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Losing momentum in lateral work

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  • Losing momentum in lateral work

    Willa is doing great at responding to lateral cues however she loses momentum and goes too much sideways. If I'm leg yielding to the left, for instance, I will flex her slightly right, slide my right leg back and she will start going sideways...but barely forward. So I activate my left leg at the girth. No response...just sideways. I've tried my usual tricks to keep her forward but she just seems confused she can keep her momentum and go forward AND sideways. She can do it beautifully in hand walk/trot so I'm losing something in translation. Anyone dealt with this? Any tips?
    Please excuse the typos...I'm always on my iPhone and autocorrect is not my friend. Yes I mean mares autocorrect...not mates.

  • #2
    I find this is common when a horse is learning something new - it's like they can only manage sideways or forward, but not both at the same time initially. My favorite way to fix this is to ask for a few steps of whatever lateral movement you are working on, then go straight into a big, really forward trot for maybe half the arena, then come back to working trot and ask for a few more steps of lateral movement. Rinse and repeat and eventually they will be able to combine forward and sideways.


    • #3
      Try switching to your outside seat bone and look in that direction.

      When we push the horse sideways it is much more difficult for them to go forward. Leg yield is the only time you'll be on the outside seat bone. Teaches us how to use our seat bones independently.
      “Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.”
      ? Albert Einstein


      • #4
        Ummm....both legs stay at the girth in a leg yield... ask Conrad Schumacher or any other German master.
        "Where knowledge ends violence begins." B. Ljundquist


        • #5
          Hips and seat

          You are possibly focusing so much on the sideways, that you are forgetting to keep your hips and seat moving forward, as well as sideways.

          Yes, LY to the left needs a slight flexion right, the right leg should not slide back, that would encourage the hips to lead. The outside leg is a guarding leg, keeping the horse straight and blocking too much sideways.
          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.


          • #6
            be sure to check the timing of your sideways driving aides-if you are ly from left to right the sideways aides should be applied in rhythm as the RF comes forward (easiest way to manage it). If she is confused--do a little sideways then FORWARD and repeat they eventually figure out how to coordinate the movement. It helped my guy a little to sit to the inside of the direction of the movement at first then gradually more centered. Also be sure you are starting the movement correctly---I think its easiest if you start the movement across the diagonal by first pointing their nose straight in the direction you are are headed--then asking them to step into the outside rein (direction of the LY) using your coordinated sideways driving aides/half-halts.
            Redbud Ranch
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            • #7
              What happens if you activate your right leg to initiate it, then switch to a passive right leg?
              chaque pas est fait ensemble


              • #8
                Some thoughts on the subject:
                Are you pulsing the aid, or just parking it and pushing? Inside leg should be at or near(er) the girth. Touch/release the aid. If the horse falls too much sideward (into the outside rein) it will slow down over time. IF the horse looses momentum, the outside rein/leg ride the horse again straight on, and restart. (Like stair steps, do ly/go straight ahead/do ly/go straight/etc). If the horse is too low/closed this will make them even more slowed. For some horses LY put them onto the forehand, and it is not a good exercise. Generally the rider sits in the middle, but weighting the inside heel bulks the calf, and the horse moves away from it. (One sits to the inside according to flexion and always looks where the horse look, so away from movement in LY and into it in SI/T/R/HP).

                Have you done LY head to the wall? The wall funnels the horse into the outside rein, but clarity from the inside leg (the one on the wall) can be more brisk (supported by the whip).

                Do the exercise is walk first, feel the belly swing, coordinate with the hind leg. In trot try timing the aids while on the wrong diagonal. Try it from the 3/4 line to the wall after doing it head to the wall first.
                I.D.E.A. yoda


                • #9
                  Posted by not again:

                  Ummm....both legs stay at the girth in a leg yield... ask Conrad Schumacher or any other German master.
                  This is *technically* true because in the leg yield the rider is only asking for some sideways movement but the body of the horse stays straight. There is no required bend through the horse's body in the leg yield, so no need for the outside leg to be behind the girth to create bending through the body.


                  • #10
                    Just do a few steps, then straight and refresh. The same when you start true lateral - with bend - such as shoulder in. A few steps, then straight. Also remember - don't just lay your pushing leg on, keep it moving in time to the hind leg.

                    I disagree that both legs should always be at exactly the same place at the girth - you may need to go back, but only a fraction! to help activate the inside leg to move over. If you go back too much, everything stalls out. The outside leg catches the haunches if they get ahead of the shoulders. The outside rein helps catch the shoulders. You have to put the leg where it is needed, so you have to assess what is going on w/ the horse - both legs equally at the girth may be appropriate, or there may need to be some shift, depending on where the horse's body is, and what it is doing.

                    I like spiral in, leg yield out on a circle - it helps the horse remember to move sideways, while the rider (us!) remembers to ride the circle (forward).


                    • #11
                      Its just from an aid being given and the horse doesnt understand it as forward and sideways no biggie above said it right do straight a few steps very forward and prepare better with more forward so that you have the momemntum to start.

                      I would do three steps then cluck cluck forward then three steps and so on until the horse understands not to lose it.
                      ~~Member of the TB's Rule Clique ~~


                      • #12
                        Perhaps try stair steps?

                        Two steps over, four steps straight ahead, two steps over, four steps straight ahead.

                        If you practice lengthening and shortening going straight awhile you can see about lengthening and shortening in your legyield as it gets more confirmed.

                        Keep doing one crisp aid per stride rather than the bulldozer.

                        Just some ideas to try! Good luck!
                        The Noodlehttp://tiny.cc/NGKmT&http://tiny.cc/gioSA
                        Boy Wonderhttp://tiny.cc/G9290
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                        • Original Poster

                          This is so interesting! I have been taught by all my trainers my leg moves slightly behind the girth in a leg yield! So I read this and was horrified I'd been doing it wrong! But I started whipping open my trusty books from Reiner Klimke, Jane Savoie, Ingrid Klimke, Walter Zettle...all say to place the leg slightly behind the girth. I then googled it and everything says to place the leg slightly behind the girth. I'm curious as to the reasoning some on this thread say to keep it at the girth. I thought the point of sliding it back was to ask the horse to step over with the hind. Interesting!

                          I will try some of the exercises you guys suggested! I've been doing the staircase and only asking for one or two steps then forward then one or two steps then forward. She responds great but still loses that momentum as she does the 1-2 steps over. Perhaps she's just one who needs more time then most. I just want to make sure I'm not missing something with her! She's so smart and willing and my experience with her is that if she's not doing it she's just confused! Thanks!!
                          Please excuse the typos...I'm always on my iPhone and autocorrect is not my friend. Yes I mean mares autocorrect...not mates.


                          • Original Poster

                            I forgot to answer the questions! I do pulsate my leg as the inside hind is coming up and over. Ask, release, ask, release. I'm playing with when and how I activate my left leg for forward. I'm trying to activate it before we lose momentum, I've tried once we lost momentum and I've tried pulsating at the girth as well as a steady pressure. So far the response is the same! LOL As soon as she responds with forward we've lost sideways.
                            Please excuse the typos...I'm always on my iPhone and autocorrect is not my friend. Yes I mean mares autocorrect...not mates.


                            • #15
                              I tend to ride with both of my legs behind the girth once I have a horse understanding what the leg means and is bending through the body correctly, so on the girth is relative. I actually have transferred my on the girth aids up into my hands by then. I don't know if that makes sense to you, but by then I am working with my hips and the horse's hips.

                              The most important thing is for you, the rider, to understand that you must explain it to the horse, the horse must understand what you want, and then you both can practice making it smooth.

                              Right .


                              • #16
                                I think people meant not to bring the leg way back slightly behind is far different from what MOST of us end up doing in the lY.

                                I know my own leg goes onto the rump if not careful LOL
                                ~~Member of the TB's Rule Clique ~~


                                • #17
                                  I do start out with using the inside leg on the girth with green horses.

                                  But that is only to teach them to bend away from the aid. So, I teach the horse to move away from the pressure by bending away from it.

                                  So, teach that, and then work on your forward gaits and then ad in the sideways bending away from aid. Forward, then bend away. The minute you loose momentum, go forward ... then ask for the horse to bend and move away (to the side).

                                  A few strides to the side, or even one, praise and forward ....


                                  • #18
                                    Lots of horses will actually trip over their own back feet or get them tangled (in front of the other leg, or behind, behind meaning they have lost all forward movement) ..... turn on the forehand allows them to practice this stuff without feeling like they can trip.


                                    • Original Poster

                                      Thanks! She has an awesome turn-on-the-forehand and is incredibly quick to respond. She was taught one step per leg cue. She'll do one step or a dozen and stops when you stop asking. She's better at the walk for her leg yield but still likes to lose the oomph and slow way down...causing us to go mostly sideways and only slight forward. The trot is more drastic. If she doesnt respond at all I always go back to a TOF or head-to-wall leg yield to get her thinking about moving away from my leg. Then we try the leg yield again and she'll do it right away...just too much sideways!
                                      Please excuse the typos...I'm always on my iPhone and autocorrect is not my friend. Yes I mean mares autocorrect...not mates.


                                      • #20
                                        I rarely put my inside leg back when I ask for a leg yield. I need it at the girth to help the horse understand to go forward while cuing the inside leg to step under the horse.

                                        I'm not surprised your horse lacks forward momentum. It takes a lot of muscle to carry themselves forward and step under the body with the hind leg. This is the purpose of leg yield - to get the horse to carry more weight with the hind legs and really articulate those joints.

                                        Start small - as some of the others have said forward a few steps and then sideways. Be happy with slightly sideways and more forward to start with. At least then you know he is developing the proper muscles and in time will be strong enough to cross over more and carry even more weight.

                                        Good luck!