Sometimes it is confusing to understand at which level (training and understanding) each of us is at. My writing is often pretty bad and I'm always a bit worried people won't even be able to read it...even less understand what I meant...
Originally Posted by netg
...and agreed on only leg yielding a few steps at first. It helps your horse keep FORWARD, which is important. Not forward in speed of steps, but in energy and stepping up under herself.
This is true and important. But the exercice I was thinking of was more focused on the 'control' of the horse ie : Now you go straigh, now you yield, now straight and yield again and so on, on the whole diagonal. Then she could think of ''zig-zagging'' and/or adding half pass.
Since the OP said her leg yielding was pretty good, this exercice should take her to a step further and help her control her aids.
Also OP, leg yielding is not a lateral movement per say. The lateral movements are only the shoulder-in, travers, renvers and half-pass.
I find it interesting that a discussion about canter has not mentioned leads. Let's say you're on the left rein, OP. Am I right in saying that you will swing your right leg back to ask for a left lead canter? Preferably as the right rear is coming forward? And this hasn't caused problems until applying your right leg behind the girth was used for leg yielding to the left? And what, if anything, were you doing with your hands? So indeed, this could be understandably confusing to your horse. If you wish to continue to ask for canter in the above way, you will have to have split second timing and coordination of your aids with the the horses legs. And yes, I have known upper level riders -including a former Olymlpic coach - who do swing the leg back for canter (watch riders doing 1 tempis). But, as someone else so aptly said, you don't ride with one leg. If you give a quick, short outside leg swing, you will also have to use inside leg and keep the outside rein to prevent the horse from going left. The trick is all in timing, timing, timing.
Okay, I have a question. I have a 13 yr old arabian mare. This winter we have been working on improving our lateral work. Her leg yields, shoulders-in, an haunches-in have drastically improved but this week, she is taking my canter aids very literally, and once we start to canter she wants to leg yield over. When I try to correct her to go straight she gets offended and flustered. I am sitting straight and stop asking for the canter with my outside leg back as soon as she transitions up. I know that without video it is hard to say, but has anyone run into this before? My next lesson is in two weeks and my trainer that i work occasionally isn't easily reachable.
In addition to the posts you've received, I'd suggest that you not worry too much about this. If you've been working on lateral work, your smart Crabbet horse might just be anticipating. If she starts to leg yield at the canter, simply check your seat and leg aids to be sure you're not asking for it, then leg yield back to the rail. Do a bending counter-canter line. Start asking off the rail, such as on the quarterline or diagonal or circle. There are high level dressage riders who ask for the canter with the outside aids (leg and rein) - using "parallel aids". It's not just saddle-seat. The biggest things to remember are: don't stifle, just redirect her when she's doing something you're not asking for and make sure you are doing different things when asking for leg yield/lateral work and canter. I agree that "thinking" the difference goes along way because we tend to do slightly different things with our bodies when we're "thinking" a movement. Actually, you could also try asking for canter and then a leg yield in one direction for a few strides and a leg yield back in the other direction to clarify the aids for your mare.
Just wanted to give an update. We had some good rides last week and then a very good lesson.We had been working towards using a bit more contact and she was feeling trapped and evading going sideways. So I have to been careful to try to find a happy medium between her idea of light contact, and more of a working contact. She also feels she has a right to veto, and I have to be careful to not let her get to the point were she feels pressured, because then she will evade and be a bit naughty.