An Exercise of Many Components

Yesterday I reblogged an article about teaching leg yield which I hope you found useful. Today`s blog post is all about incorporating leg yield into a more complicated exercise.

Often when teaching it is easy to focus on one element, for example the medium trot, and then forget to teach a rider to link movements together. After all, in a dressage test you only do one medium trot. You don`t have three practice runs to wake your horse up!

I like linking things together, and it can be as simple as a circle within a loop of a serpentine, or a transition across the centre line on a circle. For this client I picked a couple of things to work on. Her mare likes to predict what is about to happen, and when they both think about leg yielding to the track the mare curls up around the inside leg and drags her outside shoulder to the fence line. So they needed more to think about.

They began by trotting down the three quarter line. Let`s say they are on the right rein, on the three quarter line closest to the KEH line. Between E and H I asked them to ride a half ten metre circle onto the opposite three quarter line, and then leg yield to F before picking up canter in the corner and cantering a twenty metre circle at A before coming back to trot to repeat the exercise.

We built the exercise up slowly, first of all establishing the three quarter lines and riding straight down them, and then adding in the half ten metre circle, which tested their accuracy as it is tempting to drift across to the fence line, and forget to use the outside leg and right straight out of the half circle.

Once they`d established riding straight out of the half circle we added in the leg yield and then the canter transition, before finally the canter circle.

By adding in new bits every couple of minutes it kept the mare on her toes as she had to listen to her rider, and then her rider had to focus on the upcoming movement as well as what she was doing at the time. Yet neither were completely overloaded by the complexity of the exercise, and the many components of it.

The leg yield improved for them both as they were thinking of moving forwards towards the corner and into canter, so maintained impulsion and straightness. Then the three quarter line on the opposite side reinforced the importance of the outside leg, which meant that it was more effective during the leg yield at controlling the amount of sideways movement.

See how you get on with this exercise. Take your time and build it up slowly so that you keep a good standard. And remember to breathe in between each element!

One thought on “An Exercise of Many Components

  1. needforsteed Oct 9, 2015 / 3:51 pm

    Great idea! I think I will have to try this with my gelding. He gets bored with repetitive exercises and sometimes I think he tries to rush through things so he can get the work over with.

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