How do you know that your horse is actually crossing his legs?
 
 

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How do you know that your horse is actually crossing his legs?

This is a discussion on How do you know that your horse is actually crossing his legs? within the Dressage forums, part of the English Riding category

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    • 2 Post By equitate
    • 2 Post By equitate
    • 1 Post By disastercupcake

     
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        02-05-2014, 04:10 PM
      #1
    Weanling
    How do you know that your horse is actually crossing his legs?

    Without someone standing on the ground and telling you if he is indeed crossing his legs, how can a rider, who mostly rides alone and without mirrors (there are windows that if you get in front of just right, you can see your outline) if your horse is crossing undersaddle?

    I'm starting to school the shoulder-in a bit more insistently. We were only doing one or two steps of a shoulder-in at a corner, or on a circle; staying bent on the arc, and move the haunches under, step over one or two times, continue on arc.

    I'm relatively certain he does cross over for those one or two steps, but after that, I feel like I have to guide him more, and that he loses it.

    Also, where should I be looking for a shoulder in? I always look in the direction of travel, but sometimes that can throw my shoulder in a different direction.
         
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        02-05-2014, 09:26 PM
      #2
    Trained
    I imagine the answer lies in having someone on the ground to help you by saying "yes, it's crossing" so that you can feel it. Then you can apply this feeling alone.
         
        02-05-2014, 10:49 PM
      #3
    Trained
    His shoulders go where your shoulders go. For shoulder-in, your seat/legs/hips are straight while your shoulders bend to the degree you want his off the track. As for knowing if he is actually moving his shoulders off the track or cheating with just his neck, you really do need to either video yourself or get someone on the ground to tell you yes or no until you can feel the difference. If your horse is only holding it for a step or two, that may just be all he can do for now. Just make a circle and come back around for a few more steps before straightening and moving on. Lots of smaller successful attempts are better than a big train wreck down the long side.
         
        02-05-2014, 10:56 PM
      #4
    Weanling
    Ideally you have someone on the ground, or a mirror to look at you. But remember this: a shoulder fore is on 2 1/2 tracks (a viewer can see the inside hind between the forelegs), and is it a 'bite' (the first step) of a 20 m circle ridden straight ahead. A shoulder in is on three tracks (a viewer cannot see the inside hind as it is hidden behind the outside fore), at it has the bend of a 10m circles. And a shoulder in (on four tracks) has more bend and is the bend of a 6m volte.

    That said, the hind legs do NOT cross, only the forelegs.

    If the horse is losing the even bend, ask why? Is the horse bending only in the neck? Then the control of the outside rein has been lost. So ask where is the energy from the inside leg (which is closer to the girth)? Or where is the outside leg (is it stretched down/back)? Where are you looking? (Between the ears?) Where is your chest pointed (Between the ears?)

    Ideally ride a circle in the corner before starting, start the sf (or si) as if you were starting the circle, continue for a few stride, ride another circle. Better a few steps well then many and losing the bend/balance.

    Also, try doing some shoulder in on a circle in hand, it will allow you to see the degee of bending/engagement and REACTIONS from the inside whip (hand) near the girth. PULSE the aid (as you would the leg) so that the horse learns to REACT with the movement of the inside hind.
    ~*~anebel~*~ and picup436 like this.
         
        02-06-2014, 12:07 AM
      #5
    Weanling
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by equitate    
    Ideally you have someone on the ground, or a mirror to look at you. But remember this: a shoulder fore is on 2 1/2 tracks (a viewer can see the inside hind between the forelegs), and is it a 'bite' (the first step) of a 20 m circle ridden straight ahead. A shoulder in is on three tracks (a viewer cannot see the inside hind as it is hidden behind the outside fore), at it has the bend of a 10m circles. And a shoulder in (on four tracks) has more bend and is the bend of a 6m volte.

    That said, the hind legs do NOT cross, only the forelegs.

    If the horse is losing the even bend, ask why? Is the horse bending only in the neck? Then the control of the outside rein has been lost. So ask where is the energy from the inside leg (which is closer to the girth)? Or where is the outside leg (is it stretched down/back)? Where are you looking? (Between the ears?) Where is your chest pointed (Between the ears?)

    Ideally ride a circle in the corner before starting, start the sf (or si) as if you were starting the circle, continue for a few stride, ride another circle. Better a few steps well then many and losing the bend/balance.

    Also, try doing some shoulder in on a circle in hand, it will allow you to see the degee of bending/engagement and REACTIONS from the inside whip (hand) near the girth. PULSE the aid (as you would the leg) so that the horse learns to REACT with the movement of the inside hind.
    Thanks!

    Yes we do practice the shoulder-in in hand (weird just typing that), and we definitely have a couple good steps undersaddle. Not currently schooling or even attempting the shoulder fore.

    Oddly enough what seems to happen is not a loss in bend but rather we lose the movement because his butt gets pushed to the inside, so that it's in line with the direction of movement. In effect, we could then transition to a haunches-in on the circle. I'm sure it has to do with either not moving off the inside leg enough or moving off the outside too much. And I'm pretty sure this is in connection to when I realize I may not be looking in the right direction.

    Which brings me to; I normally always look in the direction of travel. So I look past the outside shoulder for a shoulder-in. Should I be looking straight between his ears? I know my shoulders are always supposed to point where is shoulders are. Just seems odd to me to look forward while not riding forward.
         
        02-06-2014, 12:25 AM
      #6
    Foal
    The shoulder fore and the shoulder in are basically the same thing, just varying degrees of angle/bend. The shoulder fore has less angle than the shoulder in.

    This article explains it far better than I could :)

    http://www.thehorseinmotion.com/site...houlder-in.pdf

    This is a good one too.

    http://www.classicaldressage.net/mem...oulder_in.html
         
        02-06-2014, 11:59 PM
      #7
    Weanling
    We always look with our head/shoulder where the horse looks, there is no exception. In effect you are riding a 'bite' (step of a circle) taken straight ahead.

    The pix of shoulder fore in the one link is 'in position', it is not shoulder fore per se. (Read Podhajsky and Seunig on the movements).

    If the quarters are coming in then the horse is not in front of the inside aids or there is too much inside rein (neck bend).
         
        02-07-2014, 10:56 PM
      #8
    Weanling
    Thanks, I read up a bit on the shoulder-in as well. I tried visualizing it as riding the haunches straight ahead while the forehand is bend as if to start moving on an arc.

    This seemed to help me out immensely in remembering to look where the horse is going, (because we're on an arc!) and move the haunches straight at the same time :) We got a few good ones in
    picup436 likes this.
         

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