Shoulder In Tips

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Shoulder In Tips

This is a discussion on Shoulder In Tips within the Dressage forums, part of the English Riding category

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    07-03-2010, 12:52 PM
Shoulder In Tips

I recently started doing shoulder ins as a way of engaging my horse's hindquarters.
We start out on a 20M circle off the centerline, getting him loose and supple, then move him onto a 10M circle. When we come around to the centerline again, I ask him to do a shoulder in.
Most times he gets it, but sometimes he doesn't right away and I get flustered and we end up going off in a different direction.
I feel like my legs aren't strong enough to give him the cues, but he is very responsive so I don't think this is the issue. It is a lot to remember at once between inside/outside hand and leg, and I am practicing a LOT, but does anyone have any tips to offer about getting consistent shoulder-ins?
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    07-03-2010, 08:33 PM
Are you looking forward when you are doing it or looking down /to the side? I find that to keep my horse on the right track, it's best to look up to where I want to go, rather than looking down to check where his shoulder is. I know that makes it harder to make sure you are doing a shoulder-in, but eventually you will get to feel with your seat where his hindquarters are.
Have you tried coming into the shoulder-in from a 5m circle or smaller? I know eventually you should be able to come off a corner and be able to do it, but training wise, I find the smaller circles fantastic. It really gets their inside legs underneath them, as long as the cirlce is balanced.
When you ask with your inside leg, do you tap him with it or just press it against his side? I find that my horses respond better if I'm lightly tapping with my inside foot to remind them "Hey, come on here mate, I'll tap harder if you don't listen to me," but I ride often with spurs so just a light tap is usually enough, which may or may not be a good idea if your horse is that responsive?
I won't give you any hints on hands as mine have just become terrible again and I can't talk haha.
Do you practise it in rising trot or sitting? And what diagonal if you are doing it in rising? I had one instructor teach me that you do it riding on the incorrect diagonal. I can't remember the exact reason, but I do think it's something to do with keeping the correct balance and reminds the horse to stay on that right track.
That's all I can really say without knowing what it looks like when you guys tried it. I hope I've helped and haven't written too much haha. Good luck with it and I may post more later when I've ridden my three in shoulder-in and have remembered everything I know for you.
    07-03-2010, 10:48 PM
Thanks for the reply!
I am definitely looking forward - my instructor DRILLS it into my head.
I am definitely going to try from 5m circles to try and get a better step with that inside hind.
I do tap, just because I keep consistent contact with him and I try to tap as his legs move, to keep him moving in the right direction.
I actually do it in both diagonals as well as sitting - when on the wrong diagonal, it's much easier to 'push' him out!

Thanks so much for the tips!
    07-03-2010, 10:56 PM
A shoulder in done properly should not be done rising.

The biggest fault most people have is that they move too much and over aid. This WILL lead to problems in bend and ultimately inconsistent steps.

A good shoulder in should require no more the the threat of the rider's leg coming to the horse and hands that are perfectly still once the leg and SEAT create the correct angle.
    07-05-2010, 06:55 PM
I've got no advice other than anytime I blow it, I'm usually unintentionally blocking his movement with my outside rein. Just wanted to say, glad to see someone else sees how far that particular exercise goes towards engaging the hind end. I love shoulder-in! Great for fixing weak side canter issues too.
    07-05-2010, 08:28 PM
Originally Posted by Spyder    
A shoulder in done properly should not be done rising.

The biggest fault most people have is that they move too much and over aid. This WILL lead to problems in bend and ultimately inconsistent steps.

A good shoulder in should require no more the the threat of the rider's leg coming to the horse and hands that are perfectly still once the leg and SEAT create the correct angle.
Also when beginning the shoulder in it is easiest to do it on the wall as it will support the horse and help you keep the angle consistent. Another thing is we always begin asking for just a shoulder fore (ie the outside front leg is not yet infront of the inside hind) because it is physically difficult for the horse to bend and reach so much in the beginning - less angle is always better)
The shoulder in is just starting a circle every stride. At any moment, you should be able to turn onto a 15m circle (at this point I would not do a shoulder in out of a 10m circle - it is simply too much bend and angle).

Good luck!
    07-13-2010, 04:03 PM
First the 10 meter circle hbefore beginngin the movement helps get t he rider and horse into the proper position (if ridden correctly). It does this by helping the rider establish the inside leg to ouside rein connection.

1.) Make certain in circle outside rein is a bit away from the shoulder to keep horse from popping shoulder out. Inside leg at girth is straight and there so horse has something to bend around. Rider is sitting on horses butt (if posting post straight up and doen, do NOT lean forward).
2.) Finish circle, then as horses shoulders come off track to restart the 10 meter circle look straight shead and at same time apply inner leg and HH on outside rein to get horse to move forward straight. Since you already allowed his shoulders to come in off the rail (for start of 10 meter) if he continues straight you'll have your shoulder-in.
3.) Try to think of inside leg (hip is forward) to outside fist - outside rein is slightly away from shoulder to prevent it from popping out (and horse overbending to inside).
4.) Use outside rein to keep angle.

Horse will "loose it" after a few steps - that is normal - just do another 10 meter circle and start over again.

Don't forget your butt controls horses butt - so if you lean forward horse will NOT be collecting, and SI is the start of collection. Sit on horses butt and ask for SI (You can post in SI but it's harder on the rider.)

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