early days – leg yield and turn on the forehand

Yesterday after a week of mad weather ruining our schooling plans we set off for our lesson in glorious sunshine. My instructor decided to teach me how to teach Dustry a really useful exercise which will help supple him up (esp on his stiffer right rein) and improve his paces. The right way to do it (not how we are muddling along in the video!) is to ride the long side of the arena in leg yield to the outside, then when you reach the end do a turn on the forehand so you are facing in the opposite direction and then either repeat straight away on the same long side but opposite leg yield, or ride straight that long side and repeat when you get to the next. The idea of this is to then be able to ride a turn on the forehand away from the edge of the arena in the middle without the fence for support.

Things I need to work on are…

1/ Keeping it slow, so that he and I can process what is required, and not rush, be sensitive

2/ Do not ask for too much bend which will encourage him to fall out

3/ Make sure you soften the left rein when you are attempting right leg yield

4/ Only do the TOTF one step at a time, and DO NOT let him fall forwards out of the turn

5/ Make sure I am working him with a fat bouncy neck to help build top line, don’t let him get too long

We then did some trot poles to finish and both Amanda and I were so pleased with how well Dustry is stretching down and reaching for the contact over the poles, a big improvement from his ‘pre-dental work’ way of going. Soon he will be jumping like a ‘grown up event horse’

Today, enthused and with it fresh in my mind I practised the prep I was given from my lesson, and he was SO much better in the leg yield, we really cracked the ‘sideways but not fast forwards’ and the TOTF is coming on nicely. I’m really pleased with how much this exercise improves the paces afterwards he really feels like he’s bounding into the trot and on extra springs after this simple but really effective movement. I must have been doing something right because he was totally pooped afterwards and had to have a bit of a kip whilst I brushed him off in the sun.

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