This exercise is useful for training your horse the basics or improving the quality of his shoulder-in. The exercise will also create a higher degree of engagement for the inside hind-leg and increase suppleness.exercise 3This exercise can be done on either rein. Start the shoulder-in as you come round each bend and proceed forward straight out of it.

The exercise:

Starting on the left rein, begin should-in left at the beginning of the long side of the arena.

When your horse has given you good, balanced strides, go forward across the arena while keeping the contact on the outside rein.

Upon reaching the opposite side, begin shoulder-in right. Proceed around your serpentine and repeat.

  • Your horse’s inside hind-leg should step well underneath him as he begins the shoulder-in
  • He should take balanced steps without too much angle. Only use the outside rein
  • Maintain the bend around the inside leg while keeping the contact on the outside rein
  • Transitions to walk can be introduced when moving straight and forward across the centre line. This will help your horse become more on the aids

What can go wrong?

You should not start the shoulder-in by using the inside rein.

You should use the outside rein to bring the shoulder off the track and then immediately apply the inside leg.

Be careful not to ask for too much angle, as this will cause your horse to lose the bend around your inside leg.


As you progress, introduce transitions through walk on the short side of the arena as you cross the centre line, so that your horse becomes more on the aids.

Later, introduce transitions through walk within the shoulder-in. This will encourage your horse to really use his inside hind-leg.

Now that you have perfected your shoulder-in, why not search for some dressage events to enter via Equo?

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