Before you start this exercise it is important that the Basic Communication with your horse is good, so that you understand the horse and the horse understands you (see Basic groundwork exercises).
Your horse needs to be familiar with Step 1, 2, 3 and 4 and to master this for 3/4:
The fifth step
Shoulder in is a very good gymnastic exercise for the horse. It is traditionally also called the “aspirin” of dressage because it can solve many problems, if carried out correctly.
From the previous step (straight with bending), where the horse has learned to move in a straight line with the correct lateral bend of the body and with relaxation, we can now ensure that the horse learns to take more weight with its inner hind leg and to develop more shoulder freedom in his outside foreleg.
Benefits for the body
- Shoulder in ensures that the hind legs are evenly learning to carry the hindquarters and propel them forward.
- The horse’s shoulders can move more freely. This is because in this exercise the horse learns to place the inner hind leg more under the center of gravity, so that this inner hind leg takes up more weight and therefore carries better. Because of this effect, the shoulders are lifted more and the foreleg in particular can move more freely.
- The horse learns to move the center of gravity more to the hindquarters
- Every horse has a difference in the use of its legs. One hindleg is stiffer than the other and one foreleg is more loaded than the other. Shoulder in ensures that the horse becomes stronger and more coordinated in the use of the stiff hindleg and also the most loaded foreleg, gets more shoulder freedom and is less crooked.
Are you curious how you too can teach this to your horse?
Go to the Online Gymnastics Basic Course