Arabian doing four track shoulder-in

The most basic lateral movement is the shoulder-in.  Like work-in-hand, the shoulder-in offers many benefits.  I must agree with the classical riding master and inventor of the four track shoulder-in, Francois Robichon De La Gueiniere who said “This exercise has so many benefits that I regard it as the alpha and omega of all exercises for the horse which are intended to develop complete suppleness and perfect agility in all its parts.”

The four track shoulder-in,  a classical movement, allows for more flexion in the body and preparation for collection as the hip lowers and flexes when the hind leg comes up under the middle of the belly crossing the outside hind leg.  Thus in the four track shoulder-in, the horse has a degree of collection without intervention of the rider’s hands and lightness ensues.  The four track shoulder-in is the cornerstone of classical dressage which promotes maximum suppleness of the horse and assures lightness in his movements.

All of the other lateral movements come from the shoulder-in making it logical to introduce the shoulder-in first.




A Three year old learning shoulder-in at the trot.  She is doing a few strides of shoulder-in down the short side then into  regular trot.

Louie, a former racetrack Arabian learns to shoulder-in.

Below is a photo of a Quarter Horse doing a shoulder-in to the right.

Quarter Horse doing shoulder-in

Quarter Horse doing shoulder-in