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What can I do to get my horse to pick up her shoulder more and ...
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    Senior Member meaganrh3's Avatar
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    Dropping shoulder

    What can I do to get my horse to pick up her shoulder more and bend. She drops her shoulder when circling and starts to fall all over the place. I try lifting my hand up to pick her up but I don't seem to get much of a response. Shes going to be trained to be a jumper, and I dont want her motorcylcing her turns, I want her bending!
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    more inside leg, and more turning from a indirect outside aid and
    leg yeilds on the circle will help, as will counter bending.

    Ensureing the horse isn't flat on the forehand will help - the more they are engaged behind the freer the forehand is to maneouver.
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    Pick up your own shoulder

    Seriously, that is a very, very common issue. I've just been talking about mirroring on another thread. You look down, it pulls your upper body forward subconsciously, it you can easily put a horse more on his forehand. Drop your inside shoulder, horse drops his. Drop a hip in the saddle, the horse drops that hip and swings the hind end the other way.

    Looking too far into the turn can easily cause you to drop your inside shoulder.

    you can lift your hand, but it's really about her not moving away from/bending around your inside leg. Spiral in leg yield out is a perfect exercise to work on this from both your points of view
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    Senior Member+ Simon Says's Avatar
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    all great advise, but make sure you aren't leaning into the turns. Another very common thing. I am horrible about leaning to the right, but when I catch myslef starting to lean I correct it and Storm will straighten back up!!!
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    Make sure your not leaning into your turns, also use more inside leg and thinking about lifting her right up...if that doesnt workk like it doesnt with my mare, I take a dressage whip and if seh starts and give her a few taps on teh should to remind her

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    The inside leg needs to be there to support the shoulder, not the rein. Then, to get the bend, you must ask the horse to wrap our the inside leg using the outside rein and outside leg.
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    I have a horse that I am currently breaking that habit with and sometimes when we are turning and he just sucks in like that I will take him and break him down to a trot or a walk if we are cantering and just do a circle the opposite direction counter bending. So IE you are turning to the right and your horse drops its shoulder in, you would take your horse and circle to the left, while maintaining the bend you wanted to the right. This means your horse has to move their shoulders to the outside (or else you won't be turning the other way) and it reinforces the bend.

    Another thing I did when I rode a horse that was very hard in the mouth and had constant issues with diving in was just taking her and doing a figure 8 pattern, in one circle we would go around and I would bend her to the inside and work on making different size circles, the whole time she had to maintain that bend. So we would make small circles bending to the inside, big circles bending to the inside and then we would change directions and the other way we would bend to the outside, so I would put an emphasis on moving the shoulders away from the direction of bend. Then go back the other way, it doesn't really matter if you start with the inside bend circle or the counter bend circle. Then you just switch the bend and do it again, so IE you would do the exercise with all right bend and then once that is done do it with all left bend. I personally started out doing this a lot at the walk because the horse I was riding had a mouth of steel which just got worse the faster she went, but depending on how much your horse resists you could do it at any gait (although the canter might be difficult if you don't have a good counter canter). The thing about this exercise is you can move your horse off your reins and leg well in the counter bend circle and then when you move onto the inside bend circle you can test to see how well your horse moves off your inside aids by making a large circle.

    Hope that helps.

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    there are many variable with "dropping the inside shoulder". In order to be able to help you more, we must know what the rest of the body is doing.

    Example, you'll treat horse whos' jsut plain dropping an inside shoulder (but is straight through the rest of it's body, differently, then say a horse who's droped the inside shoulder and is 4-tracking which will also be different than what you would do for a horse who is dropping the inside shoulder and swinging the hind end around the dropped inside shoulder
    Pay equal (if not more) attention to your own self carriage as that of your horse

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rhythm 'n Blues View Post
    there are many variable with "dropping the inside shoulder". In order to be able to help you more, we must know what the rest of the body is doing.

    Example, you'll treat horse whos' jsut plain dropping an inside shoulder (but is straight through the rest of it's body, differently, then say a horse who's droped the inside shoulder and is 4-tracking which will also be different than what you would do for a horse who is dropping the inside shoulder and swinging the hind end around the dropped inside shoulder
    Good post and I agree. A horse will drop it's shoulder in different ways and that hinges on what the rest of the body is doing. The most common thing I see....is the horse is "leaning" to the inside with it's whole body and the rider is doing the same. The rider's position is SO important because once the leaning of the horse starts, the rider's position will do the same in a "snowball" effect. All the weight is then falling into the inside of the circle. But it's also physics....the whole centrifugal force thing, and that can be counteracted by balance/centering inside of being sucked into the vortex....so to spea. Leaning and the ensuing drop shoulder issues is caused by a horse out of balance...add a rider out of balance as well and the problem is exacerbated. So, in an attempt to bring everything back to center....the rider needs to start the ball rolling by always staying centered. This will then help the rider in getting the horse balanced as well by keeping THEIR body in align the weight in the saddle distributed evenly.

    If you have all that and then horse still wants to drop a shoulder, you need to use inside leg to shut the door and help the horse keep their weight where it should be. Yes, hand comes into play, but merely picking up an inside rein is only working the mouth and head, where the problem REALLY is in the horse's body, balance and weight distribution.

    Here's an example: I'm was loping my horse today and to the right, he will want to dive a little to the inside. In his case, only picking up the inside rein will get flexion to where he'll bring his nose inside the circle, AND still dive. So, what I do is actually "scissor" him with my legs-outside leg back, inside leg at the girth, and the reins straight UP (riding one handed here). When I am schooling him two handed (which is will in work sessions-one handed then two handed etc), I will do the same thing with my legs, but engage both reins-an outside rein to stead his head and inside to reinforce the inside leg cue. I'm working everything (legs and hands) to help him maintain his balance and my seat bones remained centered.

    ETA: sorry....this got longer than intended...LOL. But something like this is a visual thing as opposed to a written thing.

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    ^^ I have a girl with a Morgan, who is seriously trying both our patience....but at the same time teaching that girl SOOOO much! Each week (been there 3 weeks in a row now) he has "change" this way to avoid......and each week I end up up there, and then put the girl back to feel what I felt (and usually saw before hand) and then learn how to correct it. While many of the correcting aids are similar for each evation tactic to correct each thing, you just have to use them in varrying degrees.........

    It's a totally GREAT learning experience! The poor girl was so frustrated the 1st week (in tears) but now, she's looking at it with the glass 1/2 full -- she'll be able to ride any kinda shoulder evasion and it's FORCING her to develop her feel. Before she wasn't too keen on that, and was letting him kinda "do his own thing"
    Pay equal (if not more) attention to your own self carriage as that of your horse

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