I had the opportunity to ride this afternoon – and it was wonderful. The weather cooperated beautifully and my horse behaved well – she has such a fantastic attitude. I spent time schooling (practicing) transitions between walk/trot and walk/canter today and did a bit of half pass in the trot. Half pass is a sideways movement where the horse is looking in the direction she is moving. Leg yield is another sideways movement where the horse is looking the opposite direction than she is moving in. Both of these are performed with English saddles. In Western riding, there is a similar movement called the side pass – but it is different. Half pass and leg yield involve the horse moving forward and sideways at the same time, while side pass involves the horse moving directly sideways (with no forward movement). Side pass can be used in ranch work. Half pass and leg yield are really movements with a training purpose – and are used less for actual farm work (with cattle, for example). Originally, movements like leg yield and half pass may have been used by the Ancient Greek civilization and later by US Cavalry for movements at war – since that was how dressage was developed. Only military members were allowed to compete in dressage competitions in the Olympics until 1936.
I haven’t competed in years – but I still always train like I am preparing for a competition – I like my horse to be in top condition. Right now, after a winter break, she’s just a bit overweight – but we’re working on that. Hopefully, she will be fit and trim again soon.