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FEBRUARY 2021 THE RIDER /25


with a pulsating pressure, rather than poking the horse with your knuckles or fin- gers.


Start the maneuver by Palm Partnership Training™ Building A Partnership With Your Horse Working In-Hand - Yeilding Left


By Lynn Palm. We’ve been discussing


tips (and in the next part of this series) for teaching your horse three in-hand maneu- vers that are extremely im- portant for the horse’s future from beginning work under saddle to advanced training. They are the forehand turn, turn on the haunches, and yielding. By teaching the horse these maneuvers on the ground, he will already be familiar with them when asked to do them under sad- dle.


You will learn how to


use your sight on the ground to evaluate the horse’s re- sponse to your commands and keep his body straight position during the maneu- ver. You will be able to apply these skills when you execute these maneuvers under saddle. Now I will give tips for


teaching your horse “yield- ing to the left”. For those readers who


are just joining this series, I’ll repeat some important tips to prepare you to teach this lesson. As with all of in-hand lessons, outfit your horse with a properly fitting halter, with a longe line at- tached, and leg protection. For this lesson attach the longe line on the halter’s side ring on the side you are leading. Like other in-hand les-


sons, I recommend intro- ducing it in a smaller secure area like an enclosed pad- dock or round pen. I’ll de-


scribe this lesson as if teach- ing it in a small paddock. Once your horse is solid in this lesson, you will be able to execute it anywhere. When starting this les-


son, practice it in the same spot each time. By doing this, the horse will be famil- iar with what you will be asking him to do. Once he is consistent, add additional spots until he can perform it anywhere within the train- ing location you are using.


In-Hand Lesson: Yield- ing-Left I consider my good


friend and Olympic dres- sage rider Jane Savoie one of today’s top female eques- trians. Through this series I’ve been introducing each maneuver with a definition from her wonderful books Cross Train Your Horse and More Cross Training.


I


want readers to appreciate how important each of these maneuvers are to their horse’s training, no matter what discipline they ride. Jane describes yielding


as a: “ …lateral movement in which the horse’s inside front leg and inside hind leg pass, and cross in front of, his hind legs. His spine is straight and he is [slightly] flexed at his poll in the op- posite direction from the way he is moving”. In other words, with


the horse staying straight the forehand and hindquarters work together so he can move laterally. This maneu- ver builds on the lesson


learned in the forehand turn, that is, moving away from pressure. I recommend using a


simple pattern to properly position your horse for yielding. Find a section of straight fence line that ends in a left hand corner or bend. Stand so that you are lead- ing your horse from his left side with him positioned be- tween you and a fence. You will be “tracking” or mov- ing to the horse’s left. Walk him straight


along the fence line and turn him through the left hand corner. Continue turning away from the fence, mak- ing a ½-circle to the left, until you are positioned in the middle of the paddock and facing in the opposite direction than you started. Ask him to whoa, making sure he is straight and square. Change longe line or lead and your position to the horse’s right side. You will be working from the right side for yielding left follow- ing a diagonal line back to- ward the fence. Stand close to your horse, facing him, between the middle of his neck to his shoulder. Hold the excess longe line in your left hand Extend your right hand


to lightly grasp the halter’s side ring, at the horse’s jaw, with just enough contact to guide the head. Do not hang on the halter or steer his head from underneath it! During the maneuver, use this hand to encourage him to move forward and very


slightly bend his head to- ward you (away from the di- rection he will be traveling). Extend your left hand


to apply the aid or “cue” for this maneuver to move the hindquarters laterally. The “target area” for this cue the same location we used in the turn on the forehand: the lower half of the horse’s barrel within a zone approx- imately 10 inches behind his heartgirth. This is where your lower leg contacts the horse’s lower barrel when your foot is in the stirrup. Be consistent where


you apply this cue! The cue is not given up high on the flank, up on his sides, or back on his hip. Look at your horse and find the tar- get area before staring this lesson. If your horse is sen- sitive to this touch, you may need to gently stroke him from his withers down to his shoulder to get him accus- tomed to the contact. Apply the cue using a cupped hand


extending your right hand and giving a “cluck” to ask the horse to walk forward and straight. If he is first learning this maneuver, very slightly bend his head to- ward you as you apply the cue with your left hand. Later, as he becomes more schooled in this maneuver, he will be able to do it with little or no bend. Use your peripheral vision to see if his right front and hind legs are crossing over the left front and hind legs while he stays straight in his topline. If he does not stay straight, bring him forward and straighten him using the right hand on his halter, be- fore asking again. When the horse moves


laterally, lighten the pres- sure and follow his move- ment


as he moves


diagonally toward the fence. If he does not respond vi- brate the pressure with the right hand, to keep him moving forward with a slight bend, and with the left hand to ask him to move his hindquarters


laterally.


When he reaches the fence, finish the maneuver by ask- ing him for a few steps for- ward and straight alongside the fence. Ask him to whoa and praise him. Teaching this maneu-


ver is as much about learn- ing how to coordinate your


actions as a handler as teaching your horse to move laterally to your commands. Avoid the common


problem of standing too far away from the horse and not moving with him. In this position the handler will lag behind her horse and pull him out of the straight-line body position. Be precise where the cue is applied. If it is given too far behind the target area or too high on the flank, the horse will have the tendency to swing his hindquarters out or re- sist, rather than move later- ally. Don’t look down at the horse’s feet, but use your peripheral vision to monitor the horse’s topline to see if he is staying straight at the same time you note if he is crossing his front and hind legs properly.


Your Next Step… The goal is to keep the


horse forward and straight when teaching yielding. His forehand (head, neck, front legs, shoulders) should be straight with his body and hindquarters working together to move laterally. Always start this maneuver by walking forward and straight first, before asking for any lateral movement!


Here are the key points to remember when teaching “yielding”: 1. Look up at the topline… so you can evaluate your horse’s body position and responsiveness to your cues.


2. Keep the horse forward… by extending your arm and moving with him. If you find that you are moving too much sideways, pick a point on the fence or put up a marker in a diagonal line from your starting point. Keep your horse moving forward and laterally as you aim for this point.


3. Always face your horse and move with him…if you are asking for yielding to the left, cross your right leg over your left (and vice versa) to help you move with him.


4. Watch so his hips don’t swing out away from you… this is a telltale sign that you are cueing him incorrectly.


5. Relax… it takes some practice to coordinate both you and your horse’s move- ments in this maneuver. Be patient. When beginning this lesson only do a few steps of this maneuver at a time,


the walk straight


ahead for a few steps, stop and reposition the aids for the maneuver, and ask again. Build up until you can easily yield from the middle of the paddock back to the fence. With practice your horse will yield on command without the need for the fence. Praise your horse when he responds to your request. Until then, follow your


dreams…


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