That's what I am calling them because the purpose of the rides with Chemaine Hurtado is to show that dressage can be accessible and useful for all levels of riders and for all disciplines. We've had western dressage riders, a hunter rider, and several other ladies who don't necessarily show, but they still want to improve their riding.
The next time she saw us, I was again struggling with the leg yield. The issue was that I had fixed the bulging shoulder which meant that I needed to keep Speedy G straight as opposed to counter bent.
For this lesson, Chemaine laughed and said there was nothing wrong with our leg yield. Speedy was crossing over just fine, but instead of his shoulders leading, his haunches were now leading. Oops. The fix was to open my outside rein and allow the shoulders to lead the tiniest bit to give room for his front legs to step over. Without a place for his legs to go, he was falling over to the outside.
We also worked on some shoulder in through 10-meter circles. Speedy has been a bit of a stinker to ride lately, and I think it's because Chemaine has helped me get a lot more "forward" from him. This is all great on straight lines, but it is a lot more work for him on the smaller circles.
For the 10-meter circles he has decided that he doesn't want to bend and push with his hind end. He's happy to give me one or the other, but not both. To help resolve this issue, which ultimately makes the work easier for Speedy, Chemaine had me trot the long sides with as much inside bend as Speedy could give while still trotting forward. It looks awful, but the purpose is to show him that he can bend and stretch.
Little by little he did start to get more supple. Once he was bending, we turned off the rail and did a 10-meter circle. When we returned to the rail, I kept the exaggerated bend. Eventually, we were able to turn the bend into a shallow shoulder in by using the first track or the quarter line. By getting off the rail, I had more room to move his shoulders and haunches without him feeling stuck.
It's not a pretty exercise, but you can really see Speedy (and me) start to get it in this video.
1) Start with the leg yield at the walk.
- Come down centerline, leg yield to the rail, come back up centerline and leg yield to the other rail. Cross the diagonal and repeat.
2) Change the bend at trot. This exercise looks like this:
- Firm up the outside rein (left)
- Weight the inside seat bone (right)
- Flex or wiggle the inside rein (right) if needed for softening.
- Once it's soft, this is your new outside rein (right).
- Weight the new inside seat bone (left), and repeat.
3) Compress the trot to walk to engage the hind end. It looks like this:
- Compress the trot with a firm half halt. Think of an accordion or pressing a spring. This is essentially like asking for a very collected trot.
- Soften to the inside rein.
- Give a little bit and ask the horse to trot up to the connection.
- Think about compressing the trot again down to a walk, and repeat.
- Come down centerline at the trot. If you turn left (like from K), you will be leg yielding to the right and picking up the left lead canter.
- Leg yield right to the rail.
- Canter in the corner (M).
- Stay on the circle at C.
- Trot at M and come down centerline again and leg yield to the rail again.
- Canter in the corner (K).
- Stay on the circle at A.
- Trot at K and come down centerline again and leg yield to the rail.
- This time, instead of cantering at M, cross the diagonal and change rein.
- Repeat the exercise, but this time you will be leg yielding to the left and picking up the right lead canter.