Leg Yield Defined
The horse exhibits a slight flexion of the poll away from the direction he is traveling. The inside legs should cross in front of the outside legs with the rider being able to see just the inside eyebrow and nostril.
How to Execute the Leg Yield (tracking right)
- Start in Working Trot, sitting
- When approaching the long side, half halt
- Shift weight to left seat bone
- Apply the left leg behind the girth – actively pushing sideways each time the left hind lifts and starts a forward/sideways step
- Right rein guides the direction of travel and prevents bulging of the right shoulder
- Right leg continues forward movement and prevents rushing away from the left leg
- Apply left rein for slight flexion – this is the last aid and is applied lightly
- Straighten and ride forward
Please note that the horse is ridden straight between the reins.
Many variations of this exercise can be used to assist in preparation for more advanced lateral movement. If you are unfamiliar with the leg yield aids, you can practice this exercise at the walk to familiarize yourself with the appropriate application and timing of your aids. This exercise can be executed along the rail or on the inside of the arena as well.
Purpose of the Leg Yield
- To supple the horse
- To assist with initial straightening for other more advanced movements
Each of the above reasons relates to confirmation of or improvement of the horse’s balance. Half halts can be used as needed so long as appropriate releases and praise are used.
Common Errors in Execution
- Horse does not remain straight
- Horse leads with hind quarters
- Rider applies too much inside rein & not enough supporting rein
- Horse is too steep sideways due to not enough forward driving aids