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TXhorseman

Shoulder-In

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I have known for a long time that there has been disagreement as to whether the shoulder-in should be performed on three or four tracks. Reading Classical Horsemanship For Our Time, I found Jean Froissard's explanation very helpful and wish to share it with you. Here are some quotations:

"In the eighteenth century, La Gueriniere (that is the French School) invented and used shoulder-in as a training exercise (albeit on four tracks), and not by any stretch of the imagination as part of equestrian displays. It is the F.E.I.'s prerogative to include this movement in its test and even to stipulate as happened lately, that it be performed on three tracks. On the other hand, it should fastidiously refrain from the misleading appellation 'shoulder-in' rather than 'half-shoulder-in' [demi-epaule en dedans] as La Gueriniere very precisely and completely defined this form of the movement in Elemens de Cavalerie, a work not to be confused with Ecole de Cavalerie but, alas, familiar only to specialists."

"Historically, therefore, the F.E.I. is wrong, but worse is to come: ignorant or disingenuous, that assembly sitting in majesty has thrown a mantle of silence over the matter so that the average rider is now left to imagine that the true shoulder-in is performed on three tracks."

"Never mind, La Gueriniere, Generals L'Hotte and Decarpentry for the French School, Colonels Podhasky and Seunig for the Germanic School, to name just a few of the most authoritative equestrian sources, prescribe shoulder-in as performed on four tracks." He adds: "Half-shoulder-in, because it causes but a minimum bend, does obviously find its proper place in their work, as in ours. As in all suppling exercises, a small effort is demanded to start with, increasing as progress allows from half-shoulder-in to shoulder-in."

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i love it!!

thank you for this discussion topic!! gerd heuschmann says *shoulder in* is when the horse stops cheating with the outside shoulder. relaxes, moves his hindquarters, and is STRAIGHT.

and i have no respect, at all. for the f.e.i. anymore.

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btw, i will be riding with linda tellington-jones, and heuschmann in september. if you have some questions let me know.

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btw, i will be riding with linda tellington-jones, and heuschmann in september. if you have some questions let me know.

I wish I could join you, nick. I like the emphasis both these people put on getting the horse to perform while relaxed.

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heuschmann's thesis is that the horse's performance isn't meeting his potential unless he is relaxed. everything else is fake. i believe him based on personal experience.

it's interesting how he can convince a horse to relax, even if the horse doesn't want to :P .

in all seriousness, i've attended six clinics with him (three times active participation and three as an observer), and it's just SO discouraging to see how many young horses have been ridden using hyperflexion. the owners are oblivious until heuschmann reads them the riot act, hops on and after around five-fifteen minutes of negotiation the horse stretches, blows, finds his rhythm, relaxes and chews. he doesn't necessarily open his back, but at least he has enough trust to stretch.

it's also interesting that some people (who think they're hot-shot dressage riders) comment that he looks like an ape up there. clearly they're not looking at what the horse is doing.

Edited by nick

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It is always exciting for me to see a horse relax under its rider and begin to respond willingly rather than woodenly to the requests of the rider. The best way I have found to achieve this is to get the rider relaxed, sitting in balance, and moving with his or her horse. Then, the rider need only provide smooth, subtle hints to communicate with the horse.

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i agree--it's even nicer to feel it--but some of the (5 year old!!) horses who go through his clinics have been so drilled in rollkur they're clearly too unsure (scared) to do anything else. he gives clinics all around the world, but the riders and owners he rags on the most are the germans.

"welcome to the modern german dressage horse. rolls his neck, goes behind the vertical and shuts down his spine. but the rider thinks he's looking good." gag. (my reaction)

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I agree about the feel, nick. I just enjoy sharing with others the important things I have learned.

Once a horse has been taught to "lower its head" or "roll its neck" -- usually with forceful methods -- it is difficult to convince the horse he is allowed to carry his head in a more natural position. Germans are certainly not the only ones doing this. I'm not sure whether people think it looks good or whether its a symbol of control. Of course, once something becomes popular, it becomes the thing for everyone to do.

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if you would care to read about the translation, it's "anlehnung", horse reaching out for the contact. as opposed to "anzieihung" (*pull* the poor horse's neck until the head is on the chest.)

adois podahsky was a great advocate of the horse in this regard.

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btw, i will be riding with linda tellington-jones, and heuschmann in september. if you have some questions let me know.

I am jealous. EWould love a chance at either one of these.

So how do you define shoulder fore compared to shoulder in.Yes is is a change of bend in the horse, but how much? I was taught shoulder fore is 4 tracks and should in is an increase of bend/angle and on 3 tracks. Only ever worked on shoulder fore in dressage. But now you ladies have me confused.

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The difference in the movements consists in the order of the feet. From inside out on the left rein:

Shoulder-fore -- left front, left rear, right front, right rear.

Half-shoulder-in -- left-front, left rear behind right front, right rear.

Shoulder-in -- left front, right front, left rear, right rear.

Therefore, the order of these movements from least angle to greatest angle is: shoulder-fore, half-shoulder-in, shoulder-in. A greater angle would require greater suppleness in order for the horse's inside leg to cross in front of its counterpart.

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