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Shoulder fore

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  • Shoulder fore

    Loved watching the GM clinic, and the Deb Bennett portions too. They did lots of shoulder fore with GM and I got the impression from both GM and DB that it was a good exercise for straight.

    I hope I don't get sent to the dressage forum... just want the hunter version of this, light seat without a lot of collection.

    How the heck do you do a shoulder fore anyway? Yesterday, I came around the short end, then pretended I was going to go across the diagonal to get him pointed that way a little bit, with my hands a bit shifted towards the inside as if for turning. But then I went straight down the long side with lots of inside leg. Seemed to work ok and it did improve his turns later when I jumped him a bit.

    Any better advice? I will have my trainer help me too when she comes.

    My way seemed to work, but what I could not figure out was do you look the direction you are going (in my case straight down the long side) or do you look between his ears? Are your shoulders with his?
    Last edited by ToTheNines; Jan. 7, 2013, 01:00 PM.
    Rest in peace Claudius, we will miss you.

  • #2
    Look where you are headed (down the long side)
    Your shoulders are lined up with his.
    Your hips are lined up with his.
    stay even on your sitting bones, sitting slightly to the inside.
    Don't cross an indirect rein over the inside of his neck.

    Hope this helps


    • #3
      instead of turning down the diagonal, try a small, 10-15 meter circle out of the corner before you ask for the shoulder-fore. Once you complete the circle, continue on the circle track but use your inside leg to send the horse down the longside instead of allowing him to continue on the circle track.


      • #4
        You the right, basic idea. That's how I learned to do SF/SI (or, think of starting a circle but stay straight).

        You do need SOME connection. Make sure you have an outside rein, as you are supposed to be bringing the SHOULDERS in,not pushing the haunches out. I will almost THINK about bringing both reins to the inside (not really, but it helps establish the outside rein better), while using my inside leg. Be careful not to get too much inside bend. A little is good, but sometimes people get way into the inside rein and end up making the horse crooked (SF and SI are to help STRAIGHTEN the horse, really). Remember the horse should be moving on three tracks (you'll notice it less in SF). Do you have mirrors? I find them very helpful when working on lateral work, especially by myself.

        You can also do SF and SI on circles and through the short side, and also in your canter work. This is especially good if your horse wants to get crooked and throw there haunches in or pop their shoulder out.


        • #5
          This is a good thread for me also.
          Though, I just want to clarify, inside leg creating pressure at the girth and outside leg slightly behind the girth?

          What is the purpose of outside leg behind the girth?
          If I imagine being the horse, I would think the outside leg would want my haunches to move away from the pressure like leg yield...?


          • #6
            I tend to keep a passive outside leg. Too much outside leg will turn it into a haunches in or, like you said, a leg yield. Usually it is on, and will be there to help keep the rhythm, but I don't move it back.

            You may find you need to move it back a touch if your horse overreacts to the inside leg and wants to fling their haunches away instead of bring their shoulders in on the track. But, generally, I find that starting with just a little shoulder fore, they quickly grasp the concept (I find SF and SI some of the easiest and most basic lateral work to teach, really...but I do know I struggle to explain it to the rider!).


            • #7
              We do lots of this in my flat lessons, we first do a 10m circle to get the right position and then think about holding that position as you start down the long wall. Make sure you keep your inside rein open (no crossing over the neck) and keep a feel on your outside rein. Inside leg at the girth but not too much as it will turn it into a leg yeild. It's a slight movement, just enough to keep the back legs traveling straight down the wall and the front inside comes inside the track and the outside front now travels down the wall in front of the back inside (thus the horses shoulder has moved to the inside, not just a bend in the neck). I LOVE this exercise, especially for horses that fall to the outside!
              Go Ahead: This is a dare, not permission. Don't Do It!


              • #8
                Originally posted by pryme_thyme View Post

                What is the purpose of outside leg behind the girth?
                If I imagine being the horse, I would think the outside leg would want my haunches to move away from the pressure like leg yield...?
                The outside leg is to keep the movement a shoulder-fore and not a haunches-out. The haunches should not go more outside than the regular track, with the shoulders being moved to the inside.


                • #9
                  Originally posted by ActNatural View Post
                  instead of turning down the diagonal, try a small, 10-15 meter circle out of the corner before you ask for the shoulder-fore. Once you complete the circle, continue on the circle track but use your inside leg to send the horse down the longside instead of allowing him to continue on the circle track.
                  Ditto this.
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                  • #10
                    Do a 10 circle, keep the outside rein connection as you continue down the rail, inside hand keeps flexion and INSIDE LEG is the active leg. Outside leg slightly back and guarding but really of all the aids this is the most passive.

                    In shoulder fore shoulder should just come off the wall, its a 2 1/2 track movement where SI has the shoulder at 45 deg angle and is a 3 track movement.

                    Do not cross the neck with the outside rein.


                    • #11
                      I'm a dressage instructor, but I can simplify the process for you.
                      For hunters it'll help get your horse on your outside rein and help with straightening.
                      A shoulder fore is the first step of a 20m circle, taken onto a straight line. When prepping use a 20m circle, no smaller or else your horse will either have to collect more than you like or motorcycle around on the shoulder (icky)
                      Try it coming out of a corner. Get your inside flexion so you can see your horses inside eye, make sure you've got a connection with the outside rein. Tuck your inside toe into your horses armpit so you're using your shin to get bend. Keep your shoulders in line with your horses and slightly weight your outside seatbone, and ask the shoulder to gently move off by feeling that outside connection in your oblique abdominal muscle.
                      Yes, per Dr Ritter, you weight the outside seatbone in shoulder fore and shoulder in.
                      chaque pas est fait ensemble


                      • #12
                        Petstore has the definition correct. Shoulder fore (2 1/2 tracks) is the first step onto a 20 m circle, therefore there it is done with less bending than (three track) shoulder in (which is the first step onto a 10m circle). Shoulder is is done at an angle of 30 degrees. (And traditionally, at a very high level of collection when the horse can offer a huge degree of bend and axial rotation, s.i. can be done on four track.) In shoulder fore, when someone stands in front of you on the long side the inside hind shows between the forelegs (whereas in shoulder in the inside hind is 'hidden' behind the outside fore.

                        The reason it is for straightness is that it gives the rider control of the outside shoulder through engagement of the inside hind leg. By s.f.'s very nature it is softly collecting as well (renvers affects the outside hind).

                        A basis for this exercise is good use of circles (to 10 m) as well as CLEAR changes of bend in serpentines. (Remember GM was WELL grounded in dressage due to the long period of time he spent with Gunner Andersen, who also taught him a lot about jumping as well.)

                        In all (lateral work) the inside leg is somewhat closer to the girth and the outside is stretched down and back, which is active or passive depends upon the exercise; (when seen from above) the rider's shoulders are always parallel to horses shoulders and hips parallel to horses; and rider ALWAYS looks between the ears (in the case of s.f. lightly onto a 20m circle angle). In shoulder in the rider is 'inspiring' the inside hind by 'pulsing' the inside leg closer to the girth (keep down/reaction to calf). Because of the placement of the entire leg (outside leg back), inside leg closed to girth it feels as if the rider is more onto the outside seat bone/more erect. That said it is very important that the rider is sitting in the middle/not tilting or collapsing.

                        To start the exercise do a circle in the corner, horse active and in front of the inside leg, then thing a 'step onto the circle', but keep outside half halts. If horse comes off the rail or bends the neck too much then there is either too much inside hand (pulling backwards) or no outside connection. It is a play between the aids. Only do a few steps and then either go straight down the long side (or 'follow the angle of the bend' across the diagonal). Do another circle, and then start again.
                        I.D.E.A. yoda