I took two lessons with Chemaine in September, and since then, things have gotten much better. I don't think Speedy's leg yield is going to be getting any 8s at our next show, but I am hopeful that we might start getting some 7s.
Little by little the exercises have changed - we rarely do 20-meter trot circles any more. Now it's 10-meter circles followed by a shoulder in or serpentines with counter bending to soften Speedy from poll to tail. And of course, we work on the leg yield.
They weren't perfect, but there was the beginning of some rhythm to them, and we finally made it from one corner to the other without falling into a walk or feeling the need to buck or rear.
The thing that has helped the most was getting control of the outside shoulder. I started riding the leg yield into an almost counter bent outside rein. Instead of having a little inside bend, I keep him pretty straight. By keeping him firmly on that outside rein, he can't bulge through his shoulder rather than step over with his inside hind leg.
When I felt him lean on that outside rein, I gave him a half halt and said HAUNCHES with my inside leg. Looking at his haunches to make sure I am getting them over has also helped. Overall, it feels like I am pushing his shoulders one way and his haunches the other!
I know Chemaine will see improvement this next weekend. Riding with her every month has definitely helped us improve. Now, if she'd just consider moving to Bakersfield ...