Demystifying the Leg Yield

Recently, on the Amelia’s Dressage Club FB page, someone asked the following question… “Which seat bone do you place your weight on in the saddle when asking the horse to leg yield?” This is the million-dollar question about the leg yield and it turns out everyone had an opinion! There were about 150 comments on this one post debating the correct way to leg yield. So it was definitely time to do a video on demystify the leg yield for once and for all by demonstrating BOTH ways, and seeing which you think is the better one!

First, think about the trot. It needs to be a nice swinging working trot with good rhythm, suppleness and impulsion before we start asking for the leg yield.

The argument for outside seat bone is that you’re putting your weight where you want the horse to go, and hoping that they will follow in that direction.

The argument for the inside seat bone is that you’re pushing the horse in the direction you want to go.

Want to know the truth? Both of the above are wrong! Both options are too extreme. When we’re riding, we want as much as possible to stay in BALANCE.

When I execute a leg yield, I do it in two parts.

1. I push them over

2. I get myself straight above them

I’m moving the horse over and then recalibrating. We don’t want to be leaning to either side. We want to be balanced as much as possible. Any weight distribution needs to be very subtle, NOT the way I have demonstrated.

When I am doing or teaching a leg yield, here is the exact aids that I use (for leg yield to the left).

  • Right Leg
  • A little more weight on my right seat bone.
  • Left rein

The reason I like doing it this way is that I am trying to get the right hind leg to cross over underneath his body and connect to the left rein.

If you are leaning to the left in your leg yield, you’ll get his shoulder to move over but your leg will drift up and it will be difficult to give an aid with it.

If you’re having difficulty moving the shoulder over, then slight weight on the outside seat bone would be better for you, but if it’s the hind that you can’t move over then the inside seat bone you weight.

As with everything in dressage, the answer is highly case-sensitive and depends on your horse. But also always in dressage, we rely a lot on feel and what feels and works best for each horse we ride. Your aids can change for different horses, different directions, and different moments.

At the end of the day, it’s a leg yield, not a weight yield or a lean yield, so you want the horse to be moving off your leg!

Watch the video where I demonstrate everything on Leo and let me know if you find it helpful.

Thanks for watching and happy riding!


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