We all know the leg yield exercise of 3/4 line to track, or to increase the amount of leg yield, riding centre line to track.
I’ve made things harder for one of my clients. Her horse tends to anticipate the basic leg yield exercise, and she allows him to fall out of the outside shoulder on the turn and then he escapes slightly through that shoulder in the leg yield so doesn’t fully engage his inside hind leg.
In walk on the left rein she turned onto the three-quarter line and then leg yielded left, away from the right leg. This improves the horse’s response to the outside leg, and encourages the rider to ride a squarer, more accurate turn because of the horse has slightly too much left bend he will find it difficult to leg yield to the left. Once rider and horse reached the other three-quarter line, they had to ride straight towards the short side. This is to make sure the horse doesn’t rush to the security of the track, and that the rider is choosing the beginning and end of the leg yield.
Initially, the pair only reached the three quarter line by the corner of the school, but after a couple of tries they began to reach the three quarter line near the B-E line. Because this exercise changes the rein I asked them to change the rein across the diagonal so they focused on the left leg yield until it was secure in their mind. Then we tried the exercise in trot before walking and trotting it on the right rein.
The next step to this exercise, once they consistently cross the school in half the length of the long side, is to then leg yield back to the first three-quarter line, so they are riding a zig-zag down the school. Again this improves their balance and ability to change the bend and direction of movement, as well as the horse’s obedience to the leg aids. Once this is accomplished they can try leg yielding across the long diagonal, or perhaps even the short diagonal. Because they are leaving the outside track it can be a bit harder to begin the movement, particularly if the horse “sticks” to the track. They also have more distance to cover, which requires greater sideways steps and more suppleness, balance and flexibility from the horse.