Whether you need to learn how to ride shoulder-in for a dressage test or you want to add it to your arsenal of training tools, here’s some helpful advice on how to achieve it. 

  1. A good shoulder-in can be difficult to achieve so before you start you need to make sure that you have a good quality trot where your horse is in front of your leg.
  1. Remember it is shoulder-in and not quarters out and you want to be riding the horse on three tracks where the inside hind leg and outside foreleg share a track. If you use too much inside leg you are encouraging the horse to lose his quarters to the outside.
  1. Ride straight out of the corner and then position the shoulder-in. You can use a 10m circle to help set up the balance and positioning of the shoulder in but don’t use too much bend.
  1. The hind-legs should trot forward in a straight line.
  1. The shoulder needs to be angled in off the track.
  1. Frequently riders ask for too much bend with the inside rein in an attempt to create shoulder-in. The use of the inside rein should be purely a positioning tool. If the quality of your bend is good then that should help you to achieve riding on three tracks. If it is a poor bend, you are likely to end up on the incorrect four tracks.
  1. If your horse can do a good shoulder-in, it generally means that they are on the correct aids.
  1. As the rider ensure your shoulders are parallel to the horse’s while riding this movement so that you aren’t blocking them and that you are sitting in the middle of your saddle.
  1. You can use your outside leg a little behind the girth to control the quarters and your inside leg to maintain the energy.
  1. Make sure you ‘finish’ your shoulder-in by riding straight before the corner while maintaining an even contact down both reins.

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