How do I turn a leg yield into a half pass? International Grand Prix Dressage rider and trainer Joanna Fisher reveals the secret of success!
I know the frustration when schooling a young horse, when the rider wants to turn a good leg yield into a decent halfpass. So starting with the leg yield, I would recommend training this from the three quarter line towards the track so you have a reference of the angle you are achieving and also gives the horse something to aim for. Let’s concentrate with leg yield right.
Starting from the centre line I would encourage crossing using my left rein and left leg. The left rein crossing over the centre line (spine is our centre line) and left leg. It’s important the left rein is used in a forward crossing movement and not back towards the riding blocking.
Once this is established one can start asking for half pass.
There are two ways to achieve this.
You can either use your right turn onto the centre line to get the bend in the neck and body, by riding around the corner with a strong inside leg, maintaining this bend with inside leg (right leg) you then continue with the outside rein and outside leg (left rein and leg), but there is a high chance the bend will disappear!
If this happens you can move to plan B, which would be to move the horse back into the shoulder in right (right leg and left rein) and then asking again with outside rein and outside leg. Once again repetition is necessary…
This becomes an exercise in itself, of shoulder in- into half pass- shoulder in- into half pass and repeat until the horse can maintain the neck and body bend.
It might be necessary to ask for slight right bend during the half pass, but remember never to cross the right hand over the centre line otherwise in theory you are reining the horse back over to the left!
The ultimate goal is to have a light inside rein and the body bend created by the initial inside leg, is maintained throughout the movement.
Remember when training a new movement to keep the trot rhythmical and slow. There is no rush! It can take weeks to establish this, but once the horse gets the idea you can then make a stronger angle and better crossing. Good luck!
Joanna has written a collection of children’s books based on her horses over the years.
It has been published by award winning Candy Jar books and currently available in Waterstones and being read in schools. Click here to link to her website: www.stablegossip.com