If you read Monday's post, you saw that we improved our leg yields from the previous month. I had no idea that we would make them even better on Sunday, but we did. Once Speedy understood that he couldn't get away from the left rein, he started digging deep and making those leg yields work for him.
What I didn't realize is that this movement is much like trotting a figure of eight. The horse needs a stride or two to get his body straight before changing the bend. I've been riding this leg yield without that straightening moment. What happens as a result is that when I change the bend and leg yield to the left, his haunches are now leading.
To fix this, Chemaine had me do the leg yield with the outside (right) rein locked down which keeps Speedy's outside shoulder in place. Just before X, I need to get him straight again so that I can change the bend and leg yield him to the left. This means that I need to open the outside (left) rein so that I can move his shoulder in front of his hind end so that the hind end is not leading. It's the opposite problem of the shoulder leading.
Speedy can cross over pretty deeply, but it's not yet really rhythmical or consistent. To help get a better quality leg yield, Chemaine had me think about really shortening his stride in front. Doing so gives him time to get his hind end over without his front end running off. He also seemed to have much better rhythm when I shortened his stride.
Here's the actual movement from K to X to H.
As we come out of the corner at M, Chemaine instructed me to do a shoulder in as we come to the 10-meter circle at R. This gets Speedy thinking about bending so that the 10-meter circle isn't so abrupt. As we finish the 10-meter circle and continue down the rail to B, she had me maintain the shoulder in for the right turn. After the halt at X, we need to turn left down the rail again with a shoulder in as we prepare for the second 10-meter circle at V. If we maintain the shoulder in, our corner should also ride much more smoothly.
We also worked on the one loop canter from First Level, Test 3. That movement has gotten easier and easier, but Chemaine saw a way to help me keep Speedy better balanced after the top of the loop. The top of the loop rides in counter canter so the horse is bent in the opposite direction which means it's easy to lose control of the haunches and over-shoot X.
As we crossed X, Chemaine reminded me to keep my outside leg back so that I could use it to almost pivot his hind end around to keep us heading back to the rail rather than the other side of the ring. I was surprised at how much easier the canter rode by sending his haunches to X.
Here's a short video of that movement.
- Lock down the outside hand in the leg yield, play with the inside rein. Shorten the stride in front to give us more time to get to X and then back to H. Just before changing the bend to leg yield the other way, open the new outside rein to move his shoulders over and then lock it down.
- Ride into and out of the 10-meter circles with a shoulder in to maintain a better bend for the circles.
- Ride the canter lengthening with a shoulder in to keep him on the outside rein.
- Keep my outside leg back on the canter loop to direct his haunches to X so that we pivot around X back toward the rail.