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, 21, is part of the World Class podium potential squad and competes a variety of horses to international level, which includes two rides given to her by Carl Hester, who also helps train her. In 2017 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 bend 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

Date: 22 June
Venue: Speedgate Farm, Longfield
Details: “This unaffiliated competition offers a range of prelim and novice classes.”
Enter now

British Dressage

Date: 22 June
Venue: Stretcholt Equestrian Centre, Bridgwater
Details: “This competition has classes from prelim to prix st. georges.”
Enter now

Unaffiliated dressage

Date: 22 June
Venue: Low Farm Equestrian, Wellingborough
Details: “This unaffiliated competition features classes ranging between intro and novice with warm-up indoors and the competition in a large outdoor arena.”
Enter now

Quest Club dressage

Date: 23 June
Venue: Cobham Manor Equestrian Centre, Maidstone
Details: “This My Quest and Team Quest competition features classes ranging between intro and novice with a variety of different sections.”
Enter now

Unaffiliated, affiliated and Quest Club dressage

Date: 23 June
Venue: Highfield Equestrian at Howe, Cupar
Details: “This competition has a huge range of classes from intro to inter I, with freestyle to music classes too.”
Enter now

Unaffiliated evening dressage

Date: 26 June
Venue: Grey Fern Park Equestrian Centre, Peterborough
Details: “This competition includes classes from intro up to elementary, with lead-reins welcome in the intro class.”
Enter now

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