Saturday, June 15, 2013

Leg yield lament

Oh, leg yield, why do you allude me?
You seem so easy, the cues, not complicated:
Weight the seatbone, (make sure you weight the correct one!)
open the outside hand and leg, inviting the horse to move on over and fill that space,
assure a slight flexion away from the direction of travel,
cue "over" with the inside leg, 
ask your patient equine to step sideways and forward all at once
Cross your fingers and hope for the best.
All at once, now...go!
Oh, leg yield, I forgot to look in the direction I want to travel!
Gabe's brain says, Oh! Twister! Left hind red, right front blue, nose on green,
I manage to confuse him.
I have a snake for a horse,
Hindquarters this way,
Front end over here,
Neck over there
Body wiggling around somewhere in the middle.
Gather him up, straighten him out, send him forward, pat his neck, he is trying.
I am failing him.
Something I am doing isn't quite right.
I'm apparently speaking Czechoslovakian and he hears Italian. 
Take it apart, analyze.
Where did I go wrong?
Try again.
And again.
Once more now!
We have sideways AND forward!
Just a slight sideways, 4 good steps, but we did it!
Pat, relax, walk on strong and straight.
Analyze, remember that feeling and memorize where all the body bits were at any given moment
and try it again.
Leg yield, properly done, you are harder than you seem.
Leg yield,
We will master you.
Just give us a little time.
And put away that damnable Twister board!


  1. If I fall down when I play Twister, what does that say about my leg yields? Actually, we're not even trying leg yields right now since we're just trying for straightness! I hope you conquer it soon!!

    Also, I've nominated you for a Liebster Award...

  2. Glad I'm not the only one with this problem :). My horse and I are doing okay schooling shoulder in and travers, all of his canter work is coming along well, but for the life of me I can't get the feel of a good, consistent leg yield aid that he can understand. Just in the last month, after more than a year (!) we've been getting the movement correct for more than two or three steps, but it still needs more impulsion. It is the hardest thing I've done in dressage, yet it seems to come to many people easily. I guess we all have things we find more difficult or easier.
    It sounds like you're on the right track now. Good work!

  3. Mona, thank you! I'm working on getting a post put together for the award, very much appreciated!

    Carol, the leg yield is the gateway to everything else, so I understand, and it's just been eluding us. I don't know if he's just not athletic enough to do it (I doubt that though, he's pretty athletic), so it's most likely me. I've always had horses who gave me a good leg yield easily, but this one has been a tough nut to crack.

  4. Haha! You Are So Funny!

    I Haven't Been Riding The Arena, But Have A Number Of Straight Corridors For Trailssage. I Also Have Small Long, Long Rows Of Young Christmas Trees To Weave In And Out Of For Yields.
    My Mare Is So Light, Thinking
    Things, Does It. Riding Bareback
    Helps Too.

    I've Always Remembered
    This One Thing About Canter
    Departs And Leg Yield-Timing The
    Bump (Brush Of Leg Or What
    Ever)When The Outside (Of
    Direction You'll Be Moving To)Fore
    Comes Back. I Think Its The Time You Have The Most Influence Over The Hind Leg.

    Question: Are There Two Kinds Of Body Positions For The Horse In AForward Yield? I've Seen The Horse Straight, And Yielding. And I've Seen The Horse Wrapped Around The Leg Curved To Direction Of The Yield.

  5. I think more than anything my timing is a bit off...but we are getting better! Our language is getting closer to understanding. :)

    Yes, they are different! In a leg yield, the horse's body is bent slightly away from the direction of travel, very slightly, so it is mostly straight. In a sidepass, the bend is in the direction of movement and the horse is looking in the direction of movement. The sidepass is more technically and physically difficult as it is a much more gymnastic exercise. There are all kinds of lateral movements that we can't get to quite yet...not until we get much more responsive on the leg yields. :)

  6. Thanks For The Explanation Jen.
    Timing, Responsiveness, Skill, Willingness,Understanding....
    Whew, They Are All So Different!

    I Rode My Sisters Mare Pantz In The Arena Today And She's Tough! She Is Board.Hard. We Did Several Round s Of Shoulder In ...I'm Gonna Need To See It On Video Cause When Sis Said" Yes"...I Wasn't Feeling It.