Barbara’s back and I had a great lesson today. We worked on leg yield. To get the horse to move over, he needs to be straight and you need to use your outside rein. It doesn’t make intuitive sense to half-halt the rein in the direction you want to go, but that’s what you need to do.
I thought I had PJ straight and was using my outside rein to keep him straight, then using my inside rein to keep him straight the other direction, but Barbara saw otherwise. I stopped, thought about it, and tried again. This time, I thought of him looking in the direction he was going instead of looking towards the inside, which is what you normally think of as leg yield. I also had been using my outside rein against the neck, which allowed him to evade the outside rein. I think in actuality, PJ was still bent to the inside, but the thought got me to really get him straight in front – no leading with his shoulders. I actually got some good crossing.
So, if you are having trouble leg yielding, think counter bend (bending in the direction of travel) and see if it helps. Just the thinking made the change and the fact that it felt different but wasn’t as different as I thought it was is why it worked.