What is a Shoulder-In?
A shoulder-in is the the very first stride of a 10 meter circle carried straight down the wall.
FEI Rider, Trainer, & Instructor, Eliza Sydnor Romm, explains the shoulder-in.
Shoulder-In & Shoulder-Fore
The horse’s legs travel on three tracks in shoulder-in and four tracks in shoulder-fore
A shoulder-in that has an angle less that is less than 30 degrees is called shoulder-fore. In the shoulder-fore, the horse’s inside hind leg can be seen in between the 2 front legs when seen from the front.
Young or green horses begin training for shoulder-in with the shoulder-fore. Usually a young horse will not be supple or strong enough to have enough bend and angle for a proper shoulder in, so they begin with learning shoulder-fore. Over time, the angle and bend is increased until the shoulder-in happens. The shoulder-fore is also used as a straightening exercise in the canter.
Why Perform a Shoulder-In?
For the Rider
Riding the shoulder-in is a useful tool for riders to learn how to isolate control of the forehand from the hind end while maintaining control of the horse’s shoulders. Having control of the horse’s shoulders when going around turns makes the horse more enjoyable to ride because it helps the horse stay balanced and more organized during turns and direction changes.
Brief History of Shoulder-In
In the seventeenth century, Antoine de Pluvinel used the basic shoulder-in exercise to increase the horse’s suppleness and to get the animal used to the aids, especially the leg aids. He felt the exercise helped to make the horse obedient.
Independently, the Duke of Newcastle developed the exercise. In the eighteenth century, the French riding master Francois Robichon de la Gueriniere adapted the movement for use on straight lines. (source)
Eliza Sydnor Romm Dressage
FEI Rider, Trainer, & Instructor
Eliza Sydnor Romm is a classically trained dressage rider and instructor. Her goal is to successfully train horses and riders with an emphasis on partnership and harmony.