EXERCISE: 3 SHOULDER-IN ON A STRAIGHT LINE
This exercise is great for connecting the back end to the front, helping your horse to step under more. This puts him on the path to self-carriage and collection with increased suppleness. It can be ridden in walk or trot, depending on both you and your horse’s level of experience – horses find it easier in trot, with riders preferring walk. In shoulder-in, the quarters stay on the track and the shoulders are taken in to put your horse on three tracks. He’ll have a slight bend through the neck to the inside. It’s a test of your horse’s respect for the inside leg to the outside rein aid. Set up the shoulder-in by riding a 10m circle in the corner, organising your horse so that he’s accepting the inside flexion. As you come back to the track, instead of carrying on round the circle again, start the shoulder-in down the track using the flexion you’ve already got to give you the right angle. A common issue with shoulder-in is the horse tilting his head rather than offering the flexion required – Frank does this. The answer is to hold the inside rein closer to the neck and keep the outside leg on. When he gets connected, the contact will feel heavier – don’t mistake this for leaning. Once you feel confident with shoulder-in, try trot, walk, trot transitions, maintaining the shoulder-in positioning. Always finish by riding straight.
Shoulder-in is great for helping your horse to step under more