#101 Leg Yield before Circle

Is this a helpful exercise?

Good for:

  • Horses who escape out their shoulder during circles.

Instructions:

  1. If you are doing this exercise to troubleshoot escaping-out-the-shoulder, identify the lowest gait you are having trouble with. For example, trot.  Keep your practice at that level or lower gaits.
  2. Start by performing leg yields along the long side at walk.
  3. Do at least two leg yields per direction per gait (up to the gait you want to work on).
  4. Make sure your horse is responding to your aids for leg yield.  Reinforce your aids with the whip or spur if you need to, until they move briskly off your leg.
  5. Now you are ready to add the circle to the exercise.
  6. Ride along the long side, steering in slightly toward quarter-line.
  7. Ask for two strides of leg yield back to the wall.
  8. Now perform your circle or half-circle.  You should see a major improvement in balance for at least the first half of the circle.

Tip: If the second half isn’t going so well, remember to perform half-halts during each quarter of the circle.

Tip: Remember to reward your horse for a good leg yield during preparation steps.  This can be done by letting them stretch for the remainder of the long side.

Appropriate Gaits:  Walk, Trot, Canter

Repeat: 2 leg yields per gait per direction, 1-2 circles per gait per direction.

Optional Focus:  Check that your seat is weighted on the side you are leg yielding toward.

Optional Focus: Really focus on your horse’s straightness throughout their body.  They will want to trail their hind end and their neck.  Use the outside rein in sequence to keep their neck straight and encourage movement sideways.  Use your inside leg or whip to straighten their hind end.

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