Many teachers tell the rider to turn their shoulders to the inside. I find this advice worsens the problems that riders face when turning. Typically, turning the shoulders is the start of the problem. The inside hand then comes too far back, the rider collapses to the inside, their outside hand goes more forward as the outside shoulder does and before you know it the horse is jack-knifing through the shoulders.
In the two photos below I have created a side-by-side comparison and added some arrows: the image on the left is incorrect and the one on the right is a lot better. The issues you can see in the photo on the left are as follows.
• The rider has collapsed left. Notice the yellow bar on the jacket. To the left of the bar you can see how much more crumpled the jacket is.
• The red arrow pointing left shows the rider leaning left; also note that the rider’s head is tilted left, no doubt ‘looking to the inside’.
• Top arrow pointing right — pelvis slid out right.
• Middle arrow pointing right —knee and thigh ‘opening the door’ and pointing right.
• Bottom arrow — also pointing right, and horse’s rib cage bulging to the right.
To correct these issues and get the image on the right we had to do a number of things:
• Get the rider to keep their chin over the mane.
• Close the outside rein to bring the shoulder back into line.
• Get the outside thigh more snug against the saddle to bring the ribcage and shoulder back into place.
• Keep the rider facing ahead, so as not to twist to the inside.
• Keep right shoulder on same vertical plane as outside seat bone (instead of the outside shoulder advancing).
I hope I have given you something to think about when turning; how-ever, the purpose of this book is not to teach detailed biomechanics of riding. For more detailed information on turning, steering, straightness, and other techniques I would direct you to my own coach Mary Wanless, whose books do an incredible job of teaching rider biomechanics.
Excerpted from, Master Dressage with Peter Dove copyright © 2015 Peter Dove This excerpt reprinted by permission of Trafalgar Square Book