How to ride travers with your horse


Travers is the opposite of shoulder-in, so you ask your horse to bring his quarters in while his shoulders and front legs stay on the track. Incorporating this lateral movement into your flatwork and dressage training is a great way to encourage suppleness through your horse’s rib cage.

When you and your horse are learning travers, it can help to ride it down the long side of your arena, so you have the edge of your school to help you. 

The aids

  1. Move your outside leg back to ask your horse to step in with his quarters.
  2. Keep your inside leg at the girth to stop his shoulders drifting in. It also creates forward movement and bend.
  3. Ask with your inside rein for a little flexion at the poll – you don’t want a lot of neck bend.
  4. Your outside hand controls the amount of bend.
  5. To help your horse stay balanced your shoulder should face down the track.

How to ride shoulder-fore


Shoulder-fore is a lateral movement which encourages your horse to take more weight onto his hindlegs and step actively underneath his body.

Although it’s not a required movement in any dressage tests it’s a really useful flatwork exercise to do with your horse. It’s great for developing straightness and improving balance.

In shoulder-fore your horse will bring his shoulders in off the track while his quarters stay where they are. The angle is about half of what you’d see in shoulder-in.

The aids

  1. Put a little more weight into your inside leg to encourage bend and activity, keeping your outside leg at the girth to prevent your horse’s quarters swinging out.
  2. Your outside rein supports your horse’s outside shoulder. Thinks straight on this rein and hold it a fraction lower than your inside rein.
  3. Ask for a little flexion on your inside rein to keep your horse soft through his neck.
  4. Keep your shoulders parallel with your horse’s shoulders – you should be in shoulder-fore too, but watch you don’t get pushed to the outside of your saddle.