Welcome to Hot Horse Exercise Post. Here is another excellent exercise to teach your hot horse a simple but valuable lesson: to move sideways away from leg pressure. The leg yield is one of the earliest and most fundamental exercises in the development of both horse and rider, but yet, often overlooked. Leg yielding enables your horse to move eagerly forward, but under control, through the influence of your leg aids so that your horse's hind legs step forward to reach the hoof prints of the front legs. This fundamental exercise not only will help your horse with the leg aid, but will also improve your horse's longitudinal and lateral flexibility.
Riding the leg yield to the right. To make it a littler easier we begin at the wall at the walk. The first thing we need before attempting the leg yield is a good, straight forward going walk. Ask your horse to flex by gently curling and uncurling your inside hand around the reins until the horse flexes. You have enough bend when you just see the eye and nostril, see picture above. Bring your left leg behind the girth and shift your weight to your right seat bone while keeping soft and supple at your waist. It is important to use the leg in the press-relax-press way, as a constant pressure will cause your horse to lean against your leg and not move away from it. To time your leg aid, you need to press when you feel your horse's belly swing away from your inside leg. This is the point when your horse's inside rear leg is coming underneath for his next step and it is the only point when you can influence the horse's stride effectively. Keep the sideway steps small to prevent your horse from becoming tense, remember this exercise is to calm your hot horse!
Your outside rein is held against the neck but doesn't do anything actively. Your horse will feel this outside rein against his neck and this will stop him from falling out through his shoulder.
Your outside leg doesn't move from your normal riding position.
Points to remember when doing this lateral work is to give your horse frequent breaks. Ride him straight for a few minutes before returning to the leg yield. This helps your horse to relax and think about his balance while making it more fun for your horse. Also, remember to work equally on both reins.
Once you are happy with the leg yield at the walk, proceed to the trot and then to the canter. There are also several variations of this exercise that can be done, which will be shown in later posts.
Good luck with the yield!