If you are seeking to do lateral work like haunches-in, shoulder-in and half passes, then you haven’t any choice but to get your pony to bend.
To do this successfully, here is an equation that you have to work with: Bend + Sideways = Engagement (where engagement means joint bending). As the pony bends his rear legs, his croup goes down while his forehand rises like an aeroplane at take off or a seesaw).
To get you going, I have 3 tips which may help determine if you’re getting your horse to bend correctly deriving the most benefits from lateral work.
Consider the horse’s hindquarters. Are they parallel to a wall whilst the rest is normal, as if you’re simply riding down a track? If so, he should be on a leg-yield in this shoulder-in position.
Consider the horse’s forehand. Is your horse’s front feet or shoulders pointed outward towards the wall, while everything else is normal like you’re simply riding down a track? If so, he should be on a leg yield in the haunches-in position.
Half pass is nothing more than a diagonal haunches-in. Therefore, the same principles that apply to haunches-in also apply to half passes. Check yourself by going right across the diagonal like you’re simply changing direction and then go haunches-in over 3 to 4 strides. Go back to straight. The critical point emerges as you straighten the horse. See if he rotated round his forehand to come back to the diagonal. If he probably did, he was not truly bending at half pass.
Without a doubt if you desire to advance your riding prospects this type of training is going to have to become part of your regular work out and whilst in the beginning it will be a challenge to some… let me affirm that there is nothing quite so pleasing as you suddenly realising that you have won.