Think of your legs as having three positions: middle (where your leg hangs
naturally—right under your seat), forward (turning your heel in toward the girth)
and back (about 6 to 8 inches behind the middle spot).
Applying soft, pulsating pressure in the middle position will ask the horse to
move his rib cage away from your leg. As you rotate your heel in and move your
leg into the forward position, you are asking the horse to move his shoulder
more. From the back leg position, you control your horse’s hip.
For leg-yielding, you’ll start in the middle leg position then adjust forward or
back, depending on how the horse responds.
/ Leg-Yield Cues /
To leg-yield to the right while on the
left rein, turn your horse straight down
the quarter line (halfway between the
rail and centerline) at a forward walk.
Keep his body parallel to the rail. The
idea is to face forward but move sideways. Work at the walk until you feel
confident in your cueing, then step up
to the trot.
Close your hands softly on both reins
to restrict your horse’s forward movement, while keeping forward impulsion with your seat and legs. Tip your
horse’s nose in the opposite direction of
the way you want to travel (in this case,
bend to the left, travel to the right).
However, you don’t want too much
bend in your horse’s neck, just a slight
tip of the nose. As your horse progress-es in training, he will be able to keep
his neck more straight while moving in
To tip the nose to the left and move
his shoulders right, apply the left
indirect rein in front of the withers; to
complete this rein aid, you’ll turn your
pinky nail up and in toward the horse’s
wither. Think of turning a key in a door;
that’s the movement of the indirect
rein, and it causes the horse to move his
Note: This is more of a hand position
and not a pull. The indirect rein is soft
Keep in mind you don’t want the
horse to step to the side or turn; be
careful not to overbend your horse. Tipping his nose too much and restricting
too much forward movement will cause
him to counter-bend and brace instead
of engaging his body in a leg-yield.
The horse’s nose is tipped away from
the direction of travel; his legs are just
starting to cross, showing that there’s
some lateral movement. With just a little
more “opening” leg position with her right
hand and leg, the horse would travel in a
near-perfect leg-yield. H E I D I M