Walter Zettl's Shoulder-In
Entwickeln Exercise ??
Walter Zettl's Shoulder-In Entwickeln Exercise Improve your dressage horse's
suppleness, balance and rhythm using Walter Zettl's shoulder-in exercise.
By Walter Zettl
This shoulder-in exercise by Walter Zettl requires
an immediate response to forward and sideways aids.
In "Shoulder-In Entwickeln" you ride shoulder-in on the long
side, straighten your horse on the diagonal track, ask for shoulder-in
again and ride the movement back to the track.
Teaches coordination of lateral bending and straightening aids Supples
horse in shoulder-in and in straightening Straightens horse Requires
an immediate response to forward and sideways aids Develops inside hind
leg for collection Develops Schwung (the power of the hindquarters that
carries the horse forward and transmission of that power over the back)
Helps horse's balance and rhythm.
How to Do It
1. Going left in walk or trot, ride a 10-meter circle
in the corner to set up for the shoulder-in bend on the long side.
2. Reaching the long side, continue shoulder-in. The inside hand guides
your horse's forehand to the inside; the outside hand limits the bend
and keeps the right
shoulder from falling out. The inside leg lies close to the girth to
maintain the bend and drives your horse's inside hind leg forward; the
passive outside leg helps hold the bend. If the haunches fall out, move
the passive outside leg slightly behind the girth. Lightly weight the
inside seat bone. Ride for two steps.
3. On the second step, begin to straighten your horse as if you were
going to ride on the diagonal, giving slightly with the inside rein
without losing contact. The outside rein gives a soft half halt and
keeps the neck straight. Press that rein against the neck without crossing
it to make sure his right shoulder doesn't fall out. When he is straightened
onto the diagonal -- ideally a step or two later give a little with
both hands and push him with both seat bones to drive him forward while
using a slightly stronger outside leg to bring him out of the bend for
shoulder-in. Ride straight ahead.
4. After riding one step, return to the shoulder-in bend you previously
Ride the bend back to the track on the long side, sitting more on your
inside seat bone, giving a half halt with your inside hand, keeping
the right rein taut without pulling, and pressing with the inside knee
5. When your horse's outside hind leg reaches the track, repeat steps
3 through 5
down the long side.
Tips for Success
Start the exercise on your horse's easier side first.
If you haven't developed the correct shoulder-in bend, ride a few more
10-meter circles until you have the correct bend before continuing with
the exercise. The exercise is good mental and physical gymnastics for
both you and your horse. Don't expect to perfect it right away. It takes
patience and feeling. As you do the exercise, pay attention to the minimum
aids you need to give. Be careful to balance between your giving and
receiving aids. Do not make your horse too short in the neck because
this will stop movement in the shoulder and hind legs, negating the
point of the exercise. If your horse gets tense, make the shoulder-in
angle less steep. Take care not to practice the exercise for more than
two long sides of the arena without riding your horse straight and forward
(without rushing and/or losing rhythm) to regain swinging hind legs
Train all your horse's muscles so he can stay relaxed
or can tighten them immediately, when necessary. Variations also help
to make his tendons more elastic.
Still, make sure you do not rush, use force or lose patience. Do the
exercise at the walk, trot and canter. Leave out the 10-meter circle
at the beginning of the exercise to challenge your horse to stay in
correct rhythm and balance.
Increase the number of repetitions down one long side. You must coordinate
aids more finely and quickly, and your horse must react more quickly.
Do the exercise on the quarterline and then on the centerline. You and
your horse will not be able to rely on the wall for assistance. Add
a lengthening, medium trot and/or extended trot when you straighten
your horse onto the diagonal. This will help make your horse more obedient
to shoulder-in as well as to forward aids while quickening his response
to sideways driving aids. It also will make your horse supple and help
him develop Schwung. Walter Zettl studied and worked with his mentor
Col. Herbert Aust in Germany where he received the German Federation
Gold Riding Medal and his Reitlehrer certification. He served as the
dressage coach to the Canadian Eventing Team at the 1984 Olympics, and
he is the author of Dressage in Harmony from Basic to Grand Prix.