This week’s 20-minute workout focusses on improving your canter with shoulder-in to canter exercises. 

The ultimate aim of this exercise is to help the rider increase the engagement of the horse’s inside hind leg before making the upwards transition to canter.


For a good shoulder-in, you need your horse to understand the correct bend and the aids for moving his shoulder across when asked.

For this exercise to be beneficial your horse also needs to be able to collect a little in the trot. He doesn’t need to have full collection, but enough to be able to shorten the trot strides a little.

  • Trot shoulder-in down the long side of the arena, making sure you have the correct amount of bend
  • The hind leg will be well-placed for the horse to push upwards to canter
  • After a good, uphill transition leave the track and circle
  • Your canter should be engaged and the hindquaters working
  • Make sure you maintain a good quality canter on the circle

What may go wrong:

Beware of using too much inside rein in the shoulder-in, as this will mean that the shoulder will bend out — detrimental for a good canter transition.

If the neck is pulled round, the horse will bring his weight down onto his inside hind leg, rather than pushing off it. This will squash the transition and result in a poor canter.

Next week: lead changes when jumping made easy