The shoulder-in has many purposes. Here’s a few things the exercise will accomplish for your horse and how to execute it. Used primarily in the english world, keep in mind western riders, your horse may be one who would really benefit from it.
The purposes of Shoulder-In:
- It establishes inside leg to outside rein connection
- It creates the engagement of the inside hind leg
- It increases suppleness
- It creates straightness
Before asking for a shoulder-in, first introduce a leg yield with your horse’s head facing into the arena wall. This will begin to help establish inside leg to outside rein. Once your horse understands this, you can move on to the shoulder-in.
To execute the shoulder-in properly, place your hips where you want your horse’s hips to go and your shoulders where you want your horse’s shoulders to be. It is important for a rider to always remember to keep your hips in line with your horse’s hips and your shoulders in line with your horse’s shoulders. Therefore, to ride a proper shoulder-in, you must have a slight twist in your waist, known as a spiral seat. In the beginning as you are teaching this exercise to your horse, ask for just a couple of strides at a time. When you complete just a couple of strides, go straight out of the exercise on the diagonal line the horses shoulders are traveling on.
In conclusion, a horse who can be ridden in shoulder-in will be a more supple and balanced horse.