July 3, 2019

Lesson Wrap-Up: Leg Yields

It's happening.  We have really turned a corner, and this stuff is sticking!  I mean literally, for the first time ever, I can see a future in which this horse does Third.  Like, we're not there yet, but the way I'm riding him now, it seems possible for the first time.

Connor: "Why is riding so much harder all of a sudden and also why is it this humid!"
I had my first lesson in a month last night and my trainer was just delighted, saying things like "This is what I always knew was in there!" and "You look so much more in sync with him" and "He looks like he's between your back and the reins more now" and "When you do it [leg yields in this case] right, it looks like you're dancing."

Dancing.  Leg yields.  Us!  Who knew!

I was excited to work on leg yields last night, because 1. ours have always been passable-not-great and 2. they're just hard enough to challenge me without being so hard that they threaten my ability to focus on my position.

Rolling with half of my new Schockemohle, long story

At first she identified that he was going sideways too much and that the rhythm broke down when there weren't enough forward steps.  She also identified that on the right rein LY'ing left he liked to swing his HQ to the outside, and in the opposite direction he tried to lead with his right (outside) shoulder in a big way.

On the right rein, she had me come around the corner thinking haunches in, and then contain him on the left until he had taken a few straight/HI steps before asking for the leg yield.  She also had me think about letting the left shoulder lead a bit instead of the HQ, which led to beautifully flowing LY's (for us).

To the left, my right thigh being off the saddle (and me sitting off to the left) was the whole cause of him darting out the right shoulder so heavily.  Just remembering to sit correctly and apply my right thigh made a huge difference here.

It was such a good ride.  I joked that I'm going for the Mary Wanless Most Improved Award at the October clinic (that I officially signed up for last week). That's not a thing, but it should be!


  1. I've been wondering if my right thigh might help with the right shoulder leading when moving off my left leg. I'll try to try this and see if it works!

  2. Yay for breakthroughs! Sounds like a fantastic lesson!

  3. I am just so ridiculously excited for you!