Shoulder in

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Shoulder in, but not clearly visible from this perspective
Positioning and beating lines at shoulder in

The shoulder-in (English shoulder-in , French épaule-en-dedans ) is one of the key lessons in classical riding . In the guidelines it says:

Shoulder-in is the basic lesson in advanced dressage training , as this exercise reflects many of the characteristics of a properly ridden horse. "

In this side walk , the permeability is checked, i.e. to what extent the horse reacts to the aids . All other side movements are "result and perfection of shoulder in".


The hindquarters remain on the hoofbeat, the forehand is brought into the path until the outer forefoot and the inner hindfoot are aligned, so that the horse walks on three hoof beat lines. The horse's neck is slightly set, but the neck remains - as can also be seen from the drawing - almost straight, and the only bend is in the ribs. This results in a "pitch angle from the hoofbeat (...) of about 30 °". The inner leg, which drifts forwards and sideways, lies on the belt and ensures that the ribs are bent as well as the increased activation of the inner rear foot. The outer protective leg prevents the outer rear foot from falling out. The hind feet trace parallel, while the front feet cross.

The rider's weight is distributed through his seat. In the German school there should be more weight "inside", while in the Iberian and French schools there should be more weight "outside". Positioning and gathering of the horse are primarily influenced by the outer rein and inner thigh. The outer rein also guides the horse in the desired direction and prevents it from being parked too far or falling over the outer shoulder.

Shoulder-in serves to exercise the muscles in the hindquarters and thus promotes the horse's ability to carry its weight more with its hind legs. It can be ridden on straight and curved lines, whereby, in accordance with the gymnastic objective, care must be taken that the "inner" hind leg takes the load under the trunk and that the horse does not try to carry its weight more with the outer front leg (the so-called Fall on the outer shoulder, noticeable when the front leg drops when it touches down).

If the "lateral permeability has been brought to a high level", the "canter in the shoulder" is recommended to promote the " flexibility and suppleness of the whole horse and especially the feathery activity of the inner hind leg".

Competing schools

While in the riding apprenticeship of the German Equestrian Association (FN), shoulder-in is only queried from lessons of difficulty level M, in the classical riding apprenticeship it is used very early in the training. It has both a gathering and a releasing effect. If one looks at a horse shoulder in from the front or the back, one sees it walking bent on several hoof beats ; The German riding teaching requires three (i.e. the middle, diagonal pairs of legs optically match), other riding traditions, such as that of the Viennese Spanish Riding School , also perform this lesson on four hoof tracks (= two hoofbeats).

Historical background

The introduction of shoulder-in in riding is attributed to François Robichon de la Guérinière (1688–1751), who considered this lesson to be one of the most important exercises. According to Seunig, Guérinières' greatest merit is "that he clearly recognized the fundamental importance of permeability in general and in particular in the longitudinal bend and brought it into a system (shoulder in)". Some draw the line of introduction to William Cavendish, 1st Duke of Newcastle (1592–1676), who in turn is based on Antoine de Pluvinel (1555–1620). Before it is trained under the rider, the shoulder in can be taught to the horse by hand.

Individual evidence

  1. p. 50 - See also Loriston-Clarke: "Shoulder-in is a movement used daily in training and suppling every horse, however advanced he is in his education." (P. 84)
  2. Seunig, p. 221
  3. See the figures in the guidelines , p. 46, and in the international guidelines , p. 20.
  4. Guidelines , p. 50; according to international guidelines : "approx. thirty (30) degrees".
  5. Seunig, p. 332
  6. Seunig, p. 377


  • Guidelines for riding and driving. Vol. 2: Advanced training . Published by the German Equestrian Association (FNverlag) Warendorf 12th edition 1997, pp. 50–75. ISBN 3-88542-283-2
  • Jennie Loriston-Clarke, The Complete Guide to Dressage. How to Achieve Perfect Harmony between You and Your Horse. Principal Movements in Step-by-step Sequences Demonstrated by a World Medallist , London 1987, reprinted 1993, ISBN 0-09-174430-X
  • Waldemar Seunig, From the paddock to the caper. The training of the riding horse . With a foreword by Bertold Schirg. 2. Reprint of the edition Berlin 1943, Hildesheim etc. 2001 (= Documenta Hippologica ), ISBN 3-487-08348-5

Web links

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