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My horse just cannot figure out how to move her haunches for lateral movements

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  • My horse just cannot figure out how to move her haunches for lateral movements

    I'm working on leg yields, and my darling mare seems to have very little idea that her haunches even exist.

    I know that connection and throughness are very important for lateral work. We have made great progress in this area over the past winter.

    We can get a couple or few good, straight first steps in a LY but after that, the shoulders begin moving laterally much faster than the haunches. Then we lose the connection and I abort mission into a 10-m circle.

    I really feel like the key is going to be getting this mare more aware of her haunches. She is a draftx, so she is not super "reactive" and it has been a long journey to get her in front of the leg and reaching into the connection. I have been working on turn on forehand with her (both from ground and mounted) and she can do it, but it's pretty slow as far as her reaction from when I cue with the leg, to when she takes a sideways step. I have tried to work on sidepassing down the arena wall, but that is super frustrating for both of us.

    I would love advice on excercises, things to try, and ways my position might be hindering her. (Yes, I work weekly with an instructor.)

    Thank you!

  • #2
    I would try a couple things, first, if you get a couple steps that are correct don't ask for more, go straight for a few strides THEN ask again. Slowly you can string more together. Another thought is to have someone on the ground with a whip reinforcing your leg aid to help her put all the pieces together.

    Good luck...

    Comment


    • #3
      Has your instructor tried teaching her in hand?
      (this is usually very effective at teaching awareness)

      Comment


      • #4
        Will she move her haunches away from your hand pressure in the cross ties.

        Will she do leg yield in hand?
        Janet

        chief feeder and mucker for Music, Spy, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now).

        Comment


        • #5
          Try this it really helped me out.

          Go straight down center line and do a few steps of shouder in the way that you will be lyding so if you ly left put the shoukders right...

          Do the shoulder in then go back to straight and THEN try ly and see what happens.

          Worked like a charm for me
          ~~Member of the TB's Rule Clique ~~
          http://www.off-breed-dressage.blogspot.com/

          Comment


          • #6
            If she can do turn on the forehand properly then she knows how to move her haunches. When you ask for LY how are you moving her shoulders? Perhaps she is interpreting your aids are a request for turn on the haunches!

            Reexamine your aids, or have your instructor watch to see where things are going wrong.

            In any case I would not abort into a circle of any dimensions. I would as suggested before straighten and renew my request. Having to straighten and ride forward for a few steps before asking again is very common. Another trick is to start asking by riding 3 feet from the wall and asking for LY, and then progressively as understanding builds widening the distance to the quarter, then to the center line.
            Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.

            Remember the horse does all the work, we just sit there and look pretty.

            Comment


            • #7
              Does she cross up and under in the TOF or just step sideways with her outside leg, and then move the inside over to meet it?
              Freeing worms from cans everywhere!

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by islgrl View Post
                I would try a couple things, first, if you get a couple steps that are correct don't ask for more, go straight for a few strides THEN ask again.
                This is what I do when I'm working on leg yields, particularly when they're new to the horse. Straighten before it falls apart, and then start fresh.
                "In order to really enjoy a dog, one doesn’t merely train him to be semi-human. The point of it is to open oneself to the possibility of becoming part dog."
                -Edward Hoagland

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by islgrl View Post
                  if you get a couple steps that are correct don't ask for more, go straight for a few strides THEN ask again. Slowly you can string more together.
                  This. Remember, it is much more beneficial to do a few steps of an exercise properly and well than to do lots of them badly. It takes strength and balance to do a long stretch of lateral steps, and she probably doesn't have that yet.
                  "Winter's a good time to stay in and cuddle,
                  but put me in summer and I'll be a... happy snowman!!!"

                  Trolls be trollin'! -DH

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Turn on the forehand will really help her figure out her haunches.

                    A friend on the ground can also help her "get" leg yield by poking her haunches/thigh with the butt of a whip to keep them moving sideways at the walk. This can reinforce your leg aids and hopefully get her to associate your LY aids with stepping underneath herself.

                    I agree - praise the few good steps and stop there. She'll get it!

                    Comment

                    • Original Poster

                      #11
                      Thanks everybody!

                      Maybe I am expecting too much. I will work on a few steps and then straighten.

                      I will also get a ground person to reinforce my aids. This is a really great idea.

                      You all are very helpful! Thanks!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I used to have the same issues with my horse at first. I second the notion of trying for a few steps, then go straight. Another thing that can help is to turn down quarterline and then yield to the closer of the two sides of the arena. That way you are doing a smaller amount of leg yield, not necessarily trying to go across the whole arena.

                        I also found that my horse did a better job of it when we had good forward movement, a rhythmic and related walk or trot AND some understanding of half halt.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          An exercise that helped one of my clients with her draft cross mare who also struggled to get her hind end over was to head across the diagonal and then leg yeild over.

                          For example heading from H to F, then asking the horse to flex right, and leg yeild left towards B. I think it helped because the horse has a natural inclination to get back to the wall, and with this exercise with haunches have further to go.
                          Freeing worms from cans everywhere!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by ArabDiva View Post
                            I'm working on leg yields, and my darling mare seems to have very little idea that her haunches even exist.

                            I know that connection and throughness are very important for lateral work. We have made great progress in this area over the past winter.

                            We can get a couple or few good, straight first steps in a LY but after that, the shoulders begin moving laterally much faster than the haunches. Then we lose the connection and I abort mission into a 10-m circle.

                            I really feel like the key is going to be getting this mare more aware of her haunches. She is a draftx, so she is not super "reactive" and it has been a long journey to get her in front of the leg and reaching into the connection. I have been working on turn on forehand with her (both from ground and mounted) and she can do it, but it's pretty slow as far as her reaction from when I cue with the leg, to when she takes a sideways step. I have tried to work on sidepassing down the arena wall, but that is super frustrating for both of us.

                            I would love advice on excercises, things to try, and ways my position might be hindering her. (Yes, I work weekly with an instructor.)

                            Thank you!
                            Turn on the forehand is the start. I had same issue, mare just 'wouldn't' get it this spring when it came to leg yields though. She was shaky to the right and oblivious to the left. lol.

                            I got a tad frustrated, left it alone for a few days and took her back to a large circle. sounds stupid, but I basically dropped the inside rein (yes I hear you all screaming in horror), all I concentrated on was inside leg to outside shoulder while weighting my outside seat bone, on every forward step of her outside shoulder.

                            I made it a game to see how long I could stop her from collapsing onto her inside shoulder. In about 20 minutes, I could keep her there with passive legs and just sitting on my outside seatbone both ways.

                            it was kinda cool (well for me) - this mare loves... to collapse towards the gate in the ring.

                            next day.. perfect leg yields. I just went about it in a horrible incorrect way. but eh.. it worked.

                            Although I think it mainly worked because I didn't worry about anything but pushing to that outside rein, and sitting correctly, I think I was working so hard before I was actually preventing her from getting it, because I using my inside leg to much, I was collapsing onto my inside hip and telling her to go 2 ways at once.. I'd have ignored me to
                            Originally posted by ExJumper
                            Sometimes I'm thrown off, sometimes I'm bucked off, sometimes I simply fall off, and sometimes I go down with the ship. All of these are valid ways to part company with your horse.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              "I think I was working so hard before I was actually preventing her from getting it, because I using my inside leg to much, I was collapsing onto my inside hip and telling her to go 2 ways at once.. I'd have ignored me to"

                              I had the same thing happen!! I had noticeably better leg yields when I worked on lighter aids combined with better timing.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                It usually is ..us!

                                Ride on!!!
                                Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.

                                Remember the horse does all the work, we just sit there and look pretty.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  I can't add to the tip you have already received, but did want to say that her breed has nothing to do with it. I know an imported WB mare sired by one of the world's top dressage sires (many offspring at international GP, including Olympic competitors and contenders), she is sensitive and a bit hot and reactive but has a lot of "try" in her, and she had a devil of a time figuring out half pass - even with a good trainer aboard. It took quite some time - months and months and months - to get a consistently decent half pass in both directions. Meanwhile, she was doing shoulder in, haunches in, turns on the haunches, walk pirouettes, flying changes, etc., with no problem...

                                  Comment

                                  • Original Poster

                                    #18
                                    Originally posted by rainechyldes View Post
                                    Turn on the forehand is the start. I had same issue, mare just 'wouldn't' get it this spring when it came to leg yields though. She was shaky to the right and oblivious to the left. lol.

                                    I got a tad frustrated, left it alone for a few days and took her back to a large circle. sounds stupid, but I basically dropped the inside rein (yes I hear you all screaming in horror), all I concentrated on was inside leg to outside shoulder while weighting my outside seat bone, on every forward step of her outside shoulder.

                                    I made it a game to see how long I could stop her from collapsing onto her inside shoulder. In about 20 minutes, I could keep her there with passive legs and just sitting on my outside seatbone both ways.

                                    it was kinda cool (well for me) - this mare loves... to collapse towards the gate in the ring.

                                    next day.. perfect leg yields. I just went about it in a horrible incorrect way. but eh.. it worked.

                                    Although I think it mainly worked because I didn't worry about anything but pushing to that outside rein, and sitting correctly, I think I was working so hard before I was actually preventing her from getting it, because I using my inside leg to much, I was collapsing onto my inside hip and telling her to go 2 ways at once.. I'd have ignored me to
                                    I love this. sometimes when the 'right way' isn't working, ya gotta get creative.

                                    I especially love that last paragraph. I have a feeling that's what I'm doing.

                                    I can't wait to go ride today and try some of the things that have been shared here.

                                    Thanks everyone!

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Since the horse IS doing the first steps it is the RIDER who is not understanding how to continue.

                                      When the shoulders start to lead (on the diagonal) the inside (hand) has taken over. So, go the first couple of strides (are you using inside leg PULSING closer to the girth, asking the horse to chew inside hand?), and then go straight ahead from the outside aids (which should already be there).

                                      IF you are going to 'abort the LY' then at least do into onto a 10 the OTHER way.

                                      What happens if you do LY head to the wall? There you can control straightness, have less angle, etc. Why side passing? The horse losses the forward there.

                                      Getting a horse in front of the leg is fairly easily IF you have the horse up and open. If it is down and closed, there is a problem.

                                      In a toF in hand the whip can speed the horse up, but it should NOT be fast, but balanced (up and open).

                                      PULSE the aids, you inside leg has to be used as the horse is to move the inside hind. SIT in the MIDDLE, no leaning onto one seat bone or another.

                                      Most of the time when a horse has a problem with travers (half pass) the rider who started them either used LY too much or with incorrectly placed aids. Travers is easily taught on a circle, but must be proceeded with shoulder control (i.e. shoulder fore, shoulder in, renvers)
                                      I.D.E.A. yoda

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by ideayoda View Post
                                        What happens if you do LY head to the wall? There you can control straightness, have less angle, etc. Why side passing? The horse losses the forward there.


                                        PULSE the aids, you inside leg has to be used as the horse is to move the inside hind. SIT in the MIDDLE, no leaning onto one seat bone or another.

                                        This. A dressage trainer taught me years ago to teach basic leg yielding with head-to-wall. Start at the walk on a slight angle (say 25-30 degrees) and as you approach the rail, bump with your leg to ask the body to move, while maintaining outside rein to keep the shoulders straight. The horse will naturally want to turn, straighten and go along the rail-- keep the outside rein firm but flexible (halt if you have to stop the shoulders) and keep asking with your leg or gentle taps of the whip.

                                        The horse is likely to be confused and possibly frustrated at first, but as soon as he takes a sideways/under step with the inside hind, relax, reward and straighten. Swing off the rail, come back at the slight angle, and ask again; with the greenies, I try to get three honest steps under and then straighten and praise immediately. The steps will be slow in the beginning as the horse tries to sort out what you want and where its body is going. Be patient and clear in your aids, insistent but encouraging. The inside rein should be fairly passive, only used to keep the head pointed towards the rail; not much bend (if any), I prefer to have them fairly straight and only concentrate on moving away from the leg, not getting crooked.

                                        It's important to just ask for a few steps at a time, and proceed straight forward when the horse responds (don't ask for too much and frustrate him). Change directions, you'll find one side worse than the other. The wall will inhibit forward, meaning the horse can only go left or right; the horse will try to TURN straight, and it's your job to keep him at the proper angle. Beware that some horses get confused and claustrophobic, so take things slowly. If the horse starts to back up, check your own position-- do not lean forward! (Don't lean sideways, either...sit very tall, straight, and deep).
                                        “A clever person solves a problem. A wise person avoids it.”
                                        ? Albert Einstein

                                        ~AJ~

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