When we have established the basic training, and are able to move from one movement to the next with a good regular rhythm, and keep balance on all turns and corners, we start to develop a more collected frame.
We move onto the leg yielding exercises which we have talked about earlier in the summer, which increases suppleness and response to the leg aid. It brings to the rider’s attention, the necessity to have a consistent even connection on the reins.
Next is the changing of stride length and the shoulder in. The shoulder in teaches the horse to put more weight onto the inside hind leg so that he can shorten or lengthen his steps by lifting his weight up through his shoulders. As he learns to do this, his belly line also draws up. He then improves in self carriage and becomes more responsive.
Shoulder in is ridden on three tracks so that the inside fore leg is on the inside line. The inside hind leg and the outside fore leg are on the second track and the outside hind leg are on the outside, third track. The horse is flexed inward and bends around the rider’s inside leg. The bend and speed are controlled by the outside rein.
On a large circle in rising trot, keeping the rhythm and the bending, rise higher and slower to make the horse’s steps shorter and slower. When he answers then rise lower and quicker to travel forward again. Repeating this exercise without making the horse tired will improve the suppleness and frame.
When you can ride shoulder in correctly, then ask the horse to change his step lengths in shoulder in. Make him active off the inside leg and with half halts, balance him with the outside rein so that his frame stays closed and gains strength