Team LBD Dressage home of international rider & trainer Luke Baber-Davies will be helping you by providing some dressage and schooling tips.
During the next few editions we will be covering off a series of lateral work exercises with some great tips to improve what you are doing.
Horses are athletes too so we like to use lateral work when we are exercising our horses. Lateral work helps to keep them soft and supple through the body and we will first look at the leg yield.
Leg yield is when your horse steps forward and sideways crossing the fore leg in front of the other and the hind leg in front of the other also, the horse will also show slight poll flexion away from the direction of travel (see diagram).
Leg yields are a very useful exercise for developing suppleness, softness and helping you with the connection form the inside leg on the outside rein.
Line up, line up… Choose the line of your leg yield – it is best to pick the either the centre or ¾ line.
Half Halt! Before you ask your horse to leg yield remember to ask for a half halt (block the outside rein for a second or so), this will ensure your horse is listening, avoid any rushing and stop them from anticipating the movement so that you can maintain a steady, balanced and controlled rhythm.
Light inside, steady outside rein! When in leg yield keep a slight inside flexion with a lighter inside rein but keep a steady contact on the outside rein whilst putting your weight down into the outside of your seat bone.
Use your legs as aids! Use your inside leg just behind the girth to ask your horse to step over using your outside leg and rein to stop the horse from rushing or falling out of the outline.
Take your time! When you are first starting out, just ask for a couple of steps and build up only when your horse is responding positively and moving well laterally.
Stay Balanced! Try not to tip your body to either side of the horse and sit up straight, look straight ahead and keep your balance.
Pick a pace! Try leg yielding in canter as well as some find this easier than doing it in trot.
Make it more advanced! Once your horse understands the concept of moving away from your leg you can move on and start asking for the leg yield heading down the track with the quarters to the inside which can really help loosen through the horses back as well as helping the transition into the lateral movements.
Use both reins! Just like all other exercises its important to ensure you ride both reins evenly and not to stick with the horse’s best rein!
Seek help! If in doubt or if you are struggling with a particular movement speak to your trainer as they will be able to quickly get you back on track without souring the relationship between you and your horse.
Praise, glorious praise! Remember to praise your horse – a happy horse is far easier to train!
Have a specific question or what us to cover a particular subject? Just use #AskTeamLBD and we will do our best to feature your request!