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…
H&H Festival of Dressage
Date: 20-22 July
Venue: Sheepgate Equestrian, Boston
Details: “This unique unaffiliated championship show features a huge range of classes from intro to medium with freestyle to music sections too. There are some fantastic prizes up for grabs and the competition promises to be fun and friendly.”
Quest Club and unaffiliated dressage
Date: 22 July
Venue: Inchcoonans Competition & Livery Yard, Errol
Details: “This competition has classes from intro to elementary with My Quest, Team Quest and unaffiliated sections.”
Open dressage summer fun series
Date: 22 July
Venue: Mare and Foal Sanctuary Coombe Park, Totnes
Details: “This unaffiliated competition features classes ranging between into and novice with rosettes to sixth place.”
Come as you are evening dressage
Date: 25 July
Venue: Capricorn Equestrian Centre, Eynsford
Details: “Would you like to compete under more informal conditions? Our “come as you are” dressage evenings with tests from intro to medium are a chance for you to compete on a weekday and competition wear is not necessary. These events are designed to encourage everyone to compete. All classes are open to all and rosettes will be awarded to sixth place.”
Date: 26 July
Venue: Beaver Hall, Leek
Details: “Classes from lead-rein intro to medium.”
Date: 24 June
Venue: Stretcholt Equestrian Centre, Bridgewater
Details: “This competition includes classes from prelim up to advanced medium.”
Visit equo.co.uk for full competition and training listings