Equine First Aid Kits - Basic Winter Essentials
Equestrian Advice & Guides Horse Health
Here's a very quick tutorial on leg-yield.
This can be performed in walk, trot or canter. Start in your favourite pace, with a warm horse that is going evenly into both reins, and can be ridden on straight lines and gentle turns. Take an early corner, as you can see from A or C. Keep the horse's outside ear up and towards E or B, depending on what side you’re on. Now, this is the important bit... as you start to make the turn, just after the centre line on the apex of the turn, start to use your inside leg to push the horse towards the wall or the fence. As the horse starts to travel keep the horses outside ear towards the marker the E or B. Keep the rhythm the same. You can see that as I start to travel sideways, I start to make Amo more parallel to the fence or the wall, while still keeping his outside ear towards the marker. This will prevent you from pulling the inside rein.
As the horse gets more confident you can make the horse more parallel each time, and gradually develop this into a 'test situation' leg-yield which would be totally parallel, with minimal flexion away from the direction of the movement. Don’t put your inside rein on the neck. As your horse travels away from your inside leg you should feel the horse press into the outside rein. As this happens, start to bring your hands very slightly to the inside and release the inside rein, travelling forward throughout in a good rhythm. You should have the feeling of the horse gently pulling forwards in the rein, like you are taking a couple of Chihuahuas or Jack Russell’s for a walk and they are pulling happily to go; this should be the weight of the connection.
This is how I start young horses, by teaching them in the baby stages to go sideways. You can start this just by skimming the corner and just pressing to the outside, gradually making the angle steeper and more parallel. Change the rein frequently and give the horse breaks. The key is to keep the outside ear up as you are travelling towards the marker or towards the wall, with minimal inside flexion.
Find out more about Sarah Williams and check out the rest of her helpful video tutorials, covering a range movements and transitions > View Sarah's profile here.