Exercises for controlling the shoulder
So Baloo has come along with leaps and bounds, and I am SO pleased. However, now that we're working on leg yielding, we have a bit of an issue.
He's 17+hh, so he isn't the easiest to steer, and he is very enthusiastic. He'll move off the leg fantastically, but his shoulder falls out.
Basically, I'm looking for some more exercises that will help me convince him to keep his shoulders in line.
I would say with the leg yield on particular, introduce the exercise in more of a stair step pattern. Do a few steps of shallow leg yield. As soon as you feel that shoulder start to drift out, switch to riding straight forward for a few steps, regroup and try leg yield again.
I've noticed with leg yield, it's harder than it looks to properly balance the aids for forward, sideways and controlling straight. That's something you just have to play with until you have the proper amount of each.
My horse also loves to pop his shoulder. I do a lot of walk & trot squares and turn on haunches at the walk to get him thinking of using his hind end to do the turning and keeping his front end mostly straight. Seems to really help when we start doing leg yields.
In addition to MBP's post, bare in mind that your outside rein controls the outside shoulder.
If you through the rein away, you're throwing the shoulder away.
Keep your contact, and imagine that you are scooping up the inside hind leg towards your outside hand. The outside hand is your fishing net - if there's a hole in the net, the fish (in this case, the energy created by the inside hind) will all fall out!
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