There are many different reasons why leg-yielding is beneficial in any horse’s training programme and here is one of them: creating more even use of each hindleg.
I like to start it in-hand because the biggest benefit is when the rider can ask for leg-yield from the saddle with minimal aids. Strong use of legs contort the rider and often braces the horse’s back so the overall goodness of the exercise decreases.
The horse that learnt a movement in-hand, has a much easier job understanding the request from the saddle later and so the rider is able to act with more subtle aids.
The roles of the hind legs in the leg-yield
- Inside hind leg: flexes, crosses over and under (engages) and creates push
- Outside hind leg: carries weight, stabilises the weight
Performed in both directions and adjusted to the horse’s natural crookedness, it is a nice and relatively easy exercise to help the “pushing hind leg” develop more “carrying skills” and vice versa.
Also great exercise for riders to develop feel, coordination and body awareness (how it can communicate with the horse).