How to ride the perfect shoulder-in — a top rider’s tips featuring side-eye and head angles

Whether you need to learn how to ride shoulder-in for a dressage test or you want to add is to your arsenal of training tools, here’s some helpful advice on how to achieve it from top young dressage rider Joanna Thurman-Baker.

Joanna, 20, is part of the World Class programme and competes a variety of horses to international level, which includes two rides given to her by Carl Hester, who also helps train her. Last year Joanna was part of the British team at the young rider European championships riding Highcliffe Apollo, with whom she is now competing up to grand prix.

These top tips could help you push those percentages higher when it comes to performing within the white boards and help you establish better work in training

1. The biggest problem I find is people looking down the track while riding a shoulder in. I think that although this does keep you on a straight line, your head is pointing forwards and so your body does the same, therefore blocking the horse. If you always look through the horse’s ears, your body will follow which allows your pelvis to turn, releasing the horse’s shoulders and giving them a softer bed and easier flow.

2. To keep your horse straight, keep giving gentle half halts with the fingers on the outside rein and look out the corner of your eye if you need to.

3. Your outside leg should be gently coming off and on, to remind the horse not to fall onto its outside shoulder.

Now you’ve got that advice in mind, take a look at these dressage competitions available to enter where you can show off what you’ve learnt…

Unaffiliated dressage series

Date: 26 January
Venue: Forest Edge Arena, Swaffham
Details: “This unaffiliated competition offers classes ranging between intro and elementary.”
Enter now

British Dressage

Date: 26 January
Venue: Stretcholt Equestrian Centre, Bridgwater
Details: “This competition has classes from prelim to advanced medium, plus para classes, with a number of qualifiers.”
Enter now

Unaffiliated dressage

Date: 27 January
Venue: Cholderton Equestrian Centre, Salisbury
Details: “This unaffiliated competition features classes ranging between into and novice with a pick your own option for long arena tests. This competition also includes our Retraining of Racehorses league.”
Enter now

British Dressage

Date: 27 January
Venue: Alnwick Ford Equestrian, Morpeth
Details: “This affiliated competition features classes ranging between prelim and grand prix, with freestyle classes too and a number of qualifiers.”
Enter now

Evening dressage

Date: 29 January
Venue: Leamside Equestrian, Houghton Le Spring
Details: “Classes from intro to novice with senior and junior sections. Plus, if you leave a SAE, test sheets and rosettes can be posted, and a screenshot of your test sent via messenger if requested. Refreshments will be available.”
Enter now

Unaffiliated dressage

Date: 31 January
Venue: Wix Equestrian Centre, Manningtree
Details: “This competition includes classes from intro up to advanced medium, plus freestyle to music options too.”
Enter now

Visit equo.co.uk for full competition and training listings

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