Dressage Horse Training: Continuing a Thread

Hello Everyone,

When I teach my students the order of the aides one exercise is to do a leg yield on the open side of the circle.  To accomplish this exercise the rider must coordinate the inside leg at the girth to move the horse sideways and use their outside aids-hand, knee, leg-to keep the horse from popping their shoulder out.  When the aids are properly coordinated, the horse lifts their shoulders and steps under and across with their inside hind leg.  This is the feel.  Your instructor can set you up to feel this in your horse and tell you “now, that’s it” and you have to remember what the moment feels like in your body. Your goal is to take this same feel to a straight line to create the straightness of the horse and the forward connection to the bit.  This is another feel or piece of knowledge I have but did not use outside of the exercise on the circle.  I have felt now that the counterflex and yield exercise is an extension of this basic yielding exercise on the circle.  Connecting the “whys” is allowing me to start linking basic feels to more complex movements.  This feel up over the back connected from inside leg to outside rein needs to be maintained all the time in all of the work (this is more all encompassing than it sounds, at least it is for me at this point in my riding).  This is one of the main holes in my riding at this point.

Interesting that I have been given the knowledge but for some reason was not continuing the thread.  I have been shown this feel before.  I know the feel when I have it.  I guess I’ve approached creating this feel as a unique task instead of as a foundational strength and way of going all the time.  I’m still mulling over how to teach this to a new rider.  You cannot master everything in a day and you also need to keep touching on the skill until it becomes part of the rider’s muscle memory.

Good Riding,
Tara, Author, Out of the Saddle: 9 Steps to Improve Your Horseback Riding

Out of the Saddle

Out of the Saddle

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