Technical Question - Leg Yield vs. Shoulder In at the canter - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 9 Old 09-19-2013, 09:10 PM Thread Starter
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Technical Question - Leg Yield vs. Shoulder In at the canter

So I know shoulder in and leg yield are essentially the same movement, one along the rail, the other across the arena (sorry explaining in very poorly said layman terms! AND correct me if I'm wrong). But I know there is a lot of difference at the canter when leads come into play as opposed to the more even gait of the trot.

For the canter, I can leg yield (as I've called it) tracking on the right rail, bending to the right, moving laterally through the left shoulder, on the left lead (which would be the "wrong" lead if we were along the rail per se). I've been working with my horse to engage his hind end more and balance and lighten the fore, and in the past few weeks (and again today YAY!) we could now shoulder in (as I'm calling it) at the canter, tracking on the right rail, bending to the right, moving laterally through the left shoulder, on the RIGHT lead (which I believe would be the precursor to a half-pass - don't worry we're not even attempting that!).

This is with my jumper, and we're doing this to increase suppleness and my dressage trainer isn't back in a few weeks so I wanted to ask for some technical assistance here please! I believe that the first one is the easier move because the left lead means the left shoulder is already more forward so bending right but cantering on the left lead makes it easier for the horse to move in that direction. The latter, on the right lead, I feel is much harder and took much more work to achieve as the horse has to maintain the right lead, while bending right but moving laterally.

I'm not sure I'm explaining this well sorry! I'm trying!

In all of this, think as if it was a shoulder in at the trot along the rail (haunches to rail, shoulder slightly inward off the rail, horse bent to the inside) but at the canter. It's just the lead (and therefore I believe level of difficulty) that is changing. For the record, I do this in both directions, just choosing one example.

So - clarification - explanation - help - anything! Would be greatly appreciated! Am I even calling it the correct thing, and is my understanding of the level of difficulty correct for each? Also please know we are not working towards any level dressage specifically, but rather targeting strengthening my horse's hind end for jumpers, and increasing his flexibility and strength. Thank you!!!!

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post #2 of 9 Old 09-19-2013, 11:42 PM
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Shoulder-in and leg yield are 2 different movements.

Leg yield: horse's body is straight, with slight flexion away from the direction of travel.

Shoulder-in: horse's body is bent around the rider's inside leg.

This is a good vid explaining the different lateral movements, and should help.

Ins and Outs of Haunches - YouTube


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post #3 of 9 Old 09-19-2013, 11:46 PM Thread Starter
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Can anyone answer my questions about the canter?

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post #4 of 9 Old 09-19-2013, 11:57 PM
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Agreed with above, the movements are different.
I'm a little confused, as both movements require the horse to be suppled to the inside...so in either movement, they are not moving on the wrong lead. Say you're on your right lead. Come down the quarter line to leg yield away from your right (inside) leg, towards the rail (moving laterally left, bent to the right) you are on the correct lead, never bent incorrectly.
Shoulder in, you are bringing the shoulder off the track to create three tracks with the legs. Again, suppled inside bend. So tracking right, you keep inside bend, and bring the outside shoulder in towards the centre of the ring (minimally, just to three tracks) with your outside aids.


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post #5 of 9 Old 09-20-2013, 05:11 PM
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Originally Posted by JustDressageIt View Post
Agreed with above, the movements are different.
I'm a little confused, as both movements require the horse to be suppled to the inside...so in either movement, they are not moving on the wrong lead. Say you're on your right lead. Come down the quarter line to leg yield away from your right (inside) leg, towards the rail (moving laterally left, bent to the right) you are on the correct lead, never bent incorrectly.
Shoulder in, you are bringing the shoulder off the track to create three tracks with the legs. Again, suppled inside bend. So tracking right, you keep inside bend, and bring the outside shoulder in towards the centre of the ring (minimally, just to three tracks) with your outside aids.
And I would add, still in this right lead example: when you're leg yielding your inside leg would go back a little bit to push the side of the horse

But if you're doing a shoulder-in, your inside leg stays on the girth: your leg doesn't push anything, it's "calling" the horse to bend around it

Then the half pass is going even further: the horse bend so well around your inside leg he can move to the direction of the bending
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post #6 of 9 Old 09-20-2013, 10:14 PM Thread Starter
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actually after chatting with a very accomplished dressage rider today, he clarified that there's no real shoulder in called for at the canter. It's referred to as a shoulder fore. So on the correct lead, it's a shoulder fore, on the opposite lead it's a counter canter shoulder fore. :)

Thanks for the explanations guys, very helpful!

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post #7 of 9 Old 09-21-2013, 12:28 AM
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Because of the action of the canter pace, it is not possible to ride a true shoulder in with the appropriate angle.
Shoulder fore is a very shallow version of shoulder in, which can be ridden at canter, basically it is just greater bend around the inside leg.
You can ride shoulder fore at walk and trot as well, so don't limit yourself to think that it is a canter only exercise. It is used as a precursor to shoulder in on a young/green horse.

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post #8 of 9 Old 09-21-2013, 04:20 PM
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LY is NOT engaging/shoulder in IS. However, one can do shoulder in entwicheln with the left flexion and left bend while moving to the right. I would however do this in trot, not canter because of the dynamics of the gait. To straighten more (get proper use of the hind legs straight ahead) try counter flexion (not bend) away from the leading left to align the SHOULDERS instead.
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post #9 of 9 Old 09-25-2013, 08:49 PM
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I am going to give a go and try to answer but I am just a layperson. Leg yielding and shoulder in are two different movements. Leg yielding is the easiest. It is a small flexion to the inside and the horse moves sideways, my leg goes back a bit so the horse knows to move over. If you are moving let's say toward the wall, the horse is flexed to the inside. However if you are moving away from the wall, remember the horse should flex to the outside. Remember to change the bend. Flexion is only a bit and it is from the poll. Shoulder In is a "Steering" Exercise not a neck bend. Think of what it is called "Shoulder In"-the shoulder goes in. That's it. The horse moves from two tracks (from being straight) to three tracks. It's good for strengthening the hind end. First I trot a circle, so I establish the bend correctly first. Then I move both my hands to the inside, and I think the angle of the shoulders is no more than 45 degrees. That's it. I keep my inside leg at the girth and outside leg behind only to maintain the rhythm and position. The key is the steering. We did more cantering at leg yield than at shoulder-in-shoulder fore. We never did a lot of cantering in this movement. I audited a dressage clinic where I heard the clinician say that shoulder in at canter is harder on the horse and shouldn't be done a lot. I'm still learning. Hope this helps.
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