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Straightness Training Exercises

The long term goal of Straightness Training is achieving flexibility, gaining strength, build muscle and improving your horse’s overall health and maintaining it for a lifetime. This goal is achieved through a logical system of progressive exercises.

The exercise “haunches-in”, also called “travers” or ”quarters-in”, the second most important cornerstone in Straightness Training, after the first important cornerstone, the shoulder-in.

DefinitionStraightness Training Exercises

Haunches-in is a side movement on three or four tracks. The shoulders follow the track along the wall and the hindquarter is bended inwards. In this exercise, the horse is bended laterally from neck to tail. The outside hind leg is stepping under the weight.

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Shoulder-in and haunches-in are closely related exercises that complement each other very well:

  • In shoulder-in, the inside hind leg steps under the point of weight. In haunches-in, it is the outside hind leg stepping under the point of weight.
  • In shoulder-in, the shoulders are turned inwards, In the haunches-in, the hindquarter is bended inwards.
  • In shoulder-in, the inside hind legs step in front of the outside legs. In haunches-in, the outside legs (front and hind) step in front of the inside legs.
  • In haunches-in, the horse is looking in the direction it is going. In shoulder-in, the horse looks inwards while moving straight forward.

Straightness Training Exercises

……Shoulder-in…………….. Haunches-in


The goal of haunches-in is to teach the horse to step with his outside hind leg under the point of weight. The benefit is that this hind leg is required to bend more. Haunches-in encourages the outside hind leg to carry and makes the inside shoulder more light. The exercise increases the lateral bending and improves coordination of the limbs.

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Haunches-in is a good preparation for pirouette, half pass and canter changes:

  • When the haunches-in is carried out on a smaller circle a pirouette is the end result.
  • When the haunches-in is carried out on a diagonal line, this is called the half-pass.
  • When the horse in canter changes from renvers to the left to haunches-in to the right, this is a canter change.

Straightness Training ExercisesHow many tracks?

Haunches-in can be done on 3 and 4 tracks (and on 2,5 or 3,5 or 3,67 or 3,999 tracks 😉 ).  The amount doesn’t matter. What matters is that you choose the amount where your horse can support his body and center of mass best with both hind legs. And that depends on the conformation of your horse, if he has a long back or a shorter one, if he has long legs, or shorter ones. Just do the amount where he can move in optimal balance.


In man-to-man fights the haunches-in was used during the approach of each other.

Both hind legs followed the weapon line and because they did, the power of the hind legs was added to the weapon. This essence should always kept in mind while doing the exercise!

Also in haunches-in, the head of the horse was not in the way of the weapon.

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5 thoughts on “Haunches-in

Comment author said

By susan heuke on 7 September 2015 at 15:09

I can do haunches- in and shoulder-in under saddle with both my horses. On the ground, we can do shoulder-in easily. But we can’t do haunches-in. I do a small circle to prepare them but as soon as we start to walk along the rail, they do not keep their haunches in. They just go straight. They might get 2 steps of a small haunches-in but, after many many tries we don’t get any better. Any advice?
Thank you,
Susan Heuke


Comment author said

By Barbara on 10 October 2015 at 16:16

Yes, I found this too. Solved it by starting with turns on the forehand at the halt from the ground. The horse has to understand that your arm (with whip extension) coming over from the inside is going to have an effect on her outside hind leg. Since this is not what your arm on the inside usually means, she has to learn that the arm has a new reach. Try this against a wall to start with, so that you can keep her head straight while bringing her hindquarters gently in towards you. Hope this helps!


Comment author said

By sheikh m obed on 7 December 2015 at 10:49

While training my filly haunches in at hand, she could’nt make the right flexion, when I tried to turn her face towards the rail she just go straight. In opposite flexion she did well, but in that way she would not prepare for correct half pass. any advice?


Comment author said

By Helen on 10 March 2017 at 22:04

Hello Marijke and all ST lovers,

please help me.
My horse doesn’t understand the haunches in the way I try to teach him.
He always bends his nose and neck to the other, the opposite side when he gives me his outside hind leg.
I dont know how I can teach him to stay bended to the inside with his neck while coming with his outside hind leg towards me. And NOT to escape to the other side with his neck.

Please help me I tried since one year and got no better results…

Thanks a lot for answers <3


Comment author said

By Straightness Training Team on 13 March 2017 at 14:10

Hi Helen, nice you managed to teach your horse to bring his outside leg towards you! Indeed, the bend should be to the inside, you are right with that. To get better results, I advise you to approach an ST Instructor to help you further:

You can also join one of the online programs. Especially the Mastery Program would be of great help for you to make progress, not only on the haunches-in but also on many other exercises!

You can find more information about the Mastery Program here:

Good luck!


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