If your horse falls out through his shoulder during schooling, these tips may solve the problem:

When a horse falls out through his shoulder he may be trying to evade working from his hindquarters, through his body and into your hand by over-bending in the neck and falling out through the shoulder.

This is a common schooling problem that can also be created by riders who tend to pull on the inside rein when turning, or riding shoulder-in. In this case the horse will turn his head too much to the inside, and as a result an easy escape route is created for the horse through the outside shoulder.

Ride renvers

Riding renvers is a good way to help this problem. By riding renvers, the shoulders of the horse are controlled and positioned and the horse is straightened.

You must be aware of your position in the saddle, in particular where you position your weight and how you apply your leg aids. If you are new to renvers, you should observe someone riding the movement and then ask an experienced trainer to watch you ride it.

Ride a diamond

Another good exercise to try is riding a diamond shape, touching the sides of the arena at E and B, crossing the centre line on the other two points of the diamond.

Start in walk and ride each point as a quarter pirouette, bringing the horse’s forehand around his haunches.

Keep the correct bend to the inside and keep your inside leg on, ready to support the horse’s body upright if he tries to lean in.

Have slightly more contact on the outside rein, sit up tall and make sure that you don’t lean in as a rider!

Once you’ve completed the diamond, round it off with a 20m circle. You should notice an improvement. You can go on to try this exercise in all three paces.

Additional exercises 

  • Ask your horse for counter flexion. This will help keep your inside seat bone in contact with the horse’s inside long-back muscle
  • Keep your horse’s head and neck straight on from his body
  • Create a ‘corridor’ from your elbows and forearms, down the reins and between your thighs
  • Steer your horse’s withers between your thighs, rather than his head with your hands
  • Keep your horse’s front legs directly in front of his hind legs and reposition the wither with your thighs, rather than the hindquarters with your lower legs and the nose with your hands

Now that you’re well on your way to stopping your horse from falling in through his shoulder, why not search some upcoming dressage events to enter near you?

Equo has a variety of events available to enter quickly and easily online.