Monday, November 29, 2010

to leg yield or not to leg yield - interesting article

I've been reading over the past six months about the finer points of using the leg yield - or not using it, as the case may be - and when several blogs I read had leg yielding info this morning, I decided to look for something that concisely addresses the controversy over the movement, which many classical dressage riders feel should never have been put into the first level tests in the United States.

A quick Google search found an article that does a great job looking at the leg yield and outlining its benefits and its disadvantages - GO HERE TO READ.

You'll need to scroll down to get to the article itself, and once you've read that one, there just happens to be another article below it about the older rider - written by a dressage rider who is also an MD. Interesting material and recommendations for those of us "riders of a certain age." :)

Over the past few years I have gradually stopped using leg yield when riding Keil Bay. He much prefers shoulder-in as a suppling exercise and the immediate benefits are glaringly apparent in whatever exercise we move on to in that ride.  I get the best canters from him when we do shoulder-in first, and I also sometimes use shoulder-in as a "go-to" exercise if he is being spooky towards any particular part of the arena or any object - especially if the object is known to him.

With Cody (although it's been ages since I rode him - daughter keeps him working well!) I used to do spiraling circles using the leg yield, which seems to balance him and get him using his hind end in a more engaged way. However, the last time I watched daughter do spiraling circles on him, I made a note that it's beyond time to teach him shoulder-in (I'm actually not sure if he's ever done it or not) and see what the benefits are for him. There are only so many spiraling circles one can do in a given ride, and that exercise is not one I'd drill over and over again.

I'd love to hear folks' thoughts on the leg yield, and what your experiences are using it, or if you don't use it, what you do instead that works well.


Anonymous said...

I think all the lateral movements have their uses - interesting link you posted - I think of leg-yield as one of the more basic ones, and as the link said, its best use is on the circle.

billie said...

I've also seen a lot of discussion about the amount of crossover being seen these days when doing lateral movement - it's often used as a standard to aspire to - a very pronounced crossing over of the legs - but many classical riders feel the extreme crossing over is actually incorrect and potentially harmful.

The leg yield on a straight line has always felt awkward to me - certainly not something that leads the horse into balance, but actually throws him off for a moment. Keil Bay detests leg yielding on a straight line and until I did more reading and research I didn't really understand why.

This article reminded me that the leg yield on a circle is actually the first step of a shoulder-in repeated over and over - or conversely, the shoulder-in is the first step of a circle, repeated over and over. ??

If I go much further I'll end up confusing myself. :)

Valentino said...

How interesting that so many of us are apparently addressing the leg yield issue today :)

Thanks Billie (and Kate) for weighing in on this topic. Very informative.

As a novice student of (classical) dressage, with a novice mount, my approach to this movement has been cautious. We do it only a few steps at a time, and only on curves at the moment.

I have found that baby leg yields have been really helpful to us, especially in solidifying my grasp of steering... we've had a few "light bulb moments" lately.

billie said...

V, thanks for weighing in. I'm always curious to know what different people do in their day-to-day work.

My only lateral movement today was walking sideways with the wheelbarrow as I made a hay trail down the front field. :)

billie said...

Oh, and darn it - I forgot to put this in the blog post itself, but it's an adjunct (and sort of funny - some might say crazy) thing I do when driving.

When I change lanes, I "leg yield" while turning the steering wheel. I caught myself doing that awhile back and realized it's now second nature. I use leg aids in my car.

Máire said...

Billie, that is a very interesting article. Thanks for posting.

billie said...

Glad to share - I too found it very interesting.