But! I have good news. On Saturday morning, Sean was finally able to see some progress. I don’t know who was more surprised, him or me. I mean, I know I am a hard worker, but hard work hasn’t necessarily equated to progress in my little corner of the world. Suddenly though, I am starting to put together what Sean has been teaching me over the past six months.
As we came through the corner on a left bend on the left lead, my brain short-circuited for a moment because I couldn’t figure out how to ride a canter leg yield away from the rail. I instantly turned it into a half pass. To be a leg yield, the horse can’t be bent in the direction of travel like in the half pass. Here’s a description of the movement – As you turn onto the long side of the arena, close your outside leg and gently push the horse toward the centerline, allowing him to straighten his body and lose the natural inside bend and flexion. You can also use your outside rein to gently flex the horse to the outside as he yields sideways away from the outside leg. – source
It took a few tries. If you haven’t ridden leg yield that way, believe me when I say it is harder than it sounds. And not just for the rider; Izzy really struggled to maintain his balance. I think it is called counter yielding in canter. Sean cautioned me not to over do it. A couple of repetitions during each ride would be sufficient to help Izzy learn to better balance himself.
The other day, I exchanged emails with a reader who is an endurance rider [Hi, April D.!). I told her that while I don’t miss endurance racing, I wouldn’t trade those years for anything. The same is true of my dressage journey. As hard as it is, and even though I feel like I struggle more than most, I wouldn’t trade the struggle because then I wouldn’t learn nearly as much. Every trainer with whom I’ve worked has taught me something new.
Like I said, things have been anything but boring.