on his shoulders, neck, general placement to make sure he's travelling sideways and not just riding a straight diagonal line?

Ideally I would be able to take someone along to watch me but that's not always possible.

Also, any tips for teaching how to leg yield without confusing him to much?
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    08-22-2010, 10:31 PM
I'll preface this by saying it helped me AFTER I already knew when my horse was doing a true leg yield versus faking me out and just drifting over to the railing. What you want to feel is that the movement is coming from behind you. The first time you come down the quarter line, ask for the flexion, apply the leg cue and let him drift over the rail. That will give you a baseline feeling for "didn't do it at all". The second time, come down the quarterline, apply flexion and leg and try to bring him literally sideways to the rail a few steps "overdid it". Try to remember that feeling and on the 3rd pass, try the true leg yeild. If you're muscle memory is good, you should be able to feel how much between the two extremes he's moving. Most horses initially evade the leg yield through the outside shoulder. If he pops it, bring him straight forward a few steps, take a litte more outside rein than before, and ask again for leg yield. This time he'll probably go more sideways than forward. Regardless, you'll have to play with it. You're smart to start on the quarterline, so to not overface him. Once he's doing it right, you'll feel him stepping into the outside rein from behind. He'll most likely soften at the poll and chew on the bit a little. It's a cool feeling. Each time he gets stuck, just straighten and move forward a few steps before trying again. Remember to reward every try. Good luck.
    08-22-2010, 11:01 PM
Just a quick side note here, leg yielding is not actually a lateral exercise - there is no bend ;) It is however, and excellent precursor to teaching lateral exercises, as it teaches the horse to step sideways off the leg and work into an outside rein.

For a true leg yield, he will be flexed slightly to the inside (looking away from the direction of travel), and step forward and across the outside fore/hind legs with the inside fore/hind legs. The shoulders and hips will be parallel to one another and to the side of the arena.

So to feel if he is executing the movement correctly, first you may notice that the horse's shoulder is closer to the rail than his hips. This means that he is probably not crossing the fore/hind legs, and is on the forehand. To correct it, think of stopping the motion of the shoulders, by applying a half halt on the outside rein and holding your seat to stop the shoulders, while asking the inside hind leg to step across to bring the quarters back in line with the shoulders.

You can do leg yield in walk, trot AND canter. Trot is easiest for the horse, but obviously when you're learning how to ride it, walk will be easiest for you to start on. Don't worry about him being forward and engaged to begin with, just get the sideways feeling, taking it as slow as feel comfortable with. Once you get a good feel for the motion of a leg yield, then you can start asking for more power and activity in the hindquarters.
    08-23-2010, 10:41 AM
The true leg yeild is absolutely straight from ears to tail with no bend or flexion, totally parallel to the wall and is actually quite difficult. In training it is useful for many things depending on the position you are putting the horse in but generally having a slight flexion away from the leading leg and having the forehand slightly in front of the haunches is considered correct.
I always start in walk unless the horse has a really dreadful walk. You basically have two active aids and two passive aids with (as always) the seat balancing. Considering the leading foreleg to be the "outside" then your two active aids are the inside leg and outside rein and your passive aids are your inside rein and outside leg.
To go more sideways, use more inside leg and give the horse more room on the outside rein and to go less sideways or to correct a shoulder leading too far, use more outside rein and less inside leg. If the horse rushes or slows down we can balance this with the seat and the passive aids becoming a little stronger of weaker.

Good luck!
    08-23-2010, 01:32 PM
Also remember to sit in the direction you are moving.. this will help lead ur horse to that direction and as ur pushing w ur outside leg don't do a contiuous push.. you want to pulse with your outside leg as his hind leg comes over you push w ur outside leg and this will encourage him to engage the hind leg more
    08-23-2010, 02:07 PM
Start by teaching him to give to the leg from the ground - stand by his left side by his shoulder, bend his neck left (towards you) then use something like a spur or little finger to "nudge" him with it right behind the girth. The minute he steps away from that "nudge" release the neck bending rein and tell him good boy.

Make certain you do this multiple times on BOTH side and work up to horse stepping (with hind legs) away from nudge several steps until nudge stops.

Then you can start from his back. Come down the center line (A to C) of the arens. If you came down the centerline by turning left then you use your left leg to "nudge" him to the right while bending his neck to the left (not a big bend). I also like to squeeze on right rein at same time I'm "nudging" with left leg so the shoulders move over while horse is crossing their back legs.

One step is good - work up to multiple steps. Once he steps away from left leg do it on the right leg.

Viola - you have a leg yield.
    08-23-2010, 08:31 PM
Originally Posted by FoxyRoxy1507    
also remember to sit in the direction you are moving.. this will help lead ur horse to that direction and as ur pushing w ur outside leg don't do a contiuous push.. you want to pulse with your outside leg as his hind leg comes over you push w ur outside leg and this will encourage him to engage the hind leg more
Horses move away from pressure, you should be sitting on your inside seat bone to 'push' the horse across to the wall.
    08-23-2010, 08:34 PM
Originally Posted by Kayty    
Horses move away from pressure, you should be sitting on your inside seat bone to 'push' the horse across to the wall.
Totally agree with this. Once your horse gets more in tune with you as far as leg yield, it will only take correct placement of your aids and a little extra weight on the inside seat bone to create the movement.
    08-23-2010, 09:43 PM
Super Moderator
Take a look at this site

The Art of Classical Riding--The Leg-yield

Anebel, yes the NECK/SPINE needs to be straight, but the poll needs to flex right or left depending on the direction of the yield. Check out this ...

    08-23-2010, 11:31 PM
Im not experienced in dressage so all I can say is: Its all about moving your horse away from your leg. You don't use reins. Its leg yielding, not hand yeilding. If you don't use reins , I guess your horse will move sideways? ( I may be totally wrong. Real sorry.)

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