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A relaxed horse is a happy horse

This article first appeared in the July 2020 digital edition of Equestrian Life. To see what's in the current issue, click here.

The shoulder- in. © Posture and Performance / Exisle Publishing

The shoulder- in. Image: Posture and Performance / Exisle Publishing.



By Dr Kerry Mack

“The shoulder-in is the first and last lesson one must give a horse,” said de la Gueniniere, the classical master who invented it, in 1733. “I regard it as the alpha and omega of all exercises for the horse which are designed to develop complete suppleness and agility.” 

De la Gueniniere lists the benefits of the shoulder-in as including suppling the shoulders, preparing the horse for collection by teaching him to bend his hocks under himself, teaching him to move away from the rider’s leg, and cross both fore and hindlegs.

We now know that there is another very important benefit. The shoulder-in relaxes the horse. In May 2020, a study was published in the Journal of Veterinary Behaviour (see citation at end of article) that demonstrated scientifically that the shoulder-in helps horses to relax and to pay attention in their training...

Read the full article in the July 2020 issue of Equestrian Life magazine here.




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