Tag Archives: warmup

Lets Look at Leg Yielding – 9 Top Tips to help you make use of this strengthening exercise.


The aim of leg yielding: To demonstrate the suppleness and lateral responsiveness of the Horse.

Leg-yielding is performed in Working trot in FEI Competitions.

What is looks like

The Horse is almost straight, except for a slight flexion at the poll away from the direction in which it moves, so that the rider is just able to see the eyebrow and nostril on the inside. The inside legs pass and cross in front of the outside legs.

Leg-yielding is preparatory work for more complex movements and is a good first step in strengthening the horses back muscles. It should be included in the training of the horse before it is ready for Collected work. Later on, together with the more advanced shoulder-in movement.

It is the best means of making a horse supple, loose and unconstrained for and a will prepare the horse to move with freedom, elasticity and regularity of its paces bringing lightness and ease in its movements.

Leg yielding can be performed “on the diagonal” in which case the Horse should be as nearly as possible parallel to the long sides of the arena, although the forehand should be slightly in advance of the hindquarters. It can also be performed “along the wall” in which case the Horse should be at an angle of about thirty five (35) degrees to the direction in which he is moving.

How to Execute the Leg Yield (tracking right)

  1. Start in Working Trot, sitting
  2. When approaching the long side, half halt
  3. Shift weight to left seat bone
  4. Apply the left leg behind the girth – actively pushing sideways each time the left hind lifts and starts a forward/sideways step
  5. Right rein guides the direction of travel and prevents bulging of the right shoulder
  6. Right leg continues forward movement and prevents rushing away from the left leg
  7. Apply left rein for slight flexion – this is the last aid and is applied lightly
  8. Straighten and ride forward
  9. Please note that the horse is ridden straight between the reins.

Many variations of this exercise can be used to assist in preparation for more advanced lateral movement. If you are unfamiliar with the leg yield aids, you can practice this exercise at the walk to familiarize yourself with the appropriate application and timing of your aids. This exercise can be executed along the rail or on the inside of the arena as well.

Purpose of the Leg Yield

This movement is the precursor to the shoulder-in and half pass seen in the more advanced tests. The horse should remain supple and relaxed during the execution of this movement.

To supple the horse

To assist with initial straightening for other more advanced movements

Each of the above reasons relates to confirmation of or improvement of the horse’s balance. Half halts can be used as needed so long as appropriate releases and praise are used.

It is also a good exercise in warm up executed with the horse in a long low outline particularly where a horse is broken in the neck and tends to over bend and, therefore, is avoiding coming through along his top line.

Common Errors in Execution

  • Horse does not remain straight
  • Horse leads with hind quarters
  • Rider applies too much inside rein & not enough supporting rein
  • Horse is too steep sideways due to not enough forward driving aids.


Ever Wondered Why? – Words about Warming UP


Have you ever thought about how you move after you have been sitting still for a long time. (hopefully reading all the interesting tips on this Horse Scout Bog!) Everything is just a little bit stiff and can be a little bit cold. (well certainly this is true at my age); but that aside any muscles which have been inactive are in a state of stasis and need waking up before you ask them questions.

Our horses are the same and by adding 20 minutes to your work time by warming your horse up effectively will reap its rewards in training progress and avoidance of injury.  Warm downs should also become an integral part of your routine too.

To understand why you need to warm your horse up before asking him to work in an outline or jump is simple.  Test out why yourself.  Put on some suitable footware and open your front door and start running (be aware of traffic and stay safe).  Result?

Yes you can run a fair way; and then what happens? Running is good for you but don’t approach your own fitness this way.  You will get out of breath first, then you will feel tired. If you continue to run you will get a build up of lactic acid in your muscles and they will cramp of become overly tired.  If you don’t stretch afterwards you will have sore stiff muscles within a couple of hours.

This is exactly what happens to your horse.

If you need help with creating a suitable routine then contact one of Horse Scouts trainers and arrange for some lessons.

However, there are some things you can do from the ground and Gillian Higgins, who is a sports and remedial therapist, BHS Senior Coach, anatomist, and founder of Horses Inside Out, has some brilliant graphics on her website using her painted horses to demonstrate exactly how effective a warm up routine is.

She says  “Your warm-up is so important for a number of different reasons,”. “First and foremost are the physiological reasons. Warming up your horse’s skeleton, joints and muscles is crucial to ensure he avoids injury and can perform to the best of his ability. Then, secondly are the behavioural and

psychological elements that get your horse switched on and listening to your aids. A good warm-up programme will help to tackle all of the above.”

To get your horse properly warmed up follow Gillian’s six step essential warm-up plan, covering how to:

1. Start with groundwork

2. Loosen him up

3. Get his blood flowing

4. Move his joints

5. Work his core

6. Get him listening