There are a lot of ways our shoulders influence our riding. If we think that we communicate with the horse by saying we want our shoulders to be parallel to that of the horse, that is only the beginning.
In the accompanying video clip, you will see how the rider drops her inside shoulder when she wants to turn her horse. This is then followed by collapsing in her ribcage on the same side which then means she is putting more weight on the inside. The horse will follow suit by having more weight on his inside shoulder and then “falling” over that shoulder.
The most automatic response of the rider is to try and correct the horse’s shoulder by applying some mechanical aid to it. This will be like putting plaster on a wound that is gushing blood. You will have to repeatedly do that.
If the rider doesn’t learn to correct her own body and try to get into better balance herself, the horse will always fall over his inside shoulder because this will be what she continuously tells him to do.
When the rider wants to correct this, she should try and lengthen her inside ribcage as soon as she attempts the turn. This will inevitably feel as if she is leaning to the outside, but this will only be a temporary discomfort, for once the body gets used to the new and more correct balance, it will feel perfectly normal.
The best way for the rider to check on herself if she is doing the right thing, is to notice when the horse is not leaning onto his inside shoulder anymore. This would imply that she is not dropping (or leaning on) her inside shoulder anymore. She will also not have to correct the horse anymore 🙂
The horse is always your best teacher!