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Wait a minute! Stop the presses!

Deep breath

I’ve been leg yielding for quite some time but it still boggles my mind that in posting trot it’s done on the wrong diagonal! Gasp! Let me reiterate…wrong diagonal, that’s right, errr make that correct.

THE.     WRONG.     DIAGONAL.

I’m sorry but do you have any idea how long it took me to learn to trot on the correct diagonal? (Especially on the left.) So, imagine my horror when I discovered that I have to leg yield on the wrong diagonal!

I can’t seem to do it. Total mental block.

And this is considered a basic dressage movement! (Well maybe not so basic. It’s a First Level movement which is about all I can handle right now.) Why do I have to think so hard about it? How many times will I need to do it before it becomes second nature?

Wait, don’t answer that. I don’t think I really want to know. I don’t own a horse so it could take me years!

legyieldTo leg yield or not leg yield that is the question

Yesterday I rode our dressage school master and my lesson focused on leg yielding from the quarterline to the rail. Not only am I working to supple my horse but I’m working on the coordination of my aids. Something that I seem to lack. Sigh.

If I’m not totally there with my aids the horse will only travel forward or diagonally. He won’t be straight and there won’t be any crossing over of the horse’s legs.

I usually started off rough but ended successfully.

I was exhausted!

Jane Savoie has an excellent video. I haven’t found any other articles that relate to doing this at a posting trot.

On this particular day I was riding the dressage school master. He’s a really sweet Danish Warmblood that acts as though he’s a four year old. Very playful, flirting with all the girls. I think he’s experiencing a mid-life crisis.

During the lesson I was working on, ah make that, struggling with suppling and bending. Wait a minute. I’m always doing that. <sigh> My pattern was to leg yield from the quarterline to the rail and on the opposite side I would ride one big loop.

Huh, I sense a pattern here. Bending, outside rein, control the shoulder… I may not have been riding a 20-meter torture circle but all the aids were there. Pretty sneaky.

As I started my turn down the quarterline for another leg yield I accidentally hit the gas pedal, uh-oh.

Simultaneously, he spooked at something, double uh-oh.

I haven’t cantered him yet. I’ve seen him canter. Big, huge, powerful canter strides. Leaping tall buildings in a single bound. Scary.

In slow motion

“Oh, this again?”
(HELLO! Big, scary, leaping tall buildings canter here!)

No immediate traffic

Switch right rein to left hand

Drop whip

Take right rein back

Watch my instructor moving into our path with arms extended <gulp>

Uh-oh, we’re going to plow through her!

Tapping the brakes

Halt!

Wow! Great brakes! Rotten transition. I found myself perched a bit too far forward and more on my stirrups then my seat but I rode it out. Wait! I kept both stirrups! Yipppppee!

My instructor was pleasantly surprised and so was I. We wrapped things up with circles at the other end of the arena.

Riding a dressage school master is like flying first class. Once you have a taste you’ll never want to return to coach. Of course I don’t even own a horse so, dressage diva in the making that I am, I’ll take anything I can get.

The warm up rider. Never underestimate the value of a warm up rider. I lucked out that the school master was already out for a lesson just prior to mine. All the other schoolies were being prepped for a show so I got to ride him. This was both good and bad. Good because he’s awesome to ride and warmed up. Bad because it’s been two weeks since I last rode. Can you say rusty? I’m going to ache later.

The gist of things. Away we went to warm up in walk and trot. We then started to trot down the centerline and leg yield out to the rail. I was having trouble containing his left shoulder and I was waiting too long to start the leg yield so our angle was too steep. Funny thing is that my instructor didn’t really mention any of this. I was telling her and the student watching what I was doing wrong.

To change things up we picked up the 20-meter circle at C. Amazing how I didn’t dread them this time. Do you think it has something to do with riding a horse that knows how to bend? I was looking a bit too far around the circle for this particular horse so I wasn’t hitting the touching points. I needed to bring my eyes back to about a quarter of the distance. The schoolie I normally ride needs a half circle.

The finale. As we trotted the circle the school master started to mess with me. All the sudden the tempo changed and although I was still trotting it was much slower and BIG. I sat the HUGE wave up and down with a puzzled expression on my face. Then I broke into giggles, almost fell off, and said “What was that?” My instructor and the other student grinned back and said “Passage!” I’m hooked! I did a little more passage and the horse seemed to enjoy it as much as I did.

Watch out Dancing with the Stars! I can dance with horses. Sorta.

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leecullen@comcast.net

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