Shoulders In

       The Horse Forum > Riding Horses > English Riding > Dressage

Shoulders In

This is a discussion on Shoulders In within the Dressage forums, part of the English Riding category
  • Shoulders in + dressage
  • I need a bit that will lift the shoulder on my dressage horse

LinkBack Thread Tools
    12-03-2009, 01:07 PM
Red face Shoulders In

So last lesson I worked on, we decided to do Shoulders In. I tend to always confuse it with Haunches In, and quite clearly I have no idea what I'm doing in a dressage saddle... (very comfy though!)

So could someone how me some examples of a good shoulders in or explain what I should be trying to achieve on an old stiff horse. My instructer said we were not so much trying to get the textbook perfect shoulders in, but work on getting my horse moving out correctly. So maybe this is why watching what I find on shoulders in, what I was riding seemed to feel quite differant more towards a side pass than a forward movement if that makes sense.

Could someone explain an extremely dumbed down version of how you ask for a shoulders in?
Basically the way we were asking, was while coming around a corner to go down a long wall, my inside rein would come up bring his nose slightly in towards the center of the arena. My outisde rein and body posture, eyes, etc are pointing down the wall. My inside leg is active asking him to move forward.

I was having difficulty in this with finding a balance between him wandering off into the center of the arena because I was not blocking his forward movement with my hands (i felt hard to do with my hands in such a strange position) and being too stiff with my hands and not giving him an "open door"

Anyone want to help the newb out?
Sponsored Links
    12-03-2009, 05:43 PM
Shoulder-in is a great exercise for engaging the inside hind leg and greatly increases the sense of inside leg to outside rein for the horse.

My nut shell version of asking for it is this:
I sit square in the saddle in the direction I'm going. I use my outside rein at his neck and leg at the girth to bring his shoulders off the rail. My inside leg is to keep him moving forward. All my inside rein does is keep a slight inside flexion. Any more than that and I get "neck-in" instead of shoulders-in" I know I'm doing it correctly when I get just enough connection to where he softens and starts chewing on the bit. That's what works for me.
    12-03-2009, 06:32 PM
Ah yes, neck in is definitely what I was getting the first few times I tried it. So..not sure if this is a valid question? But what sort of tempo/speed are you trying to get ideally while working on a shoulders in? During the lesson, I was being told to use my seat and slow him down which I did, it felt slightly akward at first as it was not the free flowing, forward type walk I have been working on. Is this just because I'm in the learning stages of it or must your horse be traveling slower to preform it? Or is it a manner of being more balanced and not strung out in a forward type walk?

I have no idea if those questions make any sense. I won't be offended if you kick me out of the dressage section forever x.x
    12-03-2009, 07:35 PM
Your questions make perfect sense. I personally agree with slowing down a horse to do shoulder-in. That being said, shoulder-in can only be done from a collected walk to begin with, so if your horse is strung out, he won't be able to do it without slowing down anyway. Try this. Get your horse walking energeticly on contact. The contact should be such that when you halt, he should be chewing softly on the bit without you having to make any adjustment in rein length. Walk him on a circle or come around the short side of your ring as you were on a circle. A few strides before you get to the long side, start applying the cues for shoulder-in. It's easier to learn this way since your horse is already starting to bend in the direction you want. He probably will initially seem confused of what you're asking or get stuck. If that happens, don't throw your aids away, but do straighten him out in a controlled manner, re-circle and ask again. Maintain the contact with your reins, but keep the contact soft so he can use his body properly to do what your asking. You're basically putting a 3rd leg down between his two hind legs. It requires both strength and balance on his part, so be patient.

You said you get shoulder-in confused with hanches in. It pretty much comes down to which part you're isolating, hence the names. If it helps, shoulder-in involves the horse being relatively straight from poll to tail other than slight flexion at the poll. During haunches-in, everything stays parallel to the rail and only the haunches move in.

FYI, if your horse has a poor canter lead, shoulder lead can do wonders to strengthen the outside hind of the affected lead. It's a fabulous tool to develop any horse.
    12-03-2009, 11:17 PM
I'm riding a school horse who knows loads more about dressage than I do at this point. He's a horse that likes to just kind of drag himself around the arena though so we have been working on asking him to actually lift his ribcage and work through himself. I got it going well enough at first, but right now I'm still figuring out how to ask him to move his shoulders around while going on a circle and then the shoulders in. It's more a matter of me asking correctly as I figure he knows what to do, but he's not going to put forth the effort unless I do...and that takes knowing how to ask. The way you explained it made good sense though and I'll give it another go when I ride next.

I've always taught my western horses to be able to pick up and move over their shoulder...this is just a bit differant it seems like. I can really see how it would be a really valuable tool though...hopefully the lightbulb will turn on when im in the saddle next!
    12-03-2009, 11:54 PM
Honey, I have a book that you will LOVE and should definitely get!

"101 Dressage Exercises For Horse And Rider"

I highly recommend that you get it! It has detailed diagrams of how to do the exercises they are asking, showing you how to do them and explains the purpose of them.

This book will greatly help you! I love mine :)
    12-04-2009, 12:02 AM
I had the 101 Arena excercises and loved it. Good idea!
    12-04-2009, 12:37 AM
I promise you, you wont be disappointed!
    12-04-2009, 12:48 AM
I was just reading that book in the car out to the barn today ! [no I wasnt driving my bf was] its great & so clear

Quick Reply
Please help keep the Horse Forum enjoyable by reporting rude posts.

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the The Horse Forum forums, you must first register.

Already have a Horse Forum account?
Members are allowed only one account per person at the Horse Forum, so if you've made an account here in the past you'll need to continue using that account. Please do not create a new account or you may lose access to the Horse Forum. If you need help recovering your existing account, please Contact Us. We'll be glad to help!

New to the Horse Forum?
Please choose a username you will be satisfied with using for the duration of your membership at the Horse Forum. We do not change members' usernames upon request because that would make it difficult for everyone to keep track of who is who on the forum. For that reason, please do not incorporate your horse's name into your username so that you are not stuck with a username related to a horse you may no longer have some day, or use any other username you may no longer identify with or care for in the future.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.
Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.
Email Address:


Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.

Old Thread Warning
This thread is more than 90 days old. When a thread is this old, it is often better to start a new thread rather than post to it. However, If you feel you have something of value to add to this particular thread, you can do so by checking the box below before submitting your post.

Thread Tools

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Shoulders .Delete. Horse Health 6 08-11-2009 05:36 PM
Shoulders and heels Molly Horse Riding Critique 3 07-05-2008 07:41 PM

All times are GMT -4. The time now is 12:40 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.5
Copyright ©2000 - 2015, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Search Engine Friendly URLs by vBSEO 3.6.0