Moving Your Horse’s Shoulders

Easily moving a horse’s shoulders is one of the most common things people struggle with. I want my horses to be really free and supple to move their shoulders, both on the ground and while riding. They might be sticky and dull for 3 reasons:

1. Horses assert their dominance using that bony thick mass to push people and other horses around.

2. For some horses it’s not easy to articulate their body that way because they tend not to do it with any repetition on their own.

3. There is more weight on the front feet with the head hanging out over the shoulders.

Tips:

On the Ground: Put one hand on the nose and the other where the cinch or your leg would go when you ride. Rub first and don’t let your horse leave without waiting for you. This way anticipation doesn’t take over.  Then ask for a step over while making sure the horse pivots on the hindquarters. In the beginning, start with only a quarter turn at a time. For 7 sessions, move the shoulders every chance you get for lasting results.

In this case, we are on the left side, so we would want the horse to step crossing the left front over top of the right front while keeping the hindquarters very still. Build this up to where you can do a 360 degree turn, asking the horse to balance on their hindquarters. To get the balance right you may need to ask your horse to take a small step backwards first.

In this case, we are on the left side, so we would want the horse to step crossing the left front over top of the right front while keeping the hindquarters very still. Build this up to where you can do a 360 degree turn, asking the horse to balance on their hindquarters. To get the balance right you may need to ask your horse to take a small step backwards first.

while mounted it is also important to ask many times and only a step or two at first. Here I am asking Cam from walking forward in to the turn on the haunches.This way he keeps some forward momentum and steps his front left over his right. He balances back very easily and will step behind so I tend to walk him forward in to the turn on the haunch.

While mounted, it is also important to ask many times and only a step or two at first. Here I am asking Cam from walking forward in to the turn on the haunches.This way he keeps some forward momentum and steps his front left over his right. He balances back very easily and will step behind so I tend to walk him forward in to the turn on the haunch.

 

Perfecting this will help with an endless list! Like setting you up for correct leads, lead departures, nice canter, spins and even flying lead changes.

 

Stay Inspired by Horses!

Jonathan Field

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One Response to Moving Your Horse’s Shoulders

  1. Diana says:

    Great step-by-step Jonathan. Going to try it on my new boy!

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